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.

death-doom metal top albums

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MY DYING BRIDE The Dreadful Hours Album Cover The Dreadful Hours
MY DYING BRIDE
4.37 | 25 ratings
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THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Exuvia Album Cover Exuvia
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PARADISE LOST Medusa Album Cover Medusa
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PARADISE LOST Gothic Album Cover Gothic
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MY DYING BRIDE Songs of Darkness, Words of Light Album Cover Songs of Darkness, Words of Light
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MY DYING BRIDE Turn Loose the Swans Album Cover Turn Loose the Swans
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KATATONIA Brave Murder Day Album Cover Brave Murder Day
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NOVEMBERS DOOM The Knowing Album Cover The Knowing
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THE 11TH HOUR Lacrima Mortis Album Cover Lacrima Mortis
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NOVEMBERS DOOM The Pale Haunt Departure Album Cover The Pale Haunt Departure
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CELESTIAL SEASON Solar Lovers Album Cover Solar Lovers
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DISEMBOWELMENT Transcendence Into the Peripheral Album Cover Transcendence Into the Peripheral
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Fragilium
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CONSECRATION
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In Splendor Below
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The Apocryphal Paths Of The Ancient 8th Vitriolic Transcendence
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death-doom metal Music Reviews

CONSECRATION Fragilium

Album · 2019 · Death-Doom Metal
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Kev Rowland
Formed back in 2010, this is the second full-length album from the Norwich-based band, following on from 2014’s ‘Ephemerality’. While doom is obviously at the heart of what there are undertaking, there are also plenty of elements of death and black metal in the overall sound, which makes for a very interesting mix indeed. The opening number, “In Darkened Slumber”, is the shortest on the album at just 7 ½ minutes long and sets an incredibly delicate atmosphere. The band change their style thereafter and become more straight doom, but they never really lose that overarching impression of something that is more than just the musical notes. There is a strength within the fragility, a sense of the ominous, of something quite dark which is hidden behind the curtain waiting to attack.

The production is simply superb, with real, clarity, which is what is required when a song commences just with delicate cymbals, a bass not being plucked and a snare being hit just once in a bar. They slow their doom right down at times, and are always in total control so that the listener is being drawn in. The only way to really appreciate this album is by playing it on good headphones, as there is the risk hat some of the nuances will be lost among ambient sound. But don’t think this is anything but a very heavy album indeed, as there are plenty of dark elements to counteract the light, as here is a band who know exactly what power they have at their disposal yet never really let loose the hounds. Overall this is an incredibly impressive atmospheric doom album which is well worth investigating.

OCTOBER TIDE In Splendor Below

Album · 2019 · Death-Doom Metal
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Kev Rowland
Formed in 1995 by Katatonia members, Jonas Renkse (Bloodbath) and Fred Norrman, October Tide released two albums before going on hiatus for eleven years. In 2009 Norrman parted ways with Katatonia, and resurrected October Tide, consolidating the band's re-emergence with a new featuring Tobias Netzell of In Mourning on vocals. Now back with their sixth album in total, the band currently comprises Fredrik Norrman, his brother and guitarist Mattias Norrman (also ex-Katatonia), vocalist Alexander Högbom (Demonical), bassist Johan Jönsegård (Letters From The Colony) and drummer Jonas Sköld (Letters From The Colony, Thenighttimeproject). Although Katatonia came out of the Swedish scene they were always a very different proposition to the rest of the bands around them (I still consider myself very fortunate to see them at No Sleep Til Auckland in 2010, one of the very few metal festivals we’ve had here in recent years). The same can be said for October Tide, as although their roots are far more obviously in the melodic death scene, they have also put in plenty of doom and considering one genre is normally very quick while the other is slow, it means they are approaching the music from a quite different area than many. The other, rather refreshing, aspect is that this band keeps getting heavier while many of their contemporaries from the Nineties seem to have forgotten what they started all those years ago.

Look past the death metal style logo, and the rather threatening cover imagery, and even some of the growls, and one quickly realises that what we have here is an incredibly heavy band who are also intensely melodic. True, this isn’t the sort of material one will hear on the radio, and the riffs during “Seconds” would make Iommi proud, but each time I play “Stars Starve Me” I find myself singing the chorus. It’s not intentional, it just happens! I don’t expect it from a band with this style of imagery, and to be honest I certainly don’t expect it from any outfit who are signed to the mighty Agonia Records (one of my favourite, and certainly one of the most consistent metal labels around), yet somehow it just happens. These guys have captured a groove and a style which is lifting them above so many others. Alexander Backlund (singer with Letters From The Colony) undertook production duties, and knowing the guys so well obviously helped as the sound he has captured it huge, while Daniel Lidén did a great job on mixing and mastering.

This isn’t an album I would have expected from either October Tide or Agonia Records, as it is so intensely melodic as well as being incredibly heavy. Certainly worthy of investigation, play it loud.

NOVEMBERS DOOM Amid Its Hallowed Mirth

Album · 1995 · Death-Doom Metal
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Warthur
Novembers Doom's debut album is an unapologetic embrace of death-doom metal of the style which had previously come to prominence spearheaded by the Peaceville Three - Paradise Lost, My Dying Brand, and Anathema. However, by the mid-1990s all three of those groups were showing greater or lesser signs of exploring outside of the death-doom niche they'd established; Novembers' Doom here take the opposite approach, going deeper into the genre and carrying forward the musical ideas that its progenitors seemed to have set aside at this point in interesting new directions.

The end result is an album which will please most death-doom fans with its commitment to sickly vocals, mouldering riffs, and a general atmosphere of slow, inevitable decay.

AHAB The Boats of the Glen Carrig

Album · 2015 · Death-Doom Metal
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Warthur
The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" is another Ahab album which, true to their name, draws inspiration from a seafaring novel - in this case, a horror story by William Hope Hodgson, whose death in World War I robbed the world of one of the more bizarre imaginations working in genre fiction at that time.

Since their funeral doom-oriented debut, Ahab had apparently transitioned into a death-doom style, which here is set against quieter, more reflective moments in which the harsh, metal-oriented riffs stop - a sort of blend of death-doom and progressive rock ideas which could see the band eventually evolving in an Opeth-like direction if they chose to plot that course. Here, these interludes offer just enough variety to avoid the album becoming tedious.

MY DYING BRIDE The Dreadful Hours

Album · 2001 · Death-Doom Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Always one to experiment, MY DYING BRIDE perhaps went a little too far with their misstep into the unknown for the fanbase with “34.788%…Complete” which found the band adding all kinds of wild new ideas. While some like alternative metal suited the band’s signature goth doom sound to a T, others such as trip hop didn’t quite jive and although many including myself found the album to be descent, the overall consensus was that MY DYING BRIDE had hit their stride on “Like Gods Of The Sun” and were in free fall decline, however after the clarity of returning to their signature sound was once again a priority, the band bounced back with “The Light At The End Of The World” which proved they had more than enough life in them and while the album was a fine return to form and an admirable comeback, it wasn’t up to par with the high notes of “Turn Loose The Swans” and “The Angel And The Dark River.”

On THE DREADFUL HOURS, the band’s seventh studio album and first of the 21st century, the fiery creative passion that had made MY DYING BRIDE such a sensation in the early years had returned and released one of the band’s finest albums with eight outrageously delectable tracks that not only were connected to their past goth-tinged death doom days but found yet more ways to incorporate new musical elements into their, by this time, classic unmistakeable stylistic approach. The band’s core remained the same with Aaron Stainthorpe displaying his amazing range of vocal styles with the usual plaintive romantic crooning as well as an increased use of the death growls however on THE DREADFUL HOURS he expands his extreme metal vocals to include a more blackened growl approach which reminds me of Behemoth’s Nergal.

Guitarist Andrew Craighan provided the sole guitar parts on the previous album after the departure of Calvin Robertshaw and joining the crew on this album is guitarist Hamish Glencross, who with Craighan provide a more deadly twin guitar attack as they not only tackle the usual plodding doom riffs but engage in heavier high tempo death metal segments as well as adding palm muting thrash techniques to their doom riffage. The rhythm center of bassist Adrian Jackson and drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels also exercise greater liberties in their playing as each instrument takes on a more expansive role. The bass duties have become more complex and the drumming more experimental as well. While no violinist has returned, the two session keyboardists Jonny Mauding and Yasmin Ahmed dish out tasteful doses of piano tinklings, atmospheric overcast and mood modification mostly set to mournful depression.

With eight tracks that range from five minutes to over fourteen, MY DYING BRIDE cranks out one of the most diverse set lists (well not counting 34.778%) of their career with every element finding the perfect place to express itself. One of the major differences from the past is the incorporation of post-rock elements as heard on the opening title track which sounds more like an Isis album until it erupts into a death-doom frenzy. The compositions have become more complex and progressive as segments segue into others and various riffs, drumming patterns and bass lines slowly shapeshift into something completely new while the haunting atmospheric backdrop nudges it into a new comfort zone. The chemistry of this team is certainly off the charts as it has provided a new energized passion that keeps all the various tracks quite distinct from each other with countless different instrumental spontaneity erupting throughout.

The beauty of MY DRYING BRIDE is that they so successful captured their own distinct sound so early on in their game that have the ability to pretty much adapt any musical idea to the goth death-doom paradigm. Basically Stainthorpe provides the backbone to the band’s style with his charismatic vocal style with an extra anchor in the atmospheric department, however the guitar, bass and drums are pretty much allowed to do whatever they want provided they stay within the confines of the melodies. Such is the case for all of the tracks which to the casual listener will sound like business as usual but to the careful listener will find new rhythmic flows, creative instrumental interplay and a greater focus on shifting timbres, dynamics, tempos and vocals. This is perhaps my favorite MY DYING BRIDE album as it perfectly balances all the various elements which include the goth death doom metal, darkwave ambient and alternative metal with the usual sombre poetic vocal deliveries of Stainthorpe. MY DYING BRIDE not only made a comeback from their nadir but hit one of the highest notes in this apex of their entire career.

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