At some point between their debut full-length and today, Slovenian heavy metal band Vigilance had two ideas for their future career: get a new logo and add black metal into their sound. As much as I like their NWOBHM-worshipping, cleaner traditional metal debut; looking back now I can say that both those decisions are proven to be steps in the right direction.
In the 90s, only Sweden and possibly Finland competed in overall popularity to the Norsk scene. In the midst of the Norwegian popularity, another country in Southern Europe was forging its own take of Black Metal. This country was Greece.
The occult themes, heavy use of the purple, and tendency to get weird have always been prevalent in the heavy metal history of a specific country: Italy, the birthplace of “violet doom metal”. In the same era of Italian traditional doom metal, some other local bands, like Bulldozer or Necrodeath, were pushing the limits of the sound towards extremity, making a dent in the first wave black metal history. However, none of these bands had that “Italian weird occult” touch in their sound until a group of young people who were obsessed by necromancy set out to play music.
Evil comes in different shapes. In South America, the shape it assumed was mostly primitive, raw, and dirty until The World Is So Good That Who Made It Doesn’t Live Here was released. Finding an early interest in extreme metal in 80s, many South American bands experimented with filthy sounds that had not been quite discovered before their time. A record store that was already active before this particular kind of extreme metal rose, Cogumelo Records, became the meeting spot for a lot of early Brazilian first wave black, death, and thrash metal bands. The best example of the thrashy, primitive, aggressive sound of the region from that era would be the cult album, I.N.R.I., by Sarcófago.
Eastern Europe, where some reserved folks live and mostly keep to themselves. Amongst those folks, Slovakians witnessed a lot of political volatility in the recent past which resulted in the separation of Czech Republic and Slovakia in early 90s. This civil unrest resulted in the rise of a small circle of black metal artists in the more recent past which formed the foundation of Malokarpatan along with other projects like Krolok, Temnohor, and Algor.
The Greeks who would become the prominent members of what we call the Hellenic black metal scene experimented with different sounds before reaching their final shape. Some of them started their journey playing raw, aggressive grindcore and spent years chasing a contract for their debut. Others tried out the early death metal sound before taking part in one of the cornerstone splits of the country. Through experimentation and desire to find their unique approach to “evil metal”, Greeks cultivated their own sound, which resulted in what could be considered the most important wave of Hellenic black metal releases around 1992.