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Old 10-07-2021, 06:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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THE TEMPLE OF DOOM

RELEASES COVERED SO FAR: 23

Hello. In this thread I'm going to be posting short blurbs/reviews on doom metal & sludge metal albums that I consider essential. I'm not going to be going in any particular order, but I'll link the reviews by subgenre/time period in this OP, and I'll try to start with five albums from each category below (just to get things fleshed out). Doom metal is one of my most listened to types of music, and I've dug fairly deep, so I hope I can share the odd thing that people aren't already familiar with. Mostly, this is supposed to serve as a guide to getting into the genre, and organizing my thoughts on it.

Doom metal is the style of metal most closely aligned with the early albums of Black Sabbath, particularly the band's slower, darker work. It's arguable that doom was already fully formed on their self titled album, with its dim, satanic atmosphere and glacial plod. Whether or not you consider Sabbath to be doom, anyone interested in the genre should listen to them first. Preferably, all of the first five albums. Do not pass go, do not collect 200. I also just think you owe this to yourself if you enjoy rock music even at all. Seriously.

SABBATH:
BLACK SABBATH (1970)
PARANOID (1970)
MASTER OF REALITY (1971)
VOL. 4
SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH


The genre receives its name from Candlemass' 1986 album *Epicus Doomicus Metallicus*, but its roots outside of Sabbath go all the way back to the early 70s with bands like Bedemon, Bang, the Flower Travellin' Band, and Pentagram expanding on the heavier, more oppressive side of Sabbath's sound. These bands are often referred to as "proto-doom", but the stylistic elements that would be eventually codified by Candlemass were certainly not put together by them first: slow, sometimes almost droning riffs and heavy, fuzzed out guitar tones; lyrics that focused more on despair and loathing than power fantasy -- and sometimes borrowing from 60s rock counterculture; dark, lumbering, bluesy riffs. This was a style of metal that was morose, sedated, and massive -- nothing like a band like Motorhead. Crushing, slow, and full of despair.

PROTO DOOM/70S DOOM METAL:
BEDEMON - CHILD OF DARKNESS
FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND - SATORI
BANG - BANG
PENTAGRAM 1972-1979 VOLS 1 AND 2
SORCERY - SINISTER SOLIDERS


There wasn't much we'd call doom from the late 70s. Even Cirith Ungol's 1979 demo is pretty unlike their doomier material such as King of the Dead, and most of these bands split or went on to new things. Notably, Pentagram stuck around, and became one of the most important bands of the second wave.

By the 80s, the genre was becoming codified and separate from styles like heavy metal or heavy psych, and diversifying. It also became heavier, and slower (a common theme). Metal had begun to change during the NWOBHM, and doom bands (some of which, like Witchfinder General and Pagan Altar, rode that wave, while others, such as Saint Vitus on Black Fla's SST label, owed more to the punk community despite eschewing its tempos) took note.

Witchfinder General stripped Sabbath of their jazzy looseness and just focused on attack. Saint Vitus slowed them down and focused on creating heavy, dirgelike waves of feedback and tone ("they say my music is much too slow/but they don't know the things I know"). Candlemass today is often more associated with their use of power metal theatrics, but they too pushed the bar vis a vis loudness, especially on their more stripped back second album (and, it has to be said, the band's quality riffs and heavy tone make some of their inherent cheesiness go down easier).

Other bands began to incorporate new influences, with Pagan Altar finding uses for folk instrumentation and Cirith Ungol combining progressive leanings with fantasy themes, and consistently strong songwriting on King of the Dead. That Trouble is so highly regarded by fans of 80s metal despite their explicitly christian lyrics is a testament to the band's tightness, consistency, and ability to innovate.

Many of these bands would spawn entire new doom subgenres in the 90s. Saint Vitus, who had strong psychedelic leanings and a punkier guitar tone, were largely the basis for stoner doom metal, as well as being very important to the development of sludge metal. Candlemass birthed epic doom by incorporating power metal theatrics and fantasy themes.

TRADITIONAL DOOM METAL (FIRST WAVE)
SAINT VITUS - SAINT VITUS (1984)
TROUBLE - PSALM 9 (1984)
PENTAGRAM - PENTAGRAM
CANDLEMASS - EPICUS DOOMICUS METALLICUS (1986)
CIRITH UNGOL - KING OF THE DEAD


By the late 80s, a new tide of extreme metal was ripping across the world. Doom, despite its near roots in classic rock, psychedelia, and the blues, took note. Doom metal now had competition in death metal and black metal, but also a more extreme palette of sounds to draw on. The clearest example of this is death/doom, a fusion genre that combined the recording techniques, playing styles and growled vocals of death metal with doom's slow pace and heavy atmosphere.

Several notable death metal bands of the late 80s and early 90s began to slow down in this way, particularly Sempiternal Deathreign, Autopsy and Obituary. Another important influence on this style of music was the band Winter with Into Darkness, arguably the heaviest thing doom had produced up to that point. Winter slowed way down, dropped all the frills, and made music to grit your teeth to.

Death/doom was really popularized by bands on the UK's own Peaceville records. These bands tended to add influences from gothic rock and post-punk to their (usually) death metal ferocity in the form of darkly romantic lyrics and atmospheric synths. Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and Anathema are seen as pioneers in this area. Katatonia went in this direction with more of a black metal slant. In general, there continues to be lots of overlap between gothic doom and death/doom.

DEATH/DOOM:
SEMPITERNAL DEATHREIGN - THE SPOOKY GLOOM (1989)
WINTER - INTO DARKNESS (1990)
AUTOPSY - MENTAL FUNERAL (1991)
ASPHYX - LAST ONE ON EARTH (1992)
CENOTAPH - THE GLOOMY REFLECTIONS OF OUR HIDDEN SORROWS (1992)
FLESHCRAWL - DESCEND INTO THE ABSURD (1992)
DISEMBOWELMENT - TRANSCENDING INTO THE PERIPHERAL
RIPPIKOULU - MUSTA SEREMONIA(1993)
DUSK - MAJESTIC THOU IN RUIN

GOTHIC DOOM:
PARADISE LOST - GOTHIC
MY DYING BRIDE - TURN LOSE THE SWANS (1994)
KATATONIA - BRAVE MURDER DAY
TIAMAT - WILDHONEY(1994)
THE THIRD AND THE MORTAL - TEARS LAID IN EARTH


Death/Doom is supposed to be slow and heavy. For some, however, things had not yet gone far enough. Norway's funeral started the aptly named funeral doom metal subgenre, which crosses death/doom with the agonizing pace of a funeral dirge. These bands aren't interested in accessibility, they want to create the slowest, most depressing music they can. It's not quite drone music -- there are still drum beats and defined riffs -- but it's not far off. Funeral doom bands rely on creating an overall atmosphere of despair, and sometimes employ synths.

FUNERAL DOOM:
THERGOTHON - STREAM FROM THE HEAVENS (1994)
FUNERAL - TRAGEDIES
SKEPTICISM - STORMCROWFLEET(1995)
EVOKEN - A CARESS OF THE VOID
AHAB - THE CALL OF THE WRETCHED SEA
BELL WITCH - MIRROR REAPER


Other bands began to look the the intensity of hardcore, rather than death metal. Sludge metal was born on the b-side of Black Flag's My War album, where, much to the chagrin of many punks, the band participates in 20 minutes of Sabbath worship underneath Henry Rollins going through what sounds like a mental breakdown. Another punk band that slowed down to pave the way for sludge was the laughably incompetent, but hugely influential Flipper, who probably aren't actually playing that way on purpose.

But sludge metal's definitive early statements come from Seattle's Melvins, a punk band who got too into reefer and Master of Reality. Melvins played music that, seemingly, saw itself as punk, at a third of punk's velocity, and did it really well, arguably also creating grunge in the process. Rumbling, detuned guitar fuzz, pounding almost tribal drums that showed little resemblance to what was going on in death metal, and teeth-gnashing vocals from frontman Buzz Osborne made this band one of the most influential rock bands of the 90s period.

Sludge may have been born in the Pacific Northwest, but it was raised in Louisiana. EYEHATEGOD, progenitors of the New Orleans scene, took doom's despair and turned it into hateful misanthropy on releases like Take as Needed for Pain. They took a very punk edged approach, with heavy hardcore influenced vocals, fast crusty sections, and screeching guitar feedback. Some bands in the New Orleans scene even began to add death metal (Acid Bath) or grindcore (Soylent Green) to their misanthropic blend. Crowbar on the other hand, created thick, groovy, mid paced riffs on Odd Fellows Rest.

Elsewhere, following Winter, bands became even dronier, with Grief from Boston and Noothgrush (formed out of the remnants of near-crust sludge anarchists Dystopia) from Oakland leading the charge. Corrupted, from Osaka, made a droney, massive, experimental flavour of sludge. Boris, from Tokyo became the genre's jack of all trades.

Sludge also has major crossover with stoner metal, and stoner doom, with many bands following Saint Vitus in using themes related to drug use and addiction. High on Fire, which, along with Om, is all doom fans got from members of stoner band Sleep till their reformation, is the clearest example.

I'm chosing ten records to start because sludge is fairly broad, and doesn't have as many specific subgenre classifications.

SLUDGE:
BLACK FLAG - MY WAR
MELVINS - GLUEY PORCH TREATMENTS
FLIPPER - GENUINE FLIPPER
EYEHATEGOD - TAKE AS NEEDED FOR PAIN(1993)
HIGH ON FIRE - BLESSED BLACK WINGS
DYSTOPIA - HUMAN = GARBAGE (1994)
ACID BATH - WHEN THE KITE STRING POPS
CROWBAR - ODD FELLOWS REST(1998)
GRIEF - COME TO GRIEF (1994)
CORRUPTED - PASO INFERIOR


There's a few lyrical themes that are consistent invoked across the whole history of doom metal. One of the main ones, of course, is pot, and for good reason. From the very first cough on Black Sabbath's Sweet Leaf, this was a match made in heaven. Marijuana enthusiasts love doom metal for it's textured guita r tones, emphasis on atmosphere, and psychedelic leanings, and it wasn't long till they had a subgenre of their own.

Stoner doom takes inspiration from the more extreme doom styles, especially sludge because of its use of heavy feedback, and adds more fuzz and more influences from psych rock. Many of these bands can still be quite caustic, but there's a lot of Hendrix and Iomi in the mix. Following Saint Vitus, the biggest influenced for the genre was Cathedral, which combined melody, grotesque surrealism and psychedelic flourishes to a still basically ugly series of tracks on Forest of Equilibrium. Sleep and Electric Wizard were hot on their heels, both giving rise to many immitators but only very few peers.

STONER DOOM
SAINT VITUS - BORN TOO LATE
CATHEDRAL - FOREST OF EQUILIBRIUM
SLEEP - DOPESMOKER
ELECTRIC WIZARD - COME MY FANATICS
MELVINS - STONER WITCH

MORE SECTIONS FOR LATER:
EPIC DOOM
90S, 2000S AND NOW TRAD DOOM
POST 90S SLUDGE
ATMOSLUDGE
DRONE METAL
STONER ROCK
HEAVY PSYCH


This is ofc WIP. If you think I've left something out, or think I made an error somewhere, lmk.

Last edited by LEGALISE DRUGS AND MURDER; 10-17-2021 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 10-07-2021, 06:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Bedemon - Child of Darkness

I know this is a demo from some time in the early 70s, though what I have been able to find online conflicts as to the exact year. Either way, to me this is the very best piece of 70s Sabbath worship period. It's just great.

Who is this band? Well, Pentagram, basically, or at least the two bands share membership. Bedemon, at this time, was definitely the heavier and slower of the two. Actually, the band rips. This is a very live recording and they sound great together. Generally very distinct, punchy riffs atop melodic bass playing, all very sabbathian and psych but with an ultimately darker aesthetic and more ferocious attack. This is doom's DNA. I really think the drumming ties it all together, it's pretty complex with lots of psych rock type fills, but right on the money in terms of what a band at this tempo needs to underpin them. And sometimes he just goes ****ING HAM.



I strongly feel that Bobby Liebling, who also appears in Pentagram, was the best Ozzy-worship doom vocalist. With some others others it comes out kind of nasal, and doesn't have Ozzy's gravitas. He really leans into the camp factor of some of these melodies and it comes out sounding great. He sounds distant and mysterious on the recording, which is very much that of a demo, but I never find myself straining to hear what's going on. They sound like a sweaty band playing in a spooky crypt.

The drums sound brittle, and the guitars sound punchy and thick. I really like the vibe and overall aesthetic. I can't help but compare it to an album like Bang's self titled, which is some very fun Sabbath worship, but which lacks the heaviness and murk on display here. This has just the right level of murk.

It's also got consistently good songwriting, with camp lyrics and dreadful melodies. There's a few hippie type political jabs. Definitely sabbath derived, but I would not say derivative. This is simply a good demo, and ahead of its time.

Just an absolute treat.

Last edited by LEGALISE DRUGS AND MURDER; 10-07-2021 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 10-07-2021, 07:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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1. Om was made from the other two members of Sleep and were pretty ace.



2. First death/doom band I'm aware of were Necro Schizma who sound like just the doomy parts of Hellhammer further uglified for the late 80s. Absolutely essential.

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Old 10-07-2021, 08:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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1) correct yea.

2) Sempiternal Deathreign had 2 demos out in 87 and 88 and an album out the same year as that bands demos were done. They formed in 1986. I'll check them out tho
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Old 10-07-2021, 08:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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First, welcome to Journaltown! Always happy to see a new author.
Second, be aware your image in the first post either needs to be spoilered or resized, as it's pushing the text to the right, ie you have to scroll across to read the last few words, then back to the next line, scroll again, back and forward, and it can be annoying and can turn off someone who is trying to read what you've written.
Third, I've only heard a little doom but I do mostly like what I've heard. My favourite would be Funeral Doom and I wonder if you've heard Funeris from France?

Witch Mountain are one of the few doom metal bands I know with female singers

Then there's Thiocryptos

But I'm always ready to hear new Doom, especially Funeral Doom, so I'll be keeping a watchful eye on this journal of yours.

Oh, and fourth, Batty is already shouting at me to get the **** back to listening to Asia and Bon Jovi, but I don't really listen to him any more. It's all white noise.
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Old 10-07-2021, 09:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Fixed. Idk those bands so I'll make note of them. I'll be doing funeral stuff soon.
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Old 10-07-2021, 09:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks. Much better. Oh, and bitchin' name for a journal!
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Old 10-07-2021, 09:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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RIPPIKOULU - MUSTA SEREMONIA (1993)


This band is Finnish. As such, I will not be attempting to write any of their names out, and don't feel like going to town copy pasting on my phone. Nonetheless, this is a delightful death/doom demo! Major bummer this band wasn't more prolific, cause this is, especially for the time, really nasty, brutal stuff. The guitar tone is low, rumbling and massive, just a fat amount of low end for a demo. Totally crushing for the time. It shakes the inside of my skull. The drums are surprisingly high pitched and, compared to the rest of the instrumentation's inhumanity, relatively human. It works well though, cutting through the guitar tone. The vocals are appropriately guttural and grotesque, and the Finnish phonetics are pretty interesting to my anglophone ears.

The band includes a lot of tempo changes. Generally, these are smooth and seemless because the fast riffs maintain eerie, morbid atmosphere introduced by the doomier ones. At its slowest, this band borders on funeral doom, and at its fastest, regular death metal. The riffs sometimes have a chugging death metal quality, or on slower sections will become angular and skeletal. Plenty of blast beats.

Considering the year, and the demo quality (which perhaps even contributes), this is really brutal, heavy stuff, with great atmosphere. It doesn't overstay it's welcome, because, sadly, it's only half an hour long.

I think fans of Disembowelment, or the heavier side of death/doom in general, should go back and check this band out. Sounds like a black hole. A cult release. One of the best of its kind.

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Old 10-07-2021, 10:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Finally a journal with some balls. Thanks for putting this together.
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Old 10-07-2021, 10:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You're very welcome
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