There's mostly one thing that comes to mind when Norway and metal are mentioned in the same breath: the second wave of black metal. The Scandinavian country is home to one of the most influential pockets in the history of heavy music as a small collective of fiendish friends gave birth to one of metal most malevolent and unforgiving styles.

Taking cues from black metal's first wave innovators (Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate), young long-hairs picked up their instruments regardless of how well they could play them (we told you they took influence from Venom!), started tremolo picking and never looked back. Despite their mutual influences, the Norwegian black metal scene possesses a wealth of varied styles within black metal, which will be explored in this list, which, if you haven't figured out yet, is dominated by the country's most notable exporters of the style.

The prominence of black metal has garnered a considerable amount of relative mainstream respect within Norway. It's not uncommon for bands of this ilk to receive a Spellemann award (equivalent of a Norwegian Grammy), being recognized by the country's musical intelligentsia as well as its citizens, more than making up for the criminal elements (murder, church burnings) that permeated the early scene.

Now, turn your attention to the top of the page as we explore the 10 Best Norwegian Metal Bands!

10 Greatest Black Metal Bands