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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Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 60 min. caching

MY DYING BRIDE Songs of Darkness, Words of Light Album Cover Songs of Darkness, Words of Light
MY DYING BRIDE
4.30 | 16 ratings
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MY DYING BRIDE The Dreadful Hours Album Cover The Dreadful Hours
MY DYING BRIDE
4.26 | 19 ratings
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NOVEMBERS DOOM The Pale Haunt Departure Album Cover The Pale Haunt Departure
NOVEMBERS DOOM
4.42 | 5 ratings
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NOVEMBERS DOOM The Knowing Album Cover The Knowing
NOVEMBERS DOOM
4.40 | 5 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Gothic Album Cover Gothic
PARADISE LOST
4.16 | 25 ratings
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DRACONIAN The Burning Halo Album Cover The Burning Halo
DRACONIAN
4.30 | 5 ratings
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MY DYING BRIDE Turn Loose the Swans Album Cover Turn Loose the Swans
MY DYING BRIDE
4.09 | 24 ratings
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CELESTIAL SEASON Solar Lovers Album Cover Solar Lovers
CELESTIAL SEASON
4.20 | 5 ratings
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THE 11TH HOUR Lacrima Mortis Album Cover Lacrima Mortis
THE 11TH HOUR
4.20 | 5 ratings
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SWALLOW THE SUN New Moon Album Cover New Moon
SWALLOW THE SUN
4.07 | 12 ratings
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MY DYING BRIDE As the Flower Withers Album Cover As the Flower Withers
MY DYING BRIDE
3.97 | 16 ratings
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KATATONIA Sounds of Decay Album Cover Sounds of Decay
KATATONIA
4.00 | 6 ratings
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death-doom metal Music Reviews

PARADISE LOST Medusa

Album · 2017 · Death-Doom Metal
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adg211288
Although the UK's Paradise Lost may have started as a death-doom metal band and arguably were the originators of that particular fusion, after a few albums they ventured deeper into the territory of gothic metal and it's for this genre that they are no doubt most famous for now, with Draconian Times (1995) and Icon (1993) usually counted as their best releases and pillars of the entire gothic metal genre. They turned away from metal briefly on the album Host (1999) but were quick to return to it on Believe in Nothing (2001). Mostly sticking to the gothic metal genre ever since, they've gradually been reintroducing doom metal elements to their music and on The Plague Within (2015) took things a step further back towards their roots with the reintroduction of death growling vocals. This has paved the way for Medusa (2017), the band's fifteenth studio album and their first album to fully embraced death-doom metal since Shades of God (1992).

I say fully, but what I really mean is that Paradise Lost have made death-doom metal the main focus of their music on Medusa. They also retain some more regular doom metal parts with clean vocals and an influence of the gothic metal style they've played throughout most of their career, but it's now taken a back seat in terms of their playing style, particularly in the guitars. Lead single The Longest Winter would suggest that not much has changed in camp Paradise Lost, being one of the more gothic songs with primarily clean vocals from Nick Holmes, but this is an illusion that is quickly dispelled when you start the album from the very beginning when the band serve up the album's longest track Fearless Sky. This one is quite the opposite affair, with growling vocals taking centre stage, which is the same case with the following Gods of Ancient and is subsequently shown to be the theme of the album.

While Holmes still uses plenty of clean singing - in fact after a back to back listen my impression is that there may even be a little more on Medusa than The Plague Within had - there are certainly more growls and an overall focus on extreme metal. The key difference to its predecessor that sets the two albums apart is the instrumental shift back to a doom metal dominant sound and an increase in general heaviness, though the music isn't as menacing or outright malevolent as some death-doom metal can be. If I was to choose any word to describe it I'd have to say modern. It's definitely more accessible than a lot of groups of this style are. That's what ultimately helps to make it a memorable release though, with tracks such as Fearless Sky, From the Gallows, Blood and Chaos and Until the Grave staying with me long after the album's conclusion.

If you're mainly a fan of the band's early days, this album can only be good news and perhaps even something you'd never have imagined possible, even after the growl heavy The Plague Within which was still musically more of a gothic metal album. If you prefer their fully clean sung gothic metal work though then Medusa may spell disappointment for you. That's the inherent trouble with a band that has changed their sound more than once. Hopefully most fans can appreciate both of Paradise Lost's core styles of metal and will embrace Medusa as an excellent throwback album that still has enough of their gothic metal style to retain at least some interest from gothic metal fans, though I would say gothic fans have more for them on the special editions of the album that include two bonus tracks that lean more this way; Shrines and Symbolic Virtue, which add almost a further ten minutes to Medusa's total playing time and go a long way towards evening out the doom and gothic metal elements on offer.

For my money though the base eight track album alone is an exceptional release from Paradise Lost. 2017 is certainly shaping up to be a great year for the doom metal genre, with many great and inventive albums released already, but Paradise Lost striking back to reclaim the death-doom throne they vacated twenty-five years ago may just be the doom metal event of the year.

WINTER Into Darkness

Album · 1990 · Death-Doom Metal
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voila_la_scorie
Winter came to my attention while watching the Lock Horns episode on Death / Doom. They only released a single LP, which was not really appreciated as much as it should have been at the time, according to the CD re-release booklet. However, in later years, Winter's music seems to have attracted more attention.

Hailing from Long Island, New York, the band was part of the underground hardcore scene, though their style of music contrasted greatly with the speed and raw aggression of most contemporary acts in the area. Nevertheless, Winter often played at hardcore festivals (I think they were actually called "squats" or "sit-ins" because they were generally held in basement venues and were not particularly glorious by any measure) and music events to raise public awareness about social issues.

It's interesting to imagine some sweaty, gungey underground club scene with all these hardcore types facing the stage as Winter walks on and proceeds to play extremely slow, bitterly ominous, and very heavy doom. If they opened their set with "Oppression Freedom / Opression (reprise)", their audience would slowly be bludgeoned into mind-numbing submission, slaves and captives to utter disparity and gloom. The whole purpose of that track seems to be to hammer one over the consciousness with a giant iron, rubber-coated mallet.

After this though, the secret behind Winter's approach becomes apparent: somebody was listening to "Morbid Tales" and "To Mega Therion" an awful lot. The deep vocals, the choice of vocabulary, the enunciation of the words along with the use of slow, heavy power chords is so derivative of Celtic Frost that you might be believe CF was the only band these guys ever listened to. Even the guitar solo style and very occasional leap in speed sound like Celtic Frost's most ominous, forbidding, and gloom-inducing songs. This for me seems to underscore Celtic Frost's influence on the death / doom scene. As if to corroborate my conjecture about Winter's mentors, they even named their EP "Eternal Frost".

Winter have not exactly ripped off Celtic Frost. There are no covers which would have been too obvious, and of course they are their own individual selves. The choice to play even slower or add some sparse, atmospheric keyboards make them somewhat different from Celtic Frost. Still, I don't think anyone familiar with the famous Swiss band would fail to notice the similarities.

That aside, it is a well-recorded album. The sound is full and warm, if you can use the term warm in the same sentence as Winter's music. It's above lo-fi making it easy to appreciate the music, but not crisp and sharp, which would have taken something away.

I give this album three and a half stars because it delivers what the musicians intended but doesn't come across as particularly original (am I hearing some My Dying Bride in here as well now?). For really slow, gloomy, ominous music, it could be worth checking out.

THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Exuvia

Album · 2017 · Death-Doom Metal
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Vim Fuego
Elevator music is much scorned, and for good reason. It is generally bland, soulless crap which is so inoffensive it is offensive. It is music so stripped of vitality and life it can be, and usually is, ignored. Occasionally, if your thoroughly bored mind wanders far enough, you might find yourself whistling along to “Hammond Organ Hits of the Swinging Sixties” or “Pan Flute Prairie Party”, entirely without meaning to. It is your unconscious mind trying to wake you from your blank-eyed stare.

‘Exuvia’ by The Ruins of Beverast seems to start off in the vein of black metal elevator music, featuring an ancient sounding Native American chant, and a ringing guitar tone, eventually underscored by a subdued black metal beat, and it seems like this album is destined for droning atmospheric black metal dullness, coming soon to an elevator near you.

To assume this and stop paying close attention is a mistake. Before you know it, ‘Exuvia’ has you trapped in a sticky spiders web, hypnotically entranced by the sheer depth and breadth of this work. This album covers so many bases. It has long, almost ambient drones, crushing doom/death sections, black metal both atmospheric and raw, devastating sludge passages, and compelling samples. Like a savage dog, straining on its chain, you know when it gets loose it’s going to hurt you, but you’re still surprised as you feel the canines sinking into pliant human flesh.

This whole lengthy album seems it should be the work of a modern day metallic orchestra, yet it is all the creation of just one man. Alexander von Meilenwald composed and played almost the entirety of this album himself (there are two guest keyboard players listed in the credits) and it makes for an incredibly cohesive album, despite the plethora of sub-genres explored.

Don’t take this too lightly. It might not seem like much at first, but when it has crawled up your trousers and taken bloody chunks from your genitalia like a rabid ferret, you will definitely take notice. Approach ‘Exuvia’ as a single massive multi-faceted work, like a modern symphony.

MY DYING BRIDE Symphonaire infernus et spera empyrium

EP · 1992 · Death-Doom Metal
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UMUR
"Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium" is an EP release by UK death/doom metal act My Dying Bride. The EP was released in March 1992 and it was the band´s first release on the Peaceville Records label. My Dying Bride were signed to the label on the grounds of the "God is Alone (1991)" EP/single. The 11:38 minutes long title track was made into a video (in an edited version). It had some showings on the MTV Headbanger´s Ball show, which was the most important heavy metal video media in those days, if you wanted your music to reach a bigger audience. There´s been one lineup change since "God is Alone (1991)" as Adrian "Ade" Jackson was added to the ranks as the band´s permanent bassist, making My Dying Bride a five-piece for the recording of "Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium".

"Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium" features three tracks and a full playing time of 20:12 minutes. The 11:39 minutes long title track fills up the whole of the A-side and the two shorter tracks "God is Alone" and "De Sade Soliloquay" fill up the B-side (on the original vinyl version of the release). All three tracks had seen a release in other versions before being released on "Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium". The title track was released in a shorter and not as developed version on the "Towards the Sinister (1990)" demo tape while the other two tracks are available on the "God is Alone (1991)" EP/single. They appear here in re-recorded versions.

Stylistically the two shorter tracks are fairly standard and predominantly mid-paced old school death metal. They really aren´t anything out of the ordinary, but it´s with the title track that My Dying Bride made their mark on the early death/doom metal scene. We´re invited into the doomy and melancholic world of My Dying Bride complete with extremely heavy distorted guitar riffs, growling vocals, and melancholic violin playing. The song structure is quite interesting too as the song shifts style a couple of times throughout the playing time from gloomy doom to mid-paced death metal brutality.

The sound production is decent, but not really great sounding, and it´s also audible the band either didn´t have much time to record in the studio or didn´t quite have the necessary playing skills yet, because it´s all slightly untight. So while "Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium" definitely should be counted among the seminal death/doom metal releases from the early 90s, it´s not a perfect release by any means, but it is an interesting glimpse into what My Dying Bride would become on their debut album. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

DISEMBOWELMENT Transcendence Into the Peripheral

Album · 1993 · Death-Doom Metal
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Warthur
It's always a bit of a shame when a band puts out a single album and then dissipates without trace - but when that one album is as solid a piece as dISEMBOWELMENT's Transcendence Into the Peripheral, maybe it makes sense. The Australians clearly only needed one album to make their point: this showcase of their particular take on the death/doom style, with dark ambient elements gently incorporated, offers a solid hour of entertaining death/doom which is long enough to allow them to explore their sound fully and short enough not to outlast its welcome - much like their career. Whether taken in by itself or as part of their self-titled whole-career compilation, this is an excellent listen for anyone keen on the early 1990s death/doom sound.

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