American black metal originates from the Norwegian scene of the early '80s, Early American black metal was defined by blast beat drumming, extremely distorted guitars, tremolo picking, shrieked harsh vocals and fast pace. A great deal of contemporary American black metal incorporates folk elements, slower song structures, and inspiration from nature and ecological awareness.
Who's Doing It?
Liturgy, Wolves In The Throne Room, Agalloch (pictured), ABSU, Krallice, Xasthur, Inquisition, Castevet, Nachtmystium, Ash Borer.
Where Should I Start?
For classic black metal, start with Inquisition's Invoking the Majestic Throne of Satan; for more contemporary, try Nachtmystium's Black Meddle, Part II or Wolves In The Throne Room's Black Cascade.
The Cascadian black metal scene in the Pacific Northwest combines subtler, more sublime tones and textures with traditional aggression, found on Agalloch's Faustian Echoes and Oak Pantheon's From A Whisper. For something more relentless, Krallice's Years Past Matter is both sophisticated and brutal.