Saturday, February 4, 2023

10 Black Rock Bands You Should Check Out.

October 27, 2019 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( When looking up Black rock bands you’ll come across more lists that have a Black lead singer or something rather than the whole or majority of the band being Black. Let’s check out ten Black rock bands you should check out. How many of these bands have you heard of and are there any favorites?

Black Death (Cleveland, OH – Heavy Metal)

Active between 1977 and 1988, Black Death holds a distinction as the first Black heavy metal band. Headed up by lead singer/guitarist Siki Spacek and guitarist/bassist Greg Hicks, they played a form of old school heavy metal in line with the likes of Judas Priest. Their focus was on rougher, more street-ready metal than on fantasy and sci-fi—although they weren’t without those songs.

The band ended in 1988 but Hick reformed Black Death in 2009. That same year saw Spacek form his own Black Death band in Siki Spacek and The Resurrection. Hick’s Black Death ended in 2010 and eventually Spacek’s band became Black Death Resurrected. Black Death’s self-title album is awesome.

Recommended Album: Black Death (1984)

Death (Detroit, MI – Proto-Punk, Punk, Funk)

Formed in 1971, the Hackney brothers—David, Dannis, and Bobby—got the bug for rock music after watching The Beatles perform on Ed Sullivan in 1964. They started out as Rock Fire Funk Express—honestly, it was a cool name for a band—but changed it to Death after the death of their father. They broke up the band in 1977 and focused on gospel music as The 4th Movement.

Bobby and Dannis reformed Death in 2009 after their nephews formed the band Rough Francis to play Death covers. Their re-released debut is really good for having been originally released in 1975.

Recommended Album: …For the Whole World to See (1975, re-released 2009)

Black Merda (Detroit, MI – Psychedelic Rock, Funk)

Black Merda has a storied history like Death. They formed in 1968 and chose their name as a reaction to the murders of Black people in Detroit and the South at the hands of the Klan and law enforcement. Their sound was a mix between 60s psychedelic rock and funk music. Similar to what Funkadelic presented.

Recommended Album: Long Burn the Fire (1972)

Wrust (Gaborone, Botswana – Death Metal)

Formed in 2000, Wrust is one of the bands introduced to the world during an article detailing heavy metal in Africa. Their metal is like groovier death metal—nothing wrong with that. So far, they only have two albums but their first is what I would suggest.

Recommended Album: Soulless Machine (2007)

Metal Orizon (Francistown, Botswana – Heavy Metal)

Many of the bands out of Botswana’s metal scene lean towards death metal. Then you have Metal Orizon, the oldest of active metal bands out of the scene being formed in 1990. Going through their older material is a task. Some stands out while other stuff is skippable in its entirety—but you might end up listening just in case you come across something you don’t want to mix.

Metal Orizon is a consistent band and on first listen, I’m sure they will stand out but if you’ve listened to hard rock and heavy metal for awhile, you may or may not find something new out of this band. That aside, their most recent album Kings of Africa is solid.

Recommended Album: Kings of Africa (2018)

Bad Brains (Washington, D.C – Hardcore Punk, Reggae)

Where do I begin with Bad Brains? They came together in 1976 originally as Mind Power and played jazz fusion. The following year, they became Bad Brains as the D.C hardcore punk scene was forming. They stood out for being one of a few all-Black bands in the scene as well as for their high energy performances.

Over the years, their style has included reggae and alternative metal and depending on the period in their career, one style is more dominant that the other on albums. They have several strong albums and I remember Bad Brains or Rock For Light as well as Quickness and Build a Nation. Bad Brains is a band with too many strong albums to really pick one to recommend.

Recommended Album: I Against I (1986)

Stone Vengeance (San Francisco, CA – Thrash Metal)

Stone Vengeance is one of those bands that have been around longer than the genre they’re associated with. They formed in 1978, thrash didn’t come around until the early 1980s, and there’s a gap about what they were doing in that time. Then Stone Vengeance didn’t release their first demo until 1985 and the full length five years later.

Timeliness aside, their stuff from 1990 into the 2000s show that they’re a band that never fell out of practice. Along with Black Death and our next try, it would’ve been interesting to see them during their formative years.

Recommended Album: Stone Vengeance (1990)

Sound Barrier (Los Angeles, CA – Heavy Metal)

Los Angeles’ Sound Barrier is a tremendous heavy metal band formed in 1980. They play a style of metal that mixes in some speed, giving them a style that flirts with fantasy/sci-fi oriented power metal. This was on their 1986 release Speed of Light which puts the band in that Judas Priest range or rather a polished version of the rough Black Death.

On 1983’s Total Control, you get more of a hard rock sound. Not bad but it doesn’t top what the band can do in Speed of Light.

Recommended Album: Speed of Light (1986)

Orisha Shakpana (Portmore, Jamaica – Black Metal)

Ohene Ifrit—or Lord Ifrit—heads up this black metal band which is the first in Jamaica. He plays all instruments and does the song writing. Orisha Shakpana’s themes are around the history of the island, African paganism, death and so on. He also heads up the band Conrad, Barbados’ first black metal band. In addition to music, Ifrit is also a fifth generation Obeah priest. You’ll have a try YouTube to find his music.

Recommended Album: Spectral Duppymaan Black Metal (2010)

Fishbone (Los Angeles, CA – Alternative Metal, Funk Rock)

Fishbone is a band that’s hard to explain but stylistically they would be similar to bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More to name a few. Or rather, those bands would be similar to Fishbone since these brothers predate both by a few years. I actually discovered Fishbone through a friend who said “If you like Faith No More, then try Fishbone.”

Ultimately, their sound is soul, funk, rock, metal, and ska all mixed together.

Recommended Album: The Reality of My Surroundings (1991)

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.


2 Responses to “10 Black Rock Bands You Should Check Out.”
  1. Ogun Prime says:

    Another band of note…major oversight on my part…is Mother’s Finest!

  2. Ogun Prime says:

    There are a plethora of others, but here a few more you should consider researching and adding to your list(s):
    The Upsetters (Little Richard’s backing band)
    Band of Gypsys
    Pure Hell
    Enemy Squad
    The Busboys
    The Untouchables
    24-7 Spyz(most iterations)
    God Forbid
    Year of the Dragon(featuring Walt Kibby of Fishbone)
    Follow For Now

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