Essential Doom Metal, My Favorite Albums Of The Genre

Doom Metal is an extreme genre of Heavy Metal, with the foundation for it set by the Black Sabbath….who pretty much set the foundation for all things metal.  Pioneer Doom Metal bands such as Candlemass, Saint Vitus and Trouble rose to metal audience’s attention in the mid to late 80s.  Characteristics of Doom Metal include a slower tempos, lower tuned, sludgy sounding guitars, complimented with lyrics and an atmosphere of despair and impending…uh…doom.  Vocals can be clean or similar to that of death metal,  Its those primary elements listed above that matter.  It has nothing to do with the leader of Latveria.  Sorry Victor….

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Whatever plateface.  Anyways, the following five albums are my favorites of this genre, which I was exposed to in the early 90s in much thanks to the aforementioned bands, along with a wave of more modern Doom Metal which came about in the years to come.  Some people will agree with these choices, many will likely disagree.  Take it as you will.  To me, these albums are essential listening

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Candlemass-Epicus Doomicus Metallicus

The quintessential Doom Metal album.  While Black Sabbath laid down the Doom Metal foundation, Sweden’s Candlemass put up the framework with their 1986 debut LP.  6 man-sized tracks that come at you like bulldozers.  With hard, crushing, fist-breaking riffs, powerful vocals filled with despair, and an apocalyptic ambiance make this the perfect starting point for anyone interested in the genre.

draconianParadise Lost-Draconian Times

I’m pretty positive that longtime fans of this band who are reading this article are thinking “This is not a Doom record.  Why is this guy not listing Lost Paradise?  Icon?  Gothic?”  Well, to ME at least, it most certainly is a Doom Metal album. How Doomy you ask?  The inspiration behind this album was the MS Estonia catastrophe (Google it). This 1995 classic shows the West Yorkshire-based band at a transition point in their career.  While they still display the brutal riffs and gloomy aspects found in the previously mentioned albums, they enhance the experience with clean, yet aggressive vocals, a Gothic tinge similar to that of Sisters of Mercy and a slick, top-notch production value.  The end product is, to me, their finest hour; a sonic onslaught that will leave the listener forever changed.  Paradise Lost has recently made the return to the Death Doom sound of their heyday, but nobody will forget this classic, quality album.

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The Gathering-Mandylion

That same year, a barely known death metal band from Holland rolled the dice, completely modified their sound and replaced their cookie-monster grunting vocalist with the polar opposite.  Enter Anneke van Giersbergen, a fiery-haired beauty with a set of golden pipes.  Fueled by the new vocalist, the band went from a run of the mill Doom Metal band with growling vocals to a soulful, ethereal outfit.  Behind the crunching, heavy-laden wall of sound, Anneke enchants you with her lucid, dreamstate vocal stylings, creating some of the most beautiful Doom you will ever hear.  This album paved the way for other female-fronted bands like Nightwish, Theater of Tragedy and Leaves Eyes and also allowed other Doom/Death Doom Metal bands like My Dying Bride and Anathema incorporate the use of female vocalists.  Anneke has long left The Gathering, embarking on a rather successful solo career.  However, the impact of The Gathering’s Mandylion rings very strong to this day.

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Amorphis-Tales From The Thousand Lakes

Now I’m really taking this beyond the points of standard Doom Metal.  I promise, this will be the last “crossover” album listed.  The unique thing about Amorphis is the complexity of their songwriting.  Tales From The Thousand Lakes is based entirely of the Finnish epic, The Kalevala.  While this approach (the use of classic literature) is common amongst Scandinavian bands, it was an eye opener to me.  It opened me up to other bands of the region and their approach to their songwriting crafts and use of regional instrumentation.  Everything about that is found within this album, coupled with some pretty kickass Sabbath-esque riffs to go with it.

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Pallbearer-Sorrow And Extinction/Foundations of Burden

Pallbearer has been considered by many as the future of Doom Metal and with two very strong back to back albums, I couldn’t agree more. Pallbear takes the “low and slow” approach and builds upon with lengthy, epic tracks that come to the same levels as progressive rock.  If you were to walk through a neverending graveyard, shrouded in mist, with a cool dampness in the air, Pallbearer would provide the soundtrack to that walk.  Beneath the melancholy, sorrowful sounds lies an everlasting beauty.  Its as if this walk through this maze like graveyards ends with a sunrise in the distant.  I know I am getting quite deep here but there really is no other way to describe these albums.  Sorrow and Extinction is masked in death and gloom while Foundations of Burden could easily serve as a homage to kings of a glorious time.  Despite being the most recent releases on this list, they belong here.

There are probably a dozen more albums I could to this list.  However, if I had to be stranded in dark, dank dungeon and was only allowed to listen to Doom Metal, then these would be my choice.s

5 Metal Albums of 2015 That You Should Be Listening To……

We’re about halfway through the year and there have been a good amount of good albums that have been unleashed upon the “metal world”.  Here are five albums released this year that I have enjoyed immensely and I honestly feel that you should give them a listen to…..

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Soilwork-Live In The Heart of Helsinki

Yep, starting off with a live one.  If you are familiar with Soilwork, you should already be well aware of this monster.  If you are not, this is a perfect starting point.  A heart racing, 23-track tour de force spanning the Swedish metal outfit’s entire body of work, Live In The Heart of Helsinki is a perfect display of the raw, adrenaline induced energy the band gives off in their studio recordings.  Guest appearances from Floor Jansen of Nightwish and Nathan J. Biggs of Sonic Syndicate further compliment this amazing set. .  I can give you guys a whole lesson on the Swedish metal scene but I’ll save that for another time.   Don’t just get the album, grab the blu ray as well. Fulfill the experience.

Haven

Kamelot-Haven

Haven is the Florida-based power metal band’s eleventh album and the second to feature vocalist Tommy Karevik, who replaced the very popular longtime vocalist Roy Khan in 2012.  Their previous effort, Silverthorn, was an enjoyable record but seemed to lack a sense of solidarity, perhaps due to Karevik’s abrupt arrival.  However, “Fallen Star”, the powerful and majestic opening track of Haven, is an indication that Karevik has found his niche and comfort zone within the band.  This, along with a handful of wonderful, memorable moments, makes this Kamelot’s best work since 2005’s The Black Halo.  Notable tracks include “Insomnia’ ‘Veil of Elysium” “Under Grey Skies” (a medieval-tinged ballad featuring Charlotte Wessels of Delain) “Liar Liar” (featuring Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy) and “Revolution”.

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Night Demon- Curse of The Damned

This album is going to be very much discussed on next week’s Necrocasticon podcast and its also going to include an interview with Bassist/Vocalist Jarvis Leatherby, so I’m going to keep this brief.  Night Demon’s Curse of the Damned pays true homage to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and the early days of the 80s thrash movement.  Neck snapping guitar riffs, tight production and great vocals.  If you love classic metal pick this up.  And tune in next week for more on this!  Metal!!!!!!

The next two albums I’m going to present are not released yet.  However, once they are, I DEMAND you get your hands on them.  Trust me…..

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High on Fire-Luminiferous

On June 16th (my wedding anniversary), Matt Pike and company are going to once again unleash their hellacious, skin-scorching brand of doom upon the world!  If you have never experienced the brutal awesomeness that is High on Fire, START NOW!!!  The best way I can describe them is to imagine a giant running full speed across a valley laden with skulls.  Take the doomy elements of bands like Trouble, Sleep (Pike’s former band) and Saint Vitus, the sludge of Mastodon, Clutch and the Melvins and the kick your ass rock and roll aggression of Motorhead and this is what you get.  Be ready…..

And now ladies and gentlemen….

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Paradise Lost- The Plague Within

On June 2nd, witness the return of the kings.  I have witnessed very few bands go through so many transitions and come full circle.  When Paradise Lost arrived on the scene in 1990, they were one of the founding fathers of the dark, slow, doom-laden style of death metal.  By the mid 90s, they evolved, moving to clean vocals, cleaner production and a more gothic metal based sound reminiscent of The Sisters of Mercy. At the turn of the new millenium, their sound became that of a melancholy synthpop, heavily influenced by such acts as New Order and Depeche Mode.  With each passing album, they slowly inched towards their roots, blending elements of each era with another.  Enter The Plague Within, the return to the sound that grabbed the metal world by its throat and demanded its attention.  I, amongst other fans of this band, can barely wait!   June 2nd……

This is not the be all end all of great new stuff released (or soon to be released this) year.  If there is anything that you guys have been listening to, share it with us.  Like you, we are fans and we are open to new stuff.  Until next time……METAL!!!!!