Symphonic Black Metal:
Now, this is the subgenre that really tired me! About 500 symphonic black metal bands give or take! Luckily, I could only check about 300!
Symphonic black metal is not like any other sub genre, very deep, and very mysterious. Usually, it doesn’t mean literary symphonic, it just refers to how the music generally sounds. Vocals could switch from other clean vocals or harsh vocals, but they didn’t really insist on having female vocals like other symphonic metal sub genres. So countable, like “13 Winters”, “Ansectral Legacy”, “Fear of Insomnia”, “Im Nebel”, “Vaakevandring” and others who were mainly formed in the mid-90s.
Checking out the bands, it was very interesting to know their lyrical themes. They have very dark thoughts, black and suicidal ideas. Their lyrics could be about pain, hate, darkness, mythology, immortality, depression, pessimism, anti-religious proclamations, death, ghosts, fear, madness, dreams and nightmares, satire, wolves, magic, vampires and misery.
Some bands tend to have some harsh make up, or masks on their faces, consisting of the two colors black and white, either in videos or live. The band that first came with this tradition was “Avatar” formed in Belgium back in 1992. Then other bands followed their same tradition as “Apogheum”, “Frozen Path”, “Knight of Darkness”, “Lustnotes”, “Misteltin”, “Perversus Stigmata” and “The Chaos Nether Silence.”
In 1989 two symphonic black metal bands were known to the world. One was named “Bal-Sagoth” from England, and the other is “Obtained Enslavement” from Norway. “Bal-Sagoth” released their first full-length album “A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria” in 1995 and was credited as awesome! And they are still active till now. As for “Obtained Enslavement” they released their album, a year earlier called “Centuries of Sorrow” but unfortunately split up in 2000.
At the beginning of the 2000s Europe witnessed a huge number of symphonic black metal bands being born; more than 120 bands since 2000, such as “Aeons ov Frost”, “Cruel Humanity”, “Dana”, “Keen”, “Miza Vers”, “Ravenage”, “The Moor” and others.
Symphonic Gothic Metal:
There isn’t a real description for symphonic gothic metal; it is somehow similar to symphonic metal. However, it has more use of orchestras than any other sub genre. You can feel the piano, feel the flute, and most of all feel the great voice of the vocalist. Mostly, symphonic gothic metal bands are female fronted.
As usual, I’ll start with the first symphonic metal band. “Entropy” from Netherlands formed in 1989, which was typically fronted by the vocalist Maaike Breijman, then replaced with Shanna Bartels. As for myself, I haven’t been aware of them, as their album “Become a God” in 1995 wasn’t given so many credits.
Of course, since I mentioned the word Gothic, it can naturally occur to you “Within Temptation” formed in 1996 fronted by their soprano female vocal Sharon Den Adel, who actually is the former vocalist of the band accompanied with Robert Westerholt. The first album “Enter” was released in 1997 along with Nightwish’s album “Angels Fall First” and there was a great competition between both albums. But because of the great music “Within Temptation” had, and “Nightwish’s” Tarja’s strong operatic voice, both bands managed to have great fans and break records since the first album.
“Within Temptation’s” last album “The Heart of Everything” that was released in 2007 contains 11 very beautiful tracks, which I highly recommend.
““The Heart of Everything” is a strong album, and an appealing blend of gothic and symphonic metal. The songs are dynamic and bombastic with metal guitars winding around and through epic orchestral arrangements. They have the optimum balance of the melody and hooks of mainstream rock, the depth and complexity of classical music and the dark edge of gothic metal”, states Chad Bowar from about.com
– Check Symphonic Metal – Part One through here.