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Symphonic black metal is a fusion genre, combining elements of black metal and symphonic metal. Traits from black metal are present, as blast beats, shrieked vocals, and overdriven guitars are still used. But the tempo is often slower, the song structure is more defined, and bands make extensive use of keyboarding or even use a full orchestra, like in symphonic metal. Gothic metal is an influence, as well, as gothic metal traits such as "clean" guitar riffs and female vocals are sometimes used, and the songs might begin with a clean intro before going into the distorted riffs. Corpse paint is still used by bands, and the lyrics are reminiscent of black metal, even though anti-Christianity is not as extreme.

Many black metal fans claim that symphonic black metal has nothing to do with "true" black metal due to the influences from gothic metal and melodic black metal, which are not present in traditional black metal.

Vs. Melodic Black Metal[]

Often, there is confusion between symphonic black metal and melodic black metal, as both are black metal subgenres, both have slower tempos, and both have a more defined song structure. That sometimes leads symphonic black metal bands to be erroneously classified as melodic black metal, and vice-versa. However, Symphonic black metal makes extensive usage of instruments found in symphonies, while melodic black metal focuses more on guitar melodies and solos. Many bands combine traits from both genres, though.

Vs. Gothic Metal[]

There is also confusion between symphonic black metal and gothic metal. Traits such as female vocals and "clean" guitar riffs are used in both. The difference is that while symphonic black metal is a subgenre of black metal, gothic metal isn't. Also the guitar work on gothic metal is less distorted than in symphonic black metal. Apart from this, the symphonic elements synthesized in gothic metal are more influenced by classical music (so they express a stronger feeling of art and beauty), while in symphonic black metal, they are usually used to provide the music with a darker and more haunting background.

Nevertheless Symphonic Black Metal, Melodic Black Metal and Gothic Metal are often mixed together.


Bands of this subgenre include:

  • Agathodaimon
  • ...and Oceans (early)
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Arcturus (early)
  • Arthemesia
  • Bal-Sagoth
  • Black Messiah
  • Carpathian Forest (recent)
  • Celtic Frost
  • Covenant (later known as The Kovenant)
  • Chthonic
  • Cradle of filth
  • Darkwoods My Betrothed
  • Darzamat
  • Diabolical Masquerade
  • Dimmu Borgir
  • Dragonlord
  • Drastique
  • Emperor
  • Enslavement of Beauty
  • Equilibrium
  • Galvorn
  • Graveworm
  • Hecate Enthroned
  • Hollenthon
  • Limbonic Art
  • Lux Occulta
  • Morgul
  • Necromantia
  • Negura Bunget
  • Nightfall (early)
  • Nokturnal Mortum
  • Obtained Enslavement
  • Opera IX (early)
  • Riul Doamnei
  • Rotting Christ
  • Summoning
  • Theatres des Vampires (early)
  • Thy Serpent
  • Tiamat
  • Trail of Tears
  • Tvangeste
  • Twilight Ophera
  • Tyrant
  • Vesania
  • Vesperian Sorrow
  • Wintersun