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

doom metal top albums

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SAINT VITUS Die Healing Album Cover Die Healing
SAINT VITUS
4.69 | 11 ratings
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TRIPTYKON Melana Chasmata Album Cover Melana Chasmata
TRIPTYKON
4.52 | 15 ratings
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CANDLEMASS Nightfall Album Cover Nightfall
CANDLEMASS
4.41 | 45 ratings
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CELTIC FROST Monotheist Album Cover Monotheist
CELTIC FROST
4.35 | 38 ratings
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PENTAGRAM Review Your Choices Album Cover Review Your Choices
PENTAGRAM
4.56 | 8 ratings
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WARNING Watching From a Distance Album Cover Watching From a Distance
WARNING
4.50 | 10 ratings
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THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Exuvia Album Cover Exuvia
THE RUINS OF BEVERAST
4.52 | 9 ratings
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MY DYING BRIDE The Dreadful Hours Album Cover The Dreadful Hours
MY DYING BRIDE
4.35 | 26 ratings
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REVEREND BIZARRE In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend Album Cover In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend
REVEREND BIZARRE
4.44 | 12 ratings
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PARADISE LOST Medusa Album Cover Medusa
PARADISE LOST
4.38 | 18 ratings
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TROUBLE Run to the Light Album Cover Run to the Light
TROUBLE
4.48 | 9 ratings
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SKEPTICISM Stormcrowfleet Album Cover Stormcrowfleet
SKEPTICISM
4.43 | 11 ratings
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NINGEN ISU Mandoro

Album · 2013 · Doom Metal
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"Mandoro" is the 17th album by Japanese heavy metal band, Ningen Isu. For over twenty years, the band had sold enough records with each release to permit them to stay with a record label, but the band remained an underground phenomenon. In 2013, they appeared at Ozz Fest in Japan. Seeing the opportunity as a chance to introduce themselves to a larger audience, the band approached their next album as if it were their second debut. There was also a conscious decision to move the band's sound more firmly into heavy metal. Therefore, this album features less of the band's progressive rock side (no 9-minute songs with long, instrumental parts) and as well, it smartly strays from some of their more lighter, pop-influenced songs that had cropped up on albums during the previous decade.

The heavy guitar sound that had been used on some tracks on the last few albums was now the guitar sound of the album. The album is chock full of heavy riffs. Guitarist Shinji Wajima once again takes over all the lyric writing except for the track "Neputa no Mandoriko," which was written by bassist Kenichi Suzuki. The song was inspired by some of the images on the floats of the Neputa Festival of their hometown, Hirosaki City, in Aomori Prefecture. In particular, Suzuki liked the images of battling warriors with skulls, chopped off heads, and eye balls popping out.

Even without writing many lyrics, Suzuki still contributed the music for several of the tracks. Suzuki's songs are usually the faster and heavier ones, and there's no mistaking them here with "Jigokuhen - Hell Screen", "Neputa no Mondoriko", and "Jinsei Banzai". "Neko ja Neko ja - It's a Cat, It's a Cat" features Wajima's wah-wah guitar to mimic the meow of a cat. The song was inspired by an incident when they discovered a kitten had become trapped in a ventilation pipe just over the drum set in their rehearsal studio.

Wajima delivers some great heavy prog songs with some awesome riffs in tracks like, "Kuroyuri Nikki - Black Lily Diary" and "Jikan kara no Kage - The Shadow Out of Time". He also proves yet again to be a master of customized guitar solos, going from blazing metal solos, to psychedelic influenced effects, traditional Japanese music scales, and his unique style of playing what he called "Tsugaru jamisen". The shaminsen or jamisen and a traditional three-stringed instrument a bit like a Japanese banjo. The fingering involves many frequent slides and wiggles on the string to create a vibrato effect. Wajima applies this playing style to his electric guitar.

Wajima once again taps into literature for some of the songs. "Kumo no Ito - The Spider's Thread" and "Jigokuhen" are based on stories by Akutagawa Ryunosuke, a famous Japanese author from the early 20th Century, and H.P. Lovecraft's "The Shadow Out of Time".

The whole album is packed with intense and exciting heavy metal songs. Some songs are heavy and prog-influenced while others are fast and furious. Drummer Nobu Nakajima sings lead on "Kumo no Ito" and belts out some killer screams at the end. He also plays a wicked drum pattern in "Neputa no Mondoriko" which came from a festival drum beat on traditional Japanese taiko drums played at the Neputa Festival.

Only the opening track, "Shigan Goeika - Hymn of This World", takes the tempo down and sounds like a Buddhist chant turned into a song for a three-piece heavy rock band. And the closing track, "Eisei ni natta Otoko - The Man Who Turned Into a Satellite" begins more gently with chorus guitar before switching to a heavy and groovy riff after fifty seconds.

"Mandoro" marks the change over to the current style of Ningen Isu which has continued over five albums now. Most of the band's official music videos on YouTube are for songs from this period. Though always heavy, the band sounds most metal from "Mandoro" and on. It remains one of my favourite albums by Ningen Isu.

URNA Mors Imperatrix Mundi

EP · 2005 · Funeral Doom Metal
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siLLy puPPy
URNA was formed in 2003 in Cagliari on the island of Sardinia off Italy’s western coast by Roberto Mura (vocals) and Marco Z (guitar, bass). The band was formed with the idea of bringing many ideas of black metal into the mix but the duo quickly became enamored with the sounds of the atmospheric black metal hybridization of dungeon synth with industrial from the likes of Tronus Abyss along with the slow plodding doom metal of Void of Silence, both emerging from Italy’s underground metal scene.

The project evolved into a blackened form of ambient funeral doom metal and the duo released a debut demo titled “Justia Funebria” which some databases consider the first proper album but since it’s impossible to find anywhere to hear it i will ignore it and consider this following EP titled MORS IMPERATRIX MUNDI to be the first available to listen release which came out in 2005. There are actually two versions of this one. The first was a four track EP that consisted of four tracks and clocked in at 34 minutes while a re-release on the GSP label came out in 2014 with two extra tracks that basically doubled the playing time with the 25 minute closer “Incipit modesta vita (Malus vivendi).”

Despite the EP status this is basically a full-length album although it’s possible that this is designated as an EP because the original release featured three original tracks and the bonus cover of Mayhem’s classic “De mysteriis dom sathanas.” The sounds on MORS IMPERATRIX MUNDI really does blur the line between dark ambient / dungeon synth, atmospheric black metal and gloomy funeral doom metal. The production is excellent as it captures the bleakness of space synth in the cold impersonal universe while capturing the droning distortion of doom metal chords and plodding rhythms. The black metal aspects come in with the raspy vocals, guitar tones and overall feel.

The first three tracks are hypnotic and flow like molasses as synthesized sounds provide a percussive drive while metal oriented distortion from guitars sustains. The only true black metal performances comes from the Mayhem cover and it is actually quite a decent cover equalling or excelling the quality over the original. The two bonus tracks on the 2014 edition are more or less lengthy excursions into dark ambient soundscapes that ramble on for lengthy processions down various avenues much like a Klaus Schulze album as it provides an alienating effect. The 25 minute closer eschews guitar altogether and drifts off into the vastness of space.

Funeral doom metal covers a wide range of styles ranging from the guitar driven lo-fi offerings of Skepticism to the ethereal and surreal sonicscapes of Esoteric but blackened funeral doom wasn’t quite the thing back when URNA cranked out their series of albums that merged the two styles of metal into a single musical paradigm. Like many funeral doom releases, this one requires patience and the ability to passively let the random sounds float by but for my personal likings i find this one to hit all the right notes with production precision that allows all the elements to be heard and a nice mix of gritty metal sounds with spaced out dark ambient and dungeon synth. Not quite as out there as Esoteric but approaching that side of the spectrum.

JEX THOTH Jex Thoth

Album · 2008 · Doom Metal
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Psychedelic rock and metal hybrids have become quite the thing in the last couple decades with the doom metal section of the headbanger’s supermarket leading the way. While some bands haver completely slipped over the line into stoner metal and weed rock, some bands such as the Madison, Wisconsin based JEX THOTH have firmly situated themselves into a retro doom metal sound in vein of classic Black Sabbath riffing and Iommi frenetic solo styles while adding the early 70s experimental sounds of psychedelic freakery from some of the bigwigs of Krautrock, most notably Amon Duul II and other psychedelically fueled acts.

This band began in Slab City, California before relocating to Wisconsin and released a self-titled EP under the moniker Totem before re-evaluating where they were going and opted to rebrand by naming the band after the charismatic Jessica Bowen who adopted the stage name of JEX THOTH. The project began as a collaboration between her and her ex-hubby James Jackson Toth, who was the main songwriter and leader of the psychedelic indie folk band Wodden Wand. In 2008 the band released a second eponymously titled full-album only this time under the new name with the distinct red and white cover.

Much like similarly minded bands of late such as Canada’s Blood Ceremony, Chicago’s Mount Salem and the Dutch band The Devil’s Blood, JEX THOTH has an affinity zeitgeist for the classic retro sounds of the early 70s and what could have been if only someone had thought of it at the time. While the metal seems a bit tamped down to be considered a true headbanger’s album, JEX THOTH excels in the psychedelic acid rock realms with thick distorted guitar riffs courtesy of Silas Paine who always dishes out some Tullish flute runs and even a bouzouki appearance or two. Grim Jim delivers groovilisicous bass runs that fit right in with the early doom metal influences of classic Black Sabbath and Zodiac serves as the keyboard player who takes the best of late 60s and early 70s psychedelic trippiness to satisfying levels of floatiness.

The least dynamic player in this lineup is the drummer Johnny Dee who suffers the fate of many doom metal percussionists whose job is merely to keep a beat and rarely are offered the opportunity to bust out a frenetic solo or two. The star of the show is clearly the lead lady charm of JEX THOTH who narrates tales of mythology, Paganism and spiritual topics that are divided into 12 tracks that hit the 51 minute mark. While the tracks are all fairly similar in delivery, the highlights included the opening “Nothing Left To Die” which confidently time travels to the not so distant past and mines the possibilities of a more promising hybridization between psychedelic rock and early metal. The four part “Equinox Suite” also exhibits a mature overarching concept that could easily have been taken into extreme progressive rock territory.

While JEX THOTH falls more on the psychedelic rock side of the equation there are energetic moments of metal with heavy riffs, sizzling solos and an opportunity for the lazy nonchalant rhythm section to explode into pyrotechnic exuberance for a few moments but overall this is a trippy album more in line with albums such as “Yeti” from Amon Duul II with a few Sabbathy doom metal moments to cement its inclusion on metal databases. Whether this formula works for one person or the next is a matter of preference but personally i think this album works quite well by skating the psychedelic rock side of the fence over the metal moments as if it would have included too much bombast it probably would have given it a lopsided feeling. Moments such as the short “Invocation, Pt 1” completely leave rock altogether with a trippy organ driven ambience that pretty much sums up the mood of the album. Pretty cool stuff here.

VALE OF AMONITION Those of Tartarean Ancestry

Album · 2017 · Doom Metal
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African metal bands are still completely under the radar in terms of worldwide exposure but the Southern nations such as Botswana and South Africa have been quite prolific in recent years however when it comes to sub-Saharan regions ranging from Senegal all the way to Kenya and Tanzania, there really haven’t been a lot of artists who have gone the metal route. There are exceptions of course and here’s one of them. VALE OF AMONITION is a doom metal anomaly coming from the city of Kampala, Uganda and has been sticking it out since 2009. So far this band has released three EPs and two full-length albums. The first titled “Those of Metal Afar” which came out in 2012 and this sophomore album THOSE OF TARTAREAN ANCESTRY which didn’t emerge until 2017 as a digital release only.

While the lineup has changed over the years, the core members are the duo of Victor Rosewrath aka Vickonomy on lead guitars and vocals along with Solomon Dust who plays rhythm guitars and bass. Walter Warblood was added in 2014 as drummer and has been along for the ride ever since but seems to get credited as a session musician rather than being a full member of the band. Generally speaking Vickonomy crafts the poetic lyrics and Dust crafts the musical accompaniment. The band actually got its start as a fairly standard blues rock band called “Downtown Blues” that borrowed liberally from classic 60s and 70s artists like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple but once VALE OF AMONITION was formed went for a more avant-garde metal approach but since it’s almost impossible to find a sample to check out i’m not sure how weird it was.

On THOSE OF TARTAREAN ANCESTRY the sound has gone into the direction of doom metal with the most obvious influence coming from the English band My Dying Bride with its long drawn out gloomy doom marches and is especially obvious in Vickonomy’s contemplative lugubrious vocal style that at times is a dead ringer for Aaron Stainthorpe. The music of VALE OF AMONITION follows MDB’s snail-paced march through epic and lumbering tales of lands far away and augmented with intermittent spoken word narrations that recount various aspects of the tale at hand. TARTAREAN refers to the deep abyss in Greek mythology that was used as a dungeon of torment and suffering for the wicked and as the prison for the Titans. The music generally offers an epic sprawling procession and matches these gloomy themes quite well.

While doom metal is almost unheard of in Africa, VALE OF AMONITION carries it off quite well however this music is a bit too derivative from the original sources for my liking. The My Dying Bride influences are too much in the forefront with the same time signatures of the drawn out guitar riffs and the atmospheric claustrophobia that oozes out of the cracks. Vocally it falls way to close to a lost My Dying Bride album at least in the singing department. Also the drumming sounds a bit lackadaisical and the album drags on for too long as it lacks enough variety and climactic justification to linger on for so long. Oh and the album takes way to long to get to the metal parts. On the positive side of things there are many moments with strange guitar tricks and a few off-kilter vocalized extras and i would’ve loved to hear more of these variations strewn about the album but it feels that VALE was playing things a bit too safe with deviating from the established orthodoxies of doom metal. Overall not a bad album but not as awesome as i was hoping for. Ugandan doom metal may not be common but i can see that these guys have potential if they allow a bit more creativity to flourish.

SCALD Will Of The Gods Is Great Power

Album · 1996 · Doom Metal
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When the Soviet Union, the world’s largest nation, collapsed in 1991 it left a 50% decline in GDP and industrial output and between 1990 and 1995 the birth rate plummeted while the death rate skyrocketed. The newly independent nations that included the newest largest nation on Earth, the Russian Federation, were in complete shambles so it’s no wonder that so many were looking westward for hope and inspiration. While the Soviet regime frowned upon Western influences such as metal music, a few hardcore bands managed to eke out a living in the repressive environment. Bands like Ария (Aria), Мастер (Master), Чёрный кофе (Chernyj Kofe) and Фронт (Front) weathered out the 80s through sheer determination but once the walls came crumbling down a new breed of metal artists began to appear as exposure to Western artists flooded in like face masks at an Amazon warehouse during a pandemic.

One of the most striking changes from the 80s bands to the 90s ones was the fact that most of the post-Soviet bands were dropping their native Russian language and casting their gaze on a more international audience and suddenly English lyrics and Western themes replaced anything resembling the tumultuous homeland. While many bands emerged during this time including Hieronymus Bosch, Rakoth and Mental Home, perhaps the band that has become the greatest cult legend from this era is the Yaroslavl based doom metal band SCALD. Mostly likely part of the legendary status of SCALD results from the fact that the band was short-lived having formed in 1993 and released a single album titled WILL OF THE GODS IS GREAT POWER in 1997 before the untimely death of the lead singer Maxim “Agyl” Adrianov the following year. Add to that, this album is just really, really good!

Sweden was the greatest center of admiration for SCALD as it adopted the Viking metal subject matter of Bathory’s “Hammerheart” and married it to the 80s doom metal sounds of Candlemass along with the American bands Solitude Aeturnus and Solstice and in the process crafted one of the most epic sounding metal albums ever to emerge from Russian soil. Another factor that keeps this one popular in cult metal circles is that this DIY project happened at the nadir of Russia’s economic crisis and was clearly fueled solely by an indefatigable passion for metal music of the west and despite all the odds against its existence, SCALD sallied forth into the recording studio like Viking soldiers on a conquest and created a 53 minute classic of fantasy themed epic doom metal that delivered stomping guitar riffs, bass driven rhythms and the band’s most powerful attribute of all - the extraordinary vocal prowess of Agyl whose range was every bit as impressive as Candlemass’ lead vocalist Messiah Marcolin and beyond.

Like most doom metal, this music isn’t about flashy complexity or technical workouts. SCALD was about delivering a flow of doom metal guitar distortion and a steady rhythmic beats that allowed Agyl’s vocal style to steal the show however the musicians while not in the forefront were an integral part of adding subtle changes such as guitar licks and atmospheric ambience to set an epic tone while sound effects such as rainstorms and wind howls add the timeless Earthly touches to the mix. The overall effect is more mesmerizing and hypnotic which lend to an epic tale of lost legends in measured bombast and atmospheric eeriness. By far the weakest link on WILL OF THE GODS IS GREAT is the shabby production job which is really to be expected considering the time and place of recording however like lo-fi black metal albums that purposely recorded under such conditions, the effect anchors this release even deeper into the underground and cementing its legendary status as a cult classic.

WILL OF THE GODS IS GREAT originally appeared as a cassette only release on the Moscow based MetalAgen Records label which was instrumental in bringing the emerging metal sounds to a wider audience but has been re-released with different cover art and a reshuffling of track placements on the Wroth Emitter label and has seen various reissues ver the years with even more changes of cover art but the album has not been remastered and hopefully will never be as the production job adds to the testament of a talented band persevering under the harshest of circumstances. After the death of Agyl, the remaining members wisely disbanded SCALD and formed the folk metal band Tumulus. SCALD is one of those bands that continues to captivate new audiences as time marches on. Agyl was one of the most gifted metal vocalists of any style much less classic doom metal and it’s sad that this is the only testament to his uncanny vocal range but at least this classic album hasn’t fallen into the vaults of obscurity for time immemorial .

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