Your essential guide to the Golden Gods Undergound Band category

Tribulation, Rotting Christ, Enslaved, Sunn O))), Myrkur
Clockwise from top left: Tribulation, Rotting Christ, Enslaved, Sunn O))), Myrkur

As much as we love seeing Iron Maiden and Metallica on huge festival stages, it’s the underground where metal truly thrives. This year, as ever, some of the most inspiring musical moves have been made by bands with no thought for commerce or crossover appeal. We doff our caps to them all!


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In a career spanning well over two decades, the Norwegians have moved seamlessly through the worlds of Viking metal, black metal, prog and post-metal. Always challenging, always inspiring and never willing to rest on their laurels, their latest record In Times is just as magnificent as they’ve ever been.


The brainchild of Danish musician Amalie Bruun, Myrkur is a one-woman take on the black metal scene. For a former pop star to reject the mainstream in favour of the gloriously bleak musical canvas she creates on debut album M, it takes both a skill and a fearlessness that can only be commended.

Rotting Christ

Greek blackened death metallers Rotting Christ have already had an eventful career, and those familiar with the underground will be able to point to their influence across decades of expertly brutal sounds. But, with latest album Rituals, they’ve upped their already not inconsiderable game.

Sunn O)))

Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley have become the poster children for sonic antagonism with their two-man ambient drone project, often featuring swathes of guests to create such a soundscape. Last year’s Kannon was another swirling musical vortex from the masters of cult, underground noise.


The Swedish death metal band have a decade of graft and quality music under their belt, but the release of 2015’s Children Of The Night was a significant jump in quality from a band that had already garnered respect from the metal community for their arcane aesthetic and old-school production.

Vote for who you want to win Best Underground Band at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods, in association with Fireball, to be in with a chance of winning tickets to the ceremony.

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Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.