How to Play Black Metal

Black Metal is an extreme form of metal, and playing it on any instrument will take time, patience, and energy to get down. Don't be afraid to embrace what you'll learn from it, though.


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    Learn what Black Metal is. It's not all about being a Satanist even though some bands are. If you don't want to write about that kind of stuff, then don't. Many bands choose to write about other subjects such as philosophy, religion, misanthropy, fantasy, mythology, occultism, magic, personal, mental subjects, the cosmos, stars, cosmology, astrology, and seasons. Winter is usually used for season-themed songs.
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    Learn who performs it. Bands such as Venom, Satryicon, Immortal, Asmodeus, Emperor, Belphegor, Behemoth, and Mayhem are great for learning the basics of how to play black metal. If you don't like Satanic bands, you can try listening to "unblack" metal, which is basically Christian black metal, and includes bands like Horde, Frost Like Ashes, A Hill To Die Upon, Miseration, and Ancestor.
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    Get an instrument and learn some songs you like. Don't expect to be a wizard when you first pick the instrument up. The black metal guys weren't gods when they started out either. You will need to know how to read music, but learning tabs or symphonic sheets won't matter as long as you can read it and play what you read. If you want to do vocals, learn how to do black metal vocals. if you want to play guitar, learn the guitar techniques of your favorite bands. Bass isn't really heard in the black metal genre, so don't expect to be very loud or recognizable in here. If you want to play drums, learn to blast beat. This will probably require you to have a double-bass drumset. You might also be interested in playing keyboards if you know how to play piano. You can also learn other orchestral instruments if you like symphonic or atmospheric black metal.
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    Compose original songs. Again, don't expect to be awesome when you start. Chances are that your first riffs will sound like your favorite artists. This happens with all beginning musicians. Don't give up.
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    Record your songs. Find a way to record your songs. You can do it in a professional studio, a homemade one, or even record it with an audio recording device.
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    Start a band. Find other metalheads and try to start a band. Be sure to have common influences. A great place to try to find band-mates is at heavy metal shows, so go there and try to meet other musicians and see if you can start a band with your original material.


  • If you want to do bass, be forewarned that basses are rarely heard in black metal, and most of the bass riffs are homophonically the same with the guitars.
  • You can also learn keyboard as well. These can be HUGELY beneficial to the music if used properly, but don't let the music be dominated by it.
  • If you want to play guitar, you must know how to trem pick. Trem-picking is simply rapid up and down picking one one string or chord. You also need to know how to sweep pick, how to do tapping, your basic chords, and maybe a few scales and keys to do lead work.
  • If you want to play drums, learn to blast beat and to do it fast. Most black metal is fast-paced and will require a very quick and precise drummer to keep the band going.
  • If you are going to do vocals, learn how to them at the wikiHow page for how to do black metal vocals. You can also incorporate other vocal styles in black metal as well, so don't be afraid to possibly use the occasional death growl or opera-type vocals.
  • Learn other styles of music to gain a unique edge to your playing and sound. Some bands lean towards a rock or core sound like Satryicon, or they may take a symphonic direction like Dimmu Borgir. Use those sounds to influence yours and create an original.


  • Basses are rarely heard in black metal music, so don't expect to be the star of the show if you play black metal bass.
  • Your music can be banned or censored. This has also happened before and if it happens to you, then find a way to get around it and continue on. Never let someone or something silence your voice.
  • It is possible that if your show is too shocking or violent then your show could be shut down. Various groups have succeeded in doing this to other bands, so if it happens to you, just know you won't be the only band who's been stopped before.

Things You'll Need

  • A microphone if you want to sing.
  • A guitar if you want to play guitar. Good black metal guitars are BC Riches, Jacksons, Ibanezes, and Gibsons to name a few. Use the guitar you want as long as it sounds metal. Good amps are Marshalls, MESAs, Randalls, and Peaveys. Use a good heavy metal pedal with scooped mids to get a really dark, loud, heavy sound.
  • A bass if you want to do bass. Try a Fender, BC Rich, or Ibanez. ESP has good ones as well.
  • A good double-bass drum set. Pearl sells these along with some other drum companies. Be sure to get some tough skins because blast beats involve hitting drums quickly and hard, which will wear skins out.

Article Info

Categories: Music Techniques