Doom Metal

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Doom metal is an extreme form of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much 'thicker' or 'heavier' sound than other metal genres. Both the music and the lyrics intend to evoke a sense of despair, dread, and impending doom. The genre is strongly influenced by the early work of Black Sabbath, who formed a prototype for doom metal with songs such as "Black Sabbath" and "Into the Void". During the first half of the 1980s, a number of bands from England (Pagan Altar, Witchfinder General) and the United States (Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Trouble) defined doom metal as a distinct genre.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doom_metal

Sub-genre collaborators (+ child sub-genres and shared with Stoner Metal and Drone Metal):
  • Nightfly (leader)
  • MorniumGoatahl

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SAINT VITUS
4.72 | 10 ratings
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TRIPTYKON Melana Chasmata Album Cover Melana Chasmata
TRIPTYKON
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PENTAGRAM Review Your Choices Album Cover Review Your Choices
PENTAGRAM
4.56 | 8 ratings
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THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Exuvia Album Cover Exuvia
THE RUINS OF BEVERAST
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MY DYING BRIDE
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REVEREND BIZARRE In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend Album Cover In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend
REVEREND BIZARRE
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WARNING
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TROUBLE
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DRACONIAN Turning Season Within Album Cover Turning Season Within
DRACONIAN
4.41 | 11 ratings
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doom metal Music Reviews

ESOTERIC A Pyrrhic Existence

Album · 2019 · Funeral Doom Metal
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siLLy puPPy
ESOTERIC is hardly the most prolific artist lurking about in the ever expanding world of metal music with albums roughly appearing every 4 or 5 years since 1994’s “Epistemological Despondency” and currently consists of band members Gordon Bicknell (Guitar, Synths), Mark Bodossian (Bass, Synths), Greg Chandler (Guitar, Vocals), Joe Fletcher (Drums) and Jim Nolan (Guitar). The band plods along through the decades crafting new releases as glacially as its unique brand of funeral doom metal oozes about with apocalyptic dirges slinking around like a sluggish serpent writhing in a frozen stupor.

The Birmingham, England based band returns with only its 7th massive album in the 27 years of its existence but with the exception of “Metamorphogenesis” and “Subconscious Dissolution Into The Continuum,” every other ESOTERIC album has yielded two complete discs of material which essentially adds an extra five albums tagged onto the official count. After a lengthy eight years since “Paragon Of Dissonance,” ESOTERIC returns with A PYRRHIC EXISTENCE which once again delivers another massive expanse of deathly funeral doom metal as yet another double album that believe it or not contains a mere six tracks.

Clocking in at over 98 minutes, yep, that’s over an hour and a half of A PYRRHIC EXISTENCE, every track is over 15 minutes long except “Antim Yatra” which is just shy of 5. Refusing to show any compromise in the psychedelic surreal metal that sounds like no other, ESOTERIC chose to open this new release with the lengthiest track “Descent” which at just shy of the 28 minute mark is longer than most EPs and an immediate warning for those who lack the patience of a meditative guru seeking enlightenment to pack up their bags and leave town. This is not a speed metal album after all. This is doom metal slowed down to a near cryogenic halt where tempos ooze by at a snail’s pace and ferocious atmospheric suffocation smothers every protruding guitar riff echoing in and out of existence.

Musically speaking, “Paragon Of Dissonance” tackled a slightly new detour for ESOTERIC which tweaked the playing style a bit, switched up the atmospheres in a somewhat familiar but slightly off congruency while delivering the expected soul-crushing funeral doom metal goods complete with the tortured growly vocals emerging from he depths of hell. On A PYRRHIC EXISTENCE the band seems to return back to the style delivered on albums such as “The Maniacal Vale” and while ESOTERIC has returned to a somewhat familiar overall sound, PYRRHIC is anything but a repeat of the past although a perfunctory spin of the uninitiated may not yield obvious differences.

ESOTERIC is a band that you have to adapt your entire being to in order to absorb its magnanimous delivery of incessant swirls of gnarled guitar chords, unstable atmospheric smokescreens and occasional rampages through an excitable bout of death doom outbursts. A careful listen will reveal that the album, while existing exclusively in the ESOTERIC zone, is actually quite diverse although it does take it’s sweet time in changing things up. This is what i call slow metabolism metal which makes those rare “hulk smash” faster tempos such as those in “Rotting In Dereliction” stand out even more. While it’s really easy just to sit back and meditate to any given ESOTERIC album, an active listen reveals a plethora of soundscapes interacting in a multitude of ways albeit like a taffy pulling context in the deep freeze.

Overall the compositions on A PYRRHIC EXISTENCE are outstanding with an excellent interplay of guitar parts in conjunct with the roaring synth driven atmospheres. The desperation of Greg Chandler’s vocals has never been more effective and the constantly evolving composiitons zigzag around like a drunken sloth finding its way out of a cornfield maze. While ESOTERIC had mastered the art of crafting massive sprawls of apocalyptic soundscapes from the very beginning, PYRRHIC only reinforces that the band is in no danger of losing its touch. Listening to an ESOTERIC album may be the musical equivalent of driving through the never-ending deserts of Nevada with one mountain range ceding into the next valley of sagebrush filled land but it’s this very spareness that allows the subtle elements to become ever more cherished. To sum it up, this is a triumphant return to funeral doom glory.

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.

SLOW IV - Mythologiæ

Album · 2015 · Funeral Doom Metal
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Kev Rowland
This album was originally released in 2015, then it was followed up by an ambient version in 2016. A new album was released in 2017, also independently, and they have now signed to Code666 and re-released their fourth album yet again. However, due to various reasons they had to re-record various parts, and then it was remixed, so for the third time in four years we are faced yet again with a new version of the same album. I don’t think I have come across a situation quite like this before, but here we are. I find it interesting when reading either the press release or reviews of this album, as they are described as atmospheric funeral doom, yet I can quite easily imagine someone who hasn’t read those saying that this album is mostly black metal. I have read a review where they state that singer Deha’s vocals are as doom as anything they have ever heard. To my poor abused ears, they are black metal, or possibly blackened death metal, as opposed to doom, which just goes to show how music is subjective to the listener and many bands just refuse to fit into whatever neat boxes we want to put them in.

Putting the whole of the last paragraph to one side, here is a band who live up to their name and produce some of the slowest music one can imagine. This is ambient, atmospheric, bleak and compelling. In some ways they remind me of Rakoth, in others Negură Bunget, while Burzum is also something they have obviously been paying attention to, all of it slowed down so that if they played at a lower tempo they would actually be going backwards. This is not music which could ever be played in the background or when something else happens, as if the listener does that then this will just blend into the ambient sounds around them and they will just stop hearing it altogether. It needs to be listened to in the dark of night, with no lights visible (although a distant candle might be nice), glass of red wine (an Otago Pinot Noir would work well) to hand, and just fall into the dark and rather threatening world of the Belgians. Worthy of close attention indeed.

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