Remembering black metal

I’ve recently rediscovered black metal. No, not the silly facepainted Nordic screaming nonsense, but the late 80s/early 90s scene featuring bands with black people in them playing rock and metal music heavily influenced by funk and soul. The three main bands were actually a big part of the scene as the underground started to come into the mainstream – just as grunge was bursting through and a weird and wonderful mix of music was suddenly available to me in Dublin.

Two acts who were somewhat associated with this scene went on to much bigger things – Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More – but Living Colour, Fishbone and 24-7 Spyz never made it as big. It’s a huge shame, because their sounds – which though related were very distinct – were at least as creative, innovative and interesting as anything the Chilis and FNM did.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share a couple of classics – maybe they’ll bring back some memories like they have for me or maybe you’ll be hearing them for the first time and discovering a treasure-trove of black music that combined the raw heaviness of metal with the groove of funk and much, much more. I’m now scanning sites for second hand vinyl from all three.

Living Colour:

Fishbone:

24-7 Spyz:

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Author: Donnacha DeLong

Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Donnacha DeLong is an NUJ activist, journalist and online communications consultant with more than 15 years' professional experience.

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