10 up-and-coming black metal bands every self-respecting metalhead should listen to

Photos of Blackbraid, Gaerea and Calligram
(Image credit: Blackbraid: Wolf Mountain Productions | Gaerea: Joao Fitas | Calligram: Andy Ford)

Black metal is often associated with its early-day transgressions – church burnings, murder, suicide – but the truth is that no heavy subgenre has pushed in as many different directions over the course of its history. Since the Norwegian movement formulated what black metal means, we’ve heard this music collaborate with almost every other style under the sun. It’s now a worldwide scene that’s still innovating – and the 10 bands below prove it. From the darkened hardcore of Calligram to Abstract Void’s screeching synthwave, here are the new, incredible artists that every black metal aficionado needs in their lives.

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The fastest rising black metal band of this generation, Blackbraid reject the cliches of the genre, instead using it to honour nature and Native American culture. Their 2022 debut, Blackbraid I, imbued extreme music with woodwind instrumentation to become a viral megahit. Then this year’s sequel doubled down on the project’s progressive ambition. With tours and festival slots across the globe coming up, expect these aggressors to go far.


Gaerea are what would happen if Behemoth downed all the coffee in Poland. The Portuguese black/death metal quintet are among the loudest and most high-octane forces in their subgenre, rampaging through a litany of lightspeed riffs as their vocals cacophonously shriek. Little else is known about them thanks to their masked get-up and insistence on anonymity, but the safe money is on this band attaining superstardom almost as quickly as they play their instruments.


Calling a band that formed in 2011 “up-and-coming” may seem like a stretch, but Calligram didn’t release their debut until nine years later. And what a debut it was. The Eye Is The First Circle was a furious yet intellectual statement, colliding blackened hardcore together with poetic lyrics screeched in Italian. This year’s Position/Momentum was somehow even better, its rampant pace and tragic yet grandiose melodies making it sound like a rush towards the apocalypse.


Black metal’s earliest days are inherently tethered to religion, and this Maine-based trio acknowledge those origins in the most unique way. Their brand-new debut album, Devil’s Blood In Her Tongue, is ostensibly a mixture of rabid metal and gothic rock, but the echoing production, patient melodies and towering organ make it seem as if it were recorded in a church. Catchy and slyly unholy, it’s a sign that Lepra are well worth watching.


Russian multi-instrumentalist Roman V started Bizarrekult in Siberia in 2006, but quickly put the project – pun intended – on ice. When the musician relocated to Bergen, Norway, he found inspiration anew and restarted the band as a post-black metal powerhouse. New album Den Tapte Krigen clashes ferocious riffing with the odd heavenly vocal melody courtesy of Roman’s wife, Dina. It’s an avant-garde adventure ideal for fans of Enslaved and Thy Catafalque.

Abstract Void

This’ll infuriate the purists out there. Abstract Void are an enigmatic one-man project from parts unknown, and their M.O. is to blend the iciness of black metal with nostalgic synthwave. Somehow, it works. The songs on new album Forever are built around bubbling keyboards that could soundtrack any Metroidvania boss fight, before blast beats and shrill screaming make the music feel even more exciting. 

Dawn Ray’d

Black metal’s historically been a nesting ground for the far right – and Dawn Ray’d are changing that. This trio are openly antifascist, as you’ll quickly see in their interviews and music videos. They’re also a distinctly folk-inclined offering in their native UK, incorporating woodwind, violins and acoustic guitars to stand out from the rest of the scene. Their messaging’s annoyed the underground’s bigots and they’re a fixture on festival stages, so they’re getting everything right.

Hidden Mothers

If you like feeling sad, then Hidden Mothers are the black metal band for you! This Northern collective are a shoegazey, post-metallic prospect, emphasising sombre segues just as much as they savagely riff and scream. Their three-track EP, released in 2020, earned them underground darling status, and they’ve recently graduated to stages at festivals as beloved as ArcTanGent. It’s a promising build-up to their debut album… whenever that’s coming out.

Laang 冷

This Taiwanese duo tout themselves as “terror black metal based on the trauma of a survivor”. Their singer/guitarist Haitao Yang has lived through being shot and briefly being declared medically dead, and Laang 冷 is rooted in the ongoing impact of that experience. “This story has no hero and no happy ending,” Yang howls in Mandarin Chinese during recent single Baoyu 暴雨: an emotionally and musically intense precursor to new album Riluo, out November 24.


This mysterious one-woman project hails from deepest, darkest Finland and… that’s pretty much all we can tell you about her. However, Vermilia’s music is easier to define, taking the infatuation with nature key to most folkish black metal and upping the sturdy riff and lovely melody quota. 2022 album Ruska is full of barrelling guitar chords and enigmatic singalongs, making this songstress a more adrenaline-pumping counterpart to Myrkur and Wolves In The Throne Room.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.