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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CELESTIAL SEASON Solar Lovers Album Cover Solar Lovers
CELESTIAL SEASON
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KATATONIA Dance of December Souls Album Cover Dance of December Souls
KATATONIA
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SEMPITERNAL DEATHREIGN The Spooky Gloom

Album · 1989 · Death-Doom Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Formed in 1986 in the southern city of Gouda in the Netherlands, the band SEMPITERNAL DEATHREIGN was formed by the three cousins Frank Faase (vocals, guitar), Victor van Drie (bass) and Misha Hak (drums) who started out playing extreme thrash metal influenced by early 80s bands like Venom, Exodus, Metallica and Slayer but also took a liking to the Teutonic thrash scene fronted by Destruction, Kreator and Sodom.

Having taken an interest in the slower more plodding styles of doom metal from bands such as Trouble, the band adopted those slower sounds to their style while taking their thrash skills into the nascent recently birthed world of death metal making SEMPITERNAL DEATHREIGN one of the very first death-doom metal bands and the first to release a full album of this style with its 1989 release THE SPOOKY GLOOM. A few other bands were flirting with this style two and did release some demos before though.

This band only existed for four years and disbanded in 1990 leaving this sole album as its mark on the metal history timeline. Unfortunately drummer Misha Hak left before this album was recorded and the band was reduced to a duo but session musician Remo van Arnhem sat in to contribute the percussion parts. Van Drie also adds a few barely audible piano parts here and there but basically this album featured a mix of rampant death metal bombast which alternated with slower plodding doom metal motifs.

The album featured six tracks with a running time of 35 plus minutes and featured the earliest example of lengthy sprawling doom metal tracks with “Devastating Empire Towards Humanity” which was just shy of the eleven mark, a playing time which was still somewhat rare for metal but with Metallica’s “And Justice For All” opening the doors for lengthier metal tracks, by the end of the 80s it was becoming more acceptable to experiment with such drawn out composiitons.

While considered among the first death-doom metal acts, unfortunately the quality of THE SPOOKY GLOOM didn’t result in the best the sub-genre has to offer with many more skilled bands such as diSEMBOWELMENT, My Dying Bride, Katatonia and Evoken taking the stylistic hybrid to more interesting heights in the 90s and beyond but nevertheless SEMPITERNAL DEATHREIGN successfully cross-pollinated the two metal styles fairly successfully.

This was a decent beginning for death-doom but THE SPOOKY GLOOM was marred by a shoddy production job as well as a somewhat amateurish attempt of delivery and although this Dutch band was fairly crafty at alternating the faster death metal moments with slower chugging doom metal, the two styles hadn’t quite gelled together seamlessly yet and the vocal style of Frank Faase (i believe) is a bit goofy reminding me of Exodus’ first singer Paul Baloff who sounded like a tortured clown. Not a bad beginning and well worth the time to check it out but unfortunately in the case of death-doom metal, first doesn’t come close to most interesting.

ATAVIST III: Absolution

Album · 2020 · Death-Doom Metal
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Kev Rowland
Atavist features Winterfylleth guitarist and vocalist, Chris Naughton, along with bassist Shane Ryan, drummer Callum Cox and vocalist Toby Bradshaw. They went on an extended hiatus after their second album, 2007’s ‘II: Ruined’, and it is only now that they have returned with their third, keeping the same line-up. They have been associated with many of the slower genres, and they are following the same musical path which will find people referring to this as doom, sludge, or drone, with all of them being correct at different times. This would give the impression that this is incredibly heavy, and while that is true there is also plenty of lightness and atmosphere. This has been enabled in no small part by the use of guest musicians Jo Quail on cello (Mono/My Dying Bride), Bianca Blezard on viola and violin (Winterfylleth) long with ARD keyboard player Mark Deeks (Winterfylleth).

There may be quite a few Winterfylleth musicians involved, but this is a very different musical beast indeed, although it still manages to capture much of the atmosphere that group is renowned for. This is dramatic, taking the listener on a journey in a drab, grey, fog-ridden world where all hope is lost, and melancholy is pervasive. The weight on the listener’s shoulders is immense, as we carry the load and trudge through the wilderness, surviving but not living. Yet there are times when the strings come through and add a lightness like a ray of sunlight, lifting the spirits and providing hope, only for them to be dashed again. It is the use of contrast which really makes this album stand out and give it real presence, with a cello both mournful and joyous, light yet heavy, strident yet soothing. Extreme experimental music will always be more confrontational and deliberately out of the mainstream, and those who don’t like to follow the well-trodden path of so many others yet look for new routes would do well to seek this out.

PARADISE LOST Medusa

Album · 2017 · Death-Doom Metal
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poslednijat_colobar
The ultimate and classic death-doom release by Paradise Lost

Medusa makes the hardest fans of death-doom metal and Paradise Lost in particular to exclaim. This exceptional album consists of long, dark, slow and elaborate works and makes the metalheads' blood to boil. There are not any sterile, boring or unnecessary parts on the album, as well as any production problems which used to be presented on the early heavier releases by the band. The inclusion of keyboards is very skillful and enchanting, while inserting additional volume and style to the album. Real masterpiece by Paradise Lost this time without exceptions and excuses and a strong candidate for best album of the band to date.

PARADISE LOST Gothic

Album · 1991 · Death-Doom Metal
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poslednijat_colobar
Gothic is the second album by the Godfathers of death / doom / gothic metal. Being definitely rather influential record for the genre it contains a lot of early Paradise Lost anthems. The style in harsh and slow, as do the vocals. The production of the album is quite mediocre and the musicians were still looking their shape. Gothic as a name gave the direction of the band for long years to come, but it is not a gothic album itself. Recommended for all fans of the band and genre, and yet do not expect miracles from this unpolished studio record.

ANATHEMA Serenades

Album · 1993 · Death-Doom Metal
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UMUR
"Serenades" is the debut full-length studio album by UK, Liverpool based doom/death metal act Anathema. The album was released through Peaceville Records in February 1993. Anathema formed in 1990 under the Pagan Angel monicker, but soon changed their name to the current one. The band released the "An Iliad of Woes" demo in 1990 and the "All Faith Is Lost" demo in 1991. In 1992 Anathema released the "They Die/Crestfallen" single and "The Crestfallen" EP. The time was ripe for releasing melancholic doom/death and artists like Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Cathedral, Enchantment, and Katatonia had simultaniously layed the groundwork for an album like "Serenades" to succeed. And "Serenades" did end up a successful release for Anathema, helped along by the airing of the promotional video of "Sweet Tears" on MTV´s Headbangers Ball.

"Serenades" predominantly features freshly written material, but the band have opted to re-record and re-title "They Die" from "The Crestfallen (1992)" EP. It´s titled "They (Will Always) Die" on "Serenades". Considering the amount of minor releases from the band´s early days Anathema had plenty of (or at least some) writing and recording experience before entering the studio to record their debut album, and that´s audible. The band are well playing and although not all material on the album are equally intereresting, there are some high quality songwriting ideas here and there. "Serenades" opens on a particularly strong note with the trio of tracks, "Lovelorn Rhapsody", "Sweet Tears", and "J'ai fait une promesse". Three very different sounding tracks. The former is a slow doom/death track with heavy riffs and a dark atmosphere. It´s quite epic and atmospheric and towards the end of the track Anathema play a little faster and enter death metal territory. "Sweet Tears" is a heavy, mid-paced (...well slow mid-paced), and groove laden 70s influenced doom metal track (the main slide guitar riff is killer), featuring a catchy and melancholic lead guitar melody and loads of heaviness, and "J'ai fait une promesse" is a beautiful atmospheric track with female lead vocals (and gorgeuos harmonies) by Ruth Wilson. Darren White has a raw throaty semi-growling delivery, which isn´t always pretty to listen to, but mostly suits the music well anyway. He also occasionally speaks and sings some clean type vocals.

The goth (The Sisters of Mercy and The Mission come to mind) influenced "Sleepless" should be mentioned as a highlight too while the short "Scars of the Old Stream" and "Where Shadows Dance" and the 23:22 minutes long instrumental closing track "Dreaming: The Romance" aren´t particularly interesting. The latter even crosses into tedious territory pretty quickly. "Serenades" features a heavy and detailed sound production, which suits the material well, but overall the album is a bit of a mixed bag. Some tracks are high quality doom/death compositions while others have a tendency to outstay their welcome or plod along with very few climaxes to speak of. Compared to some of their contemporaries (mentioned above), Anathema weren´t fully up to par on this release, but it´s still a quality release in the genre and a 3.5 star (70%) rating isn´t all wrong.

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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