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
CORRUPTED
4.38 | 8 ratings
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SUNN O))) Monoliths & Dimensions Album Cover Monoliths & Dimensions
SUNN O)))
4.17 | 17 ratings
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BORIS Amplifier Worship Album Cover Amplifier Worship
BORIS
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SUNN O))) White2 Album Cover White2
SUNN O)))
4.14 | 12 ratings
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BORIS Boris At Last: -Feedbacker- Album Cover Boris At Last: -Feedbacker-
BORIS
4.07 | 21 ratings
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TEETH OF LIONS RULE THE DIVINE Rampton Album Cover Rampton
TEETH OF LIONS RULE THE DIVINE
4.17 | 6 ratings
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THE ANGELIC PROCESS Weighing Souls With Sand Album Cover Weighing Souls With Sand
THE ANGELIC PROCESS
4.25 | 4 ratings
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SUNN O))) Black One Album Cover Black One
SUNN O)))
3.93 | 22 ratings
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BORIS Dronevil Album Cover Dronevil
BORIS
4.12 | 4 ratings
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NAKED CITY Leng Tch'e Album Cover Leng Tch'e
NAKED CITY
4.00 | 7 ratings
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SUNN O))) White1 Album Cover White1
SUNN O)))
3.88 | 16 ratings
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BORIS Absolutego Album Cover Absolutego
BORIS
3.91 | 10 ratings
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Enemy Of Love (with OAA)
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drone metal Music Reviews

EARTH Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version

Album · 1993 · Drone Metal
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SilentScream213
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.

NEPTUNIAN MAXIMALISM Éons

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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Warthur
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.

RORCAL La Femme Sans Tête

EP · 2015 · Drone Metal
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Tupan
My first drone album - and it was a pleasant experience!

Rorcal is a doom/drone/experimental band from Switzerland, specialized in huge tracks mixing atmospheric passages and crushing riffs. La Femme sans Tête is an EP (despite its half-hour lenght) containing one song divided in three movements.

The first track is calm and minimalist, with sparse sounds of electronics and some drumming. The second one brings noise and that marvellous crushing riffs. It's more varied than one can imagine, I even banged my head at some point! The third track follows this trend and end the album in a high note.

Good album, indeed. Recommended for fans of drone doom and experimental sounds.

KHANATE Khanate

Album · 2001 · Drone Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Sometimes understanding where a band got their name will tell you a lot about the overall vibe their trying to instill with their music. In the case of KHANATE, a so called supergroup due to the fact that the four band members vocalist Alan Dubin (Old, Gnaw), guitarist Stephen O’Malley (Sunn O)))), bassist James Plotkin (Old, Scorn, Phantomsmasher) and drummer Tim Wyskida (Blind Idiot God) all got their feet wet in various doom and drone oriented metal bands that had an impact on the metal scene. The name KHANATE is a term for a political entity that appeared on the Eurasian Steppe and most synomous for the time of Genghis Khan and his massive Mongol Empire. This is music of conquest indeed, the type that administers its bombast at a snail’s pace and unleashes all the torturous apparatuses to fulfill its goal.

While drone metal was derived from doom metal, many of the bands that fit into that child sub somehow managed to separate themselves completely. I mean, does anyone associate bands like Earth, Sunn O)))) or Boris with doom? Maybe only superficially but they certainly evolved into a more post-metal realm that utilizes all that fuzzy drone sludgery in a world all its own. KHANATE’s self-titled debut on the other hand totally embraces the doom metal roots from whence the drone sub spawned. Therefore this album contains four long sprawling terrifying tracks (and a short dark ambient one in the middle) that utilize all the grating layers of feedback, insane asylum shrieking and fuzzed out bass in conjunct with heavy doom laden riffs that flow like Antarctic molasses only they also have hints of their doom metal roots from the likes of Black Sabbath and Pentagram.

While drone metal is mostly a miss in my books as it is usually repetitive and sprawling to infinity, KHANATE found the perfect formula to create elongated timespans filled with AAAALLLL the frightening possibilities. First of all, Alan Dubin’s vocals are absolutely terrifying. In fact the whole album makes me think of scary dude from the movie Scream inviting all his buddies over to make some music. They shoot up a little heroin and the party’s on. It’s fright night with all the amps turned to eleven, intent to scare at full capacity and experimentalism is set to high with only the tiniest trace of established doom metal orthodoxy allowed to provide a somewhat shaky canvas to paint upon. Slasher metal anyone? These guys are great at keeping the tracks distinct from one another despite operating on the same set of principles, namely scare the holy crap outa anyone who gets near.

KHANATE couldn’t have conquered new territories if not for the outstanding production that graces this album. While the plodding rhythms flow like cooling magma down a only slightly sloped terrain, the guitar, bass and drums all conspire to create just enough variation to keep one’s attention span from teetering off into elsewhere. These guys paid attention to every small detail and the result is an addicting feedback fuzz laced with sludge celebration of slow, miserable and lugubrious outbursts of pure dread. I’m not sure why this hasn’t been lumped into the funeral doom world because it certainly evokes the same desperate depths of despair. The middle piece “Torching Koroviev” takes this to even more extreme levels as it eschews the metal aspects and creates a dark ambient gut-wrenching experience.

Julian Cope described this album as an orchestrated root-canal and you know, that’s not too far off the cuff. This music has a fuzz back feed that does remind of the dentist’s drill only it’s like going to the dentist on LSD where every seemingly banal move becomes a torturous tale of misadventure and every sonic change is a new demon invited to the party where you are the victim of demented torturous abuse. The album is good all the way through but the final two tracks “Under Rotting Sky” and “No Joy” really delve deep into a dark and unforbearing underworld that resonates as an eternity of suffering where no souls escape in a true tesseract of impending hopelessness. This is some of the coolest drone doom metal around as KHANATE mastered the emotional depth to pull it off. This is very different than any of the band’s other projects and totally recommended for those looking for the most extreme examples of doom based metal on slo-mo.

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