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

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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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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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KHANATE Khanate Album Cover Khanate
3.88 | 5 ratings
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BORIS Amplifier Worship

Album · 1998 · Drone Metal
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Boris, the beloved Drone Metallers from Japan. Or rather, by now they are more of a chameleon act, but it all started here.

Personally, I’ve got a bit of a beef with Boris. Not the band itself, obviously, but the concept. You see, I love Japanese Metal. It’s an indescribable scene with some of the most unique acts in the world, ranging through every genre under the sun. They tend to have a penchant for stick-in-your-head melodies as well as boundless experimentation. Unfortunately, many of these bands never get any recognition outside their home country. Even X Japan, revered as the country’s version of The Beatles in their home, is unknown outside of metal/music nerd circles. For some reason, getting notoriety for a Japanese (Metal) band seems much more difficult than for bands in the West.

And what band struck gold? What band tops charts across websites and is beloved by the music world? Boris. The band who makes a song by playing the same four notes dragged out over 9 minutes. Or not even playing notes at all, and letting the feedback speak for itself.

Don’t get me wrong, Boris are experimental, and unique. They experiment with how boring they can possibly make a song and still get it labeled a masterpiece anyway. They’re also very unique in that they’ll put a directionless Drone Metal song on the same record as a repetitive Stoner Metal song and a *checking RYM genre voting page* Post-Rock song? In all of which almost nothing happens and they are considered loveable quirky hipsters.

If you can’t tell, this review really isn’t about Boris. It’s about my frustration with feeling out of touch. Nothing against the band… but they represent all I do not understand about the music fandom.

SNØGG Ritual of the Sun

Album · 2020 · Drone Metal
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siLLy puPPy
SNØGG is a duo from Velenje, Slovenia that has been around since 2013 but has only put out a couple releases so far. The debut “Chhinnamasta” released in 2019 found SNØGG in the world of atmospheric black metal without much to set it apart from the legions of similar acts. The band utilized the expected aggressive distorted riffing, raspy vocals and dark atmospheric overlays. Add to that some occasionally proggy time signature deviations and some excellent musicianship but overall a pretty average run-of-the-mill affair.

The duo’s second coming, RITUAL OF THE SUN is an altogether different beast that features a single 37 1/2 minute track that presumably represents exactly what the album / track title signifies and indeed this dark ambient affair truly does exude the characteristics of a long drawn out ritual that is designed to appease the gods / spirits in a way only a cult insider would understand. This time around SNØGG pretty much ditched the black metal altogether and left us with an album’s worth of droning, dark ambience and repetitive chanting. Even the vocals have left the realms of black metal but if you’ve heard the first release it’s easy to tell these are the same guys.

I agree with the consensus that these guys are really good at the ambient build up that roughly takes up the first third of the album and then really drops the ball and the wimpy (supposedly) black metal middle part which doesn’t even really sound like black metal at all. It’s more like power chords accompanying a repetitive chant that reminds me of the 1970 title track on Black Widow’s “Sacrifice” album with about the same amount of effect. After the lackluster metal contrast, the album continues with a bunch of synthesized swirlies for a lengthy outro but becomes too abstract and amorphous for its own good.

Yep, these guys had great ambitions with this one indeed but the efficacy of the results is actually fairly disappointing. It’s hard to believe that SNØGG has emerged from the same lands that spawned Devil Doll, one of my favorite eccentric prog / metal artists that totally nailed the art of lengthy track long albums but being from Slovenia doesn’t guarantee great talent alone. Not a total waste of time if you don’t take it too seriously. This is a pleasant mix of dark ambient sounds that serve well as background music but this is hardly an album that effectively conjures up the proper spells for an effective ritual and is definitely not something i will ever visit again. Back to the drawing board, guys.

CORRUPTED Paso Inferior

Album · 1997 · Drone Metal
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You put two genres like Drone Metal and Sludge Metal together, you gotta expect something pretty rancid. Dissonant, noisy, repetitive, lethargic… those were some traits that come to mind, and they are also traits I tend not to like when combined.

The short of it is, the album sounds exactly as you might expect (at least, exactly as I did), and it’s just not my thing.

The longer story though, is there were some great details to this album I did appreciate. The density of numerous guitars in the background creating a twisted cacophony with feedback and bent notes was quite great. The atmosphere here is destructive; there’s no real emotion to it, but there is a terrifying emptiness, like the heart of a cold killer, long since surrendered to insanity.

I’m not sure what the lore behind this Japanese band is, but writing the whole album in Spanish is a very odd choice. Google translating it doesn’t make a lick of sense.

CRAWL (TX) Damned

Album · 2023 · Drone Metal
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siLLy puPPy
One-man band Michael Engel has been cranking out albums, splits and EPs for over a decade now as the ominous sounding CRAWL but found a long gap between his latest DAMNED and the 2019 release “Necrotic Fear.” While traditionally a mix of sludge and drone metal, DAMNED has pretty much abandoned any notion of sludgery for a bleaker mix of funeral doom metal plodding, drone metal monotony and dark ambient atmospheric chill effects.

DAMNED features four long plodding tracks that extend past the 37-minute mark and showcase Engel’s frightful blackened dungeon doom effect in full lo-fi regalia. Nicely paced and seemingly demonically possessed, the music exudes a horrific march into the depths of the underworld with molasses slow bass / guitar grooves accompanied by Engel’s black metal rasps that simulate a grim reaper having a very bad day.

The sludge metal of previous releases has been totally replaced by a monotonous funeral doom procession with only energetic drum rolls breaking the hypnotic spell of torturous cyclical loops playing the soundtrack of hell for eternity. The mix of the elements is perfect for the overall effect and the lo-fi exuberance perfectly scratches the itch for a droning blackened funeral from the deepest depths of the unseen darkness. Occasional keyboard melodies creep out of the underbelly of the beast.

Drone metal in general can be quite boring but CRAWL adds the right amount of tension by slowly ratcheting up the tempos while the tortured blackened screams become more frenetic as the tracks progress. The mixing is excellent and the entire effort really does harken to the earliest days when first wave black metal was giving way to the second coming. The ambience stands alone as spectacular like frightful howling winds kissed by the demonic forces that summon a war of the worlds.

In this minimalist approach CRAWL has focused on the elements that really make the horror soundtrack work on all levels. While my appetite for drone metal oriented albums rarely make it to the top of my list, when i do find the right combo of elements that work in tandem so well to craft the utmost dread and fear factor, i cannot resist the temptation to venture into the world of the snail-paced where every ounce of doom and gloom is milked for your depressive pleasure. Much better than many of the SUNN O))) releases that try to hard to cram too much in which ruins the effects. Sometimes less is more and CRAWL got that memo.

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.

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