Drone Metal

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Drone Metal blends the slower tempos and heaviness of doom metal with longer song durations. Vocals are usually growled and screamed, and an emphasis is placed on the electric guitar. Many songs lack traditional rhythm, but create a large wall of sound, drawing comparisons to post-metal.

Instrumentation featured by bands as diverse as Black Sabbath, Sleep, Swans, and Sonic Youth has had a very positive influence on the genre.

Additionally, minimalist composers inspired pioneers of the genre such as Earth, Burning Witch, and Boris. Other popular bands in this genre are Sunn O))) and Teeth Of Lions Rule The Divine.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_metal#Characteristics

Sub-genre collaborators (shared with Stoner Metal and Doom Metal):
  • Nightfly (leader)
  • MorniumGoatahl

drone metal top albums

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CORRUPTED El Mundo Frío Album Cover El Mundo Frío
4.38 | 8 ratings
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SUNN O))) Monoliths & Dimensions Album Cover Monoliths & Dimensions
4.17 | 18 ratings
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BORIS Amplifier Worship Album Cover Amplifier Worship
4.09 | 22 ratings
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SUNN O))) White2 Album Cover White2
4.14 | 12 ratings
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TEETH OF LIONS RULE THE DIVINE Rampton Album Cover Rampton
4.17 | 6 ratings
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BORIS Boris At Last: -Feedbacker- Album Cover Boris At Last: -Feedbacker-
3.99 | 23 ratings
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THE ANGELIC PROCESS Weighing Souls With Sand Album Cover Weighing Souls With Sand
4.25 | 4 ratings
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SUNN O))) Black One Album Cover Black One
3.93 | 22 ratings
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BORIS Dronevil Album Cover Dronevil
4.12 | 4 ratings
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NAKED CITY Leng Tch'e Album Cover Leng Tch'e
4.00 | 7 ratings
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SUNN O))) White1 Album Cover White1
3.88 | 16 ratings
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JESU Jesu Album Cover Jesu
3.95 | 6 ratings
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drone metal Music Reviews

BORIS Absolutego

Album · 1996 · Drone Metal
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Boris is actually one of the most notable Metal bands to come out of Japan, and one of the biggest names in Drone Metal overall. Their debut is, maybe unsurprisingly for a still rather new and unexplored genre, underwhelming. The single hour-long track is just guitar fuzz and feedback for the majority of it. Nothing resembling riffs or even rhythms – really, it’s just feedback noise (in my opinion, this doesn’t qualify as Metal, but, that’s neither here nor there). There is a midsection where drumming and vocals come in, and that’s really the only Metal part of it, hell it’s the only part that resembles music at all, but it still ain’t good. And it’s over soon enough, back to just noise.

Drone Metal – at least THIS type of Drone Metal, with no mood or rhythm or anything resembling a melody – is like a niche fetish. One that disgusts me, that I cannot and will not ever be into. But for anyone who enjoys it – I’m happy for you, get your rocks off to some wack fuzz.

EARTH Phase III: Thrones And Dominions

Album · 1995 · Drone Metal
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Aimless and monotonous without creating any effective atmosphere. Guitar can be used to great effect to build atmosphere (see Doom, Post or Black Metal for that) but here it is just noise. The best this could serve is white noise in the background if you’re the kind of person who needs that, and I imagine it would actually be quite effective at that job. For a focused listen it is beyond boring, and for supplementing any other sort of activity, it is useless due to its lack of any mood or emotion. The only thing depressing about the music is how mind numbingly dull it is. One track is literally a short loop of wind and noise repeated for 12 and a half minutes.

A few of the songs like the opening track have “riffs” akin to very lethargic traditional Metal, a bit Stoner tinged or psychedelic, but just the guitar on its own is very boring for that. Even when percussion does show up, it’s almost Avant-Garde in nature, striking at seemingly random intervals with no plan or purpose. Still, the short tracks more akin to traditional music are a bit more enjoyable than the aimless droning.

EARTH Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version

Album · 1993 · Drone Metal
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Maybe the first /true/ Drone Metal album, although there’s really nothing metal about it unless metal just means “distorted guitars.” The last track has some bass and drums backing it to sound more metallic and lifelike, the rest is just very simple and slow guitar “riffs” with a ton of distortion.

Earth’s first demos actually had a slightly doomy feel to them, with a full instrument ensemble and even vocals at times. This is, for all intents and purposes, just Ambient Drone. It’s fuzz and noise that is inoffensive and stagnant for over an hour. I can see how it could be relaxing, at the best of times. Problem is, even if I want to relax with some Ambient music, I still want the music to do something. This is essentially background noise, if you lived in an amp warehouse, or a Guitar Center underwater.

Maybe there is some genius in the exact frequencies or textures here, maybe there was some grand blueprint for these no less than 15-minute tracks, or maybe there’s absolutely nothing special to it at all. Either way, it’s not for me.


Album · 2020 · Drone Metal
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siLLy puPPy
The recent years of experimental and bizarre crossover metal bands has exploded exponentially with Italy’s I, Voidhanger Records single-handedly leading the way. In the label’s decade plus long existence, they have introduced the world to bands such as Mare Cognitum, Spectral Lore, Esoctrilihum, Howls of Ebb and a vast number of underground cult metal artists. Here is one more that incorporates aspects of metal in its strange tapestry of musical mishmashes but remains utterly unclassifiable as to what it is.

NEPTUNIAN MAXIMALISM comes from Brussels, Belgium and was created in 2018 by multi-instrumentalist Guillaume Cazalet (Czlt, Jenny Torse, Aksu), who brought together veteran saxophonist Jean Jacques Duerinckx (Ze Zorgs) and two drummers, Sebastien Schmit (K-Branding) and Pierre Arese (Aksu). In 2020, Stephane FDL and Lukas Bouchenot took the drums. Reshma Goolamy (bass), Romain Martini (guitar), Alice Thiel (synths, guitar), Joaquin Bermudez (saz, setar), Didié Nietzche (soundscapes) and Leslie V. (black magic scenography) joined in 2019, thus changing the band into a real drone orchestra.

ÉONS is the band’s debut and to call this work ambitious would be an understatement. First of all these guys are serious about their music, so serious that for a debut they released a massive sprawling opus that runs over 128 minutes long which requires three CDs to capture. In the truest sense of the avant-garde and experimental, the album cover art gives away a bit of the transcendental soundscapes that lurk about on this one. Very much in the world of tribal and ritualistic trance, ÉONS is is based on a tribal ambient meets drone metal template and then precedes to add avant-jazz, psychedelic rock and post-metal over the rather linear martial rhythms.

While somewhat based on a steady stream of consciousness the 16 tracks that celebrate astro-mythologies deviate from the underlying musical procession by adding complex layers of saxophone based spiritual jazz, bouts of brutal prog workouts, vocal chanting and tribal drumming circles. Add some electronica, some tribal operatic vocals, a Magma-esque bass groove that evokes the otherworldliness of zeuhl martial rhythms and suffocating atmospheres and you know you’re in for a wild ride with this one. Dedicating over two hours of you life for a debut album is a tall demand to be sure but somehow NEPTUNIAN MAXIMALISM have crafted an epic sounding array of soundscapes that reel you in with a steady rhythmic groove and then offer a seemingly inexhaustible mix of the aforementioned musical styles.

Perhaps a bit too weird and too demanding for many to sit through but for those seeking those classic escapist routes in the vein of the most spaced out jazz of Sun Ra, the most kosmische freakery of early Krautrock or the myriad drone metal bands a la Sunn O))) and a gazillion other bands in between then this will be right up your alley. Perfect for those time when you just want to zone out and take a transcendental journey into drifting soundscapes that follow logical processions but layer on countless variations of themes. While a triple discker may seem like too much of a commitment, there’s no rules that say you have to experience this entire album in one sitting like i did. Overall a cool and worthy slice of avant-garde freakery here. Might be way too long for many but i like it!

Come to think of it, this would’ve been a great soundtrack for the Conan The Barbarian film from the 1980s! Or a darker more tripped out sequel to the flick Koyaanisqatsi!

SUNN O))) Monoliths & Dimensions

Album · 2009 · Drone Metal
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With monologues from Attila featured on three of its four tracks, one might expect Monoliths & Dimensions to follow up the approach of Black One (Black Two, in other words). It isn't quite that, and nor is it quite a followup to Oracle, an EP released in the midst of the recording sessions for this. Compared to both it's more orchestrated, more ephemeral, a more serious chase after the "monastic plainsong meets drone metal" concept than they've ever presented before, with excursions into dark ambient and even avant-garde jazz - listen, for instance, to the plaintive brass at the end of Alice, the album-closing tribute to the late Alice Coltrane, perhaps symbolising John welcoming her to eternal rest.

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