"The Black Angel's Death Song" is a song by The Velvet Underground, from their 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground and Nico. It was written by Lou Reed and John Cale.
Recorded April 1966 at Scepter Studios
, New York City
, the music is dominated by the piercing sound of John Cale's electric viola, creating dissonance
throughout the song. Also throughout the song are loud bursts of audio feedback
, primarily from Cale hissing into the microphone. The guitars in the song are downtuned a whole step (as is common with a handful of other songs on The Velvet Underground and Nico
The song is a good example of the avant-garde nature of The Velvet Underground. Lou Reed's intense, ranting, nasal delivery — in the manner of a preacher's hellfire-and-damnation sermon — and the deliberately fragmented, often nonsensical lyrics — full of cryptic and forbidding imagery — are particularly unorthodox for the time that they were written and recorded. Some have suggested that the song is a parody of/homage to the vocal and lyrical style of Bob Dylan.