Death-Doom Metal

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Death doom as the name suggests is an extreme metal sub-genre that incorporates elements of death metal into doom. It typically incorporates death growl vocals and aggressive down-tuned guitar parts into slower doom tempos though double kick drum patterns may be used. Its roots can be traced back to the eighties when thrash and early death metal bands started to incorporate doom into their sound. Dream Death are an early example which can be heard on their debut album Journey Into Mystery from 1987 along with bands such as My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Autopsy.

Death doom also had an influence on Gothic metal and played a large part in establishing the funeral doom sub-genre in the nineties.

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death-doom metal top albums

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MY DYING BRIDE The Dreadful Hours Album Cover The Dreadful Hours
MY DYING BRIDE
4.43 | 36 ratings
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THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Exuvia Album Cover Exuvia
THE RUINS OF BEVERAST
4.52 | 13 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Medusa Album Cover Medusa
PARADISE LOST
4.37 | 26 ratings
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SPECTRAL VOICE Eroded Corridors of Unbeing Album Cover Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
SPECTRAL VOICE
4.47 | 11 ratings
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NOVEMBERS DOOM The Knowing Album Cover The Knowing
NOVEMBERS DOOM
4.42 | 9 ratings
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KATATONIA Brave Murder Day Album Cover Brave Murder Day
KATATONIA
4.21 | 40 ratings
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MY DYING BRIDE Turn Loose the Swans Album Cover Turn Loose the Swans
MY DYING BRIDE
4.18 | 40 ratings
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MY DYING BRIDE Songs of Darkness, Words of Light Album Cover Songs of Darkness, Words of Light
MY DYING BRIDE
4.21 | 25 ratings
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OCTOBER TIDE Rain Without End Album Cover Rain Without End
OCTOBER TIDE
4.30 | 10 ratings
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NOVEMBERS DOOM The Novella Reservoir Album Cover The Novella Reservoir
NOVEMBERS DOOM
4.33 | 6 ratings
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NOVEMBERS DOOM The Pale Haunt Departure Album Cover The Pale Haunt Departure
NOVEMBERS DOOM
4.25 | 8 ratings
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THE RUINS OF BEVERAST The Thule Grimoires Album Cover The Thule Grimoires
THE RUINS OF BEVERAST
4.23 | 7 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy MMA!

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death-doom metal Music Reviews

REEFER Bow Before the Altar of the Drugs

Demo · 2013 · Death-Doom Metal
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UMUR
"Bow Before the Altar of the Drugs" is the first demeo recording by Danish death/doom/stoner metal act Reefer. The demo was released through Smokedd Productions in February 2013. Reefer was formed in 2010 by drummer Inhalator (real name Eik B. Sørensen) and lead vocalist/guitarist Grim Reefer (real name David Buch Mikkelsen). The latter is quite prolific on the Danish death metal scene and is also known for his work with death metal acts Undergang and Phrenelith (among other projects). Bassist Weed Wizard joined in 2013, completing the trio lineup who recorded "Bow Before the Altar of the Drugs".

As expected from reading the title of demo this is some fuzzed out, crushingly heavy stoner doom metal but with brutal unintelligible growling vocals. It´s like listening to the bastard child of Electric Wizard and Mikkelsen´s Undergang. The latter influence is however only heard in the sleazy, gritty, and morbid sounding atmosphere and the vocals, as the instrumental part of the music is repetitive and slow stoner doom metal, of course with lyrics centered around Marijuana. It´s only a few times during the playing time that Reefer play some noisy fast parts, but they only last for a few seconds when they occur.

Featuring three tracks and a total playing time of 25:40 "Bow Before the Altar of the Drugs" is a relatively long demo and all tracks are 7-9 minutes long, giving the band plenty of time to play their ultra heavy riffs and rhythms over and over again. The sound production is of a good quality considering that this is a demo recording, and upon conclusion "Bow Before the Altar of the Drugs" is a decent quality release. There´s nothing here you haven´t heard before and Reefer won´t win any prices for innovation or for being the most intriguing stoner doom metal act on the scene, but they aren´t the worst either. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

THE GATHERING Always...

Album · 1992 · Death-Doom Metal
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UMUR
"Always..." is the debut full-length studio album by Dutch death/doom metal (later atmospheric rock) act The Gathering. The album was released through the Foundation 2000 label in June 1992. The Gathering formed in 1989 and are widely considered one of the seminal death/doom metal acts from The Netherlands, although they would later considerably change their music style. Before being signed by Foundation 2000 for the release of "Always...", The Gathering recorded and released the two demos "An Imaginary Symphony" (October 1990) and "Moonlight Archer" (April 1991). The tracks from the latter have been re-recorded and included on "Always..." ("Second Sunrise", "Subzero", and "In Sickness and Health").

Stylistically The Gathering play a relatively unique death/doom metal style, which have some similarities to artists like My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, but because they use keyboards/piano as a dominant instrument in the music still sounds vastly different from the early releases from other contemporary death/doom metal artists. I´ll mention the articulate and brutal growling vocals from Bart Smits as one of the great assets of the this album. They are very well performed and provide the music with some death metal authenticity. The rare spoken word sections provide the music with a slight gothic edge. "Always..." also features the occasional female clean vocal part performed by Marike Groot. They are in no way a dominant part of the soundscape but primarely used to color the music and provide some variation and an epic atmosphere.

The whole thing reeks melancholy but also a strange romantic and epic atmosphere (in the case of "The Mirror Waters" there´s even a few nods towards middle eastern music). An atmosphere often created by the omnipresent keyboards/piano. The guitars play slow- to mid-paced doomy riffs and are complimented by the heavy drumming. The bass is quite audible which isn´t always the case on death metal oriented releases, but here it´s audible and makes a difference. There are lead guitar parts on the album but they are actually not a dominant element of The Gathering´s sound as most lead parts and atmosphere enhancing parts are created by the keyboards/piano. It´s quite unusual for the time, and definitely what makes The Gathering stand out on the early 90s death/doom metal scene.

The tracks are generally interesting and feature enough sections and ideas (other than regular vers/chorus parts) to keep the listener entertained and intrigued throughout. The sound production is decent but not great. There are some issues with the balance between the instruments with especially the guitars often being drowned in the soundscape and the keyboards being very loud. It´s not a major issue and "Always..." is still a listenable release, but it could arguably have been better sounding.

So that minor issue out of the way "Always..." is overall a good quality death/doom metal release and it´s quite unique too because of how dominant the keyboards/piano are. Not all artists are able to create such a unique sound on their first album. The Gathering were of course far from being finished developing their sound and style and the next many albums (including this one) can be viewed as transitional releases. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

THE GATHERING Moonlight Archer

Demo · 1991 · Death-Doom Metal
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UMUR
"Moonlight Archer" is the second demo recording by Dutch death/doom metal (later atmospheric rock) act The Gathering. The demo was independently released in April 1991. It´s the successor to the October 1990 "An Imaginary Symphony" demo and just like that release this demo was also recorded live although this time at a studio (at Caveman Studio on the 1st of April 1991).

The demo features five tracks and a total playing time of 29:47 minutes. "Second Sunrise" and "Downfall" also appeared on the "An Imaginary Symphony" demo but were re-recorded and included here too. "Second Sunrise", "Subzero", and "In Sickness and Health" would eventually make it unto the band´s 1992 debut full-length studio album "Always...".

Stylistically The Gathering play a relatively unique death/doom metal style, which have some similarities to artists like My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, but because they use keyboards/piano as a dominant instrument in the music still sounds vastly different from the early releases from other contemporary death/doom metal artists. The vocals by Bart Smits are articulate semi-growling vocals. Unfortunately he hasn´t completely left behind his throaty and sometimes hardcore influenced shouting/singing and the odd uplifting "Anthology in Black" song is marred by that vocal style but also a generally odd atmosphere and some thrashy riffing. It makes the demo an inconsistent listen and it´s a weird choice to include a track like that.

In fact it´s obvious upon having listened to the full demo that The Gathering still had a way to go maturing their songwriting and honing their skills before they were ready to record and release an album...but that´s what demos are for right! The sound production is decent considering that this is a live in the studio demo recording, and although the material is inconsistent in style and the band still needed to weed out the weakest parts of their songwriting ideas, "Moonlight Archer" is still an interesting death/doom metal demo. A 2.5 star (50%) rating is warranted.

THE GATHERING An Imaginary Symphony

Demo · 1990 · Death-Doom Metal
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UMUR
"An Imaginary Symphony" is the first demo recording by Dutch death/doom metal (later atmospheric rock) act The Gathering. The demo was independently released in October 1990. It´s a live rehearsal demo recorded on the 18th of October 1990. The Gathering formed in 1989 and are widely considered one of the seminal death/doom metal acts from The Netherlands, although they would later considerably change their music style.

The demo features five tracks and a total playing time of 23:41 minutes. Opening track "Second Sunrise" and the third track "Downfall" would be re-recorded and included on The Gathering´s second demo recording "Moonlight Archer" from April 1991. "Second Sunrise" would even subsequently make it unto the band´s 1992 debut full-length studio album "Always...".

Stylistically The Gathering play a relatively unique death/doom metal style, which may have some similarities to artists like My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, but because they use keyboards/piano as a dominant instrument in the music still sounds vastly different from the early releases from other contemporary death/doom metal artists. On this demo they also play considerably faster than they would on subsequent releases (a track like "Six Dead, Three to Go" is almost melodeath before such a genre term was coined), making this an occasionally relatively energetic release. Lead vocalist Bart Smits´s vocals are semi/growling or throaty shouting (even some hardcore tinged cleans) rather than his later brutal deep (yet intelligible) growling vocals.

The sound production is pretty decent considering that this is a live rehearsal demo. It´s almost a matter of course that not all instruments are equally well balanced in the mix, but to my ears The Gathering have managed to record a very well sounding rehearsal demo. Upon conclusion it was probably for the best that the band opted to cut the faster paced tracks from their repertoire. It´s not that tracks like "Six Dead, Three to Go" or "Another Day" are awful or anything like that, but it´s definitely the slow and epic death/doom metal tracks on the demo which make most impact (I´d say "Downfall" in particular). A 2.5 star (50%) rating is warranted.

SPECTRAL VOICE Sparagmos

Album · 2024 · Death-Doom Metal
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siLLy puPPy
The Denver based bad boys who brought us the psychedelic death metal world of Blood Incantation had a few more tricks up their sleeves and proved they were extremely competent at producing some of the slickest and freakiest death doom metal as well and a year later in 2012 the trio of Paul Riedl (vocals, guitar), Morris Kolontyrsky (guitar) and Jeff Barrett (bass) started SPECTRAL VOICE and have been playing hopscotch with each band ever since finding massive popularity with ever step they take. Although a little hiccough in the form of the Blood Incantation ambient experiment called “Timewave Zero” may have intervened, the boyz are back with a brand spankin’ new slice of death doom metal!

It’s been five long years since Blood Incantation released its lauded “Hidden History of the Human Race” and lo and behold it’s SPECTRAL VOICE’s turn to have a day in the limelight which sees its sophomore album arise from the cryptic coffins in the form of SPARAGAMOS, a term that in Dionysian mythology of the ancient Greeks refers to the extremely displeasurable act of being completely dismembered alive. Oh the agony you say! Fun stuff in the world of death doom but what a nasty term to insinuate the sonic ripping of the soul that SPECTRAL VOICE has so elegantly mastered in its decade long existence. Time for round two!

Four tracks make up this crushing brush with brash surrealism secured with the slinking sensations of reverberating doom metal guitars augmented with the tortured soul vocals emerging from the underworld. Once again SPECTRAL VOICE showcases its competency in crafting not just mere tracks that slink on to swallow up time but rather provide the basis for a complete escapism into some of the most abysmal and decrepit quagmires of the soul. Mind you that it is virtually undetectable to any connection with Blood Incantation’s tech death antics, SPARAGAMOS stands proudly in a world of its own making, utterly as disconnected from its the greater metal ecosystem as are any limbs that were lost in its making.

Totally separated from the Blood Incantation world by the addition of percussionist extraordinaire Eli Wendler, this gruesome foursome delivers the perfect cauldron of top notch death doom with eerie and ominous atmospheres that perfectly suit the hypnotic procession of the guitar, bass and drum patterns that add just enough spice to the mix to keep the entire shebang from becoming stale. Unafraid to erupt into thundering death metal rampages, the jangly warbles of arpeggiated chords suddenly emulate the wretched horrorscapes in a parallel universe adjacent to the blackened technicalities of Deathspell Omega only the band never strays too far from its main objective of keeping the musical callithump in a clearly focused and directed hybridization of atmospheric funeral death doom.

The slow churning of the opening “Be Cadaver” slowly ratchets up the gloom and doom with cavernous tones and cosmic atmospheres before arpeggiated guitar chords slowly slink into your soul like a parasitic worm with no good intent. The music ratchets up the tension through posty cyclical loops that add ever increasing dynamics in just the right doses so the tension hypnotizes you into a state of sheer terror. Deathened doom metal cedes to heavier cadences that collaborate with churning atmospheres and thunderous metal instrumentation. Graced with the perfect claustrophobic production, SPARAGMOS may not quite be as unsavory as the actual meaning of the term, but for a wild ride into the world of funeral doom turned up a few notches, it doesn’t get much better than these masters ripping through your defenses and nestling in your soul like a parasitic scourge.

It’s always refreshing to hear a band that not only knows how to perform a desired style of metal but also knows how to breathe life into it and alchemize it into something totally above and beyond the sum of the parts. With ingenious passageways through turbulent corridors of repetitive chords and thunderous bass and drum bombast, SPECTRAL VOICE has mastered the ultimate juggling act of composition, dynamics, production and mood construction. The tones of the instrumentation bend and yield to the various whims when called for and obsequiously snap back to the status quo when required like a well disciplined militia. The tightrope may be thin but SPECTRAL VOICE has found that perfect balance between seemingly chaotic atmospheres colluding with doom metal traditionalism that offer one of the most outstanding examples of modern death doom releases of the 2020s. Wow, between Blood Incantation and this band, these guys are on fucking f-i-r-e !!!

death-doom metal movie reviews

PARADISE LOST Live Death

Movie · 2004 · Death-Doom Metal
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martindavey87
Considering this was actually released on VHS in 1990, Paradise Lost must surely overestimate the passion and loyalty of their fan club. Filmed in Bradford in 1989 to coincide with the band’s debut album, this is a 30-minute video of the band playing on stage. They barely move around, you barely see glimpses of the crowd, and in fact, you barely see vocalist Nick Holmes’ face due to his shaggy hair constantly covering it.

I’m not really a fan of their earlier, death metal growly material anyway, but even if I was, this video isn’t enjoyable or interesting to watch at all. Re-released in 2004 on DVD, this isn’t worth the 50p I spent on it if not for the fact that I do, in fact, actually like this band, and have a compulsive obsession to own everything a band puts out.

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