Midwestern US underground metal legends, influenced a ton of bands in trad and even a little outside of it – albeit in more modern times than in their own era – you know the drill by now.
Downfall is kind of an odd album in the Solitude Aeturnus discography. It has the band’s signature touch, certainly – the evocative, stone-heavy riffage and harmonies; Robert Lowe’s consistently impeccable vocal delivery, and that sweet, sweet over the top melancholia underpinning everything. All that said, Downfall has a pretty distinctly different vibe in that it’s the least “epic” thing the band ever did, least to my ears anyway.
What Witchfinder General does is that they fuse the bludgeoning, lumbering violence of Sabbath with the deceptively-lithe athleticism & agility of what the other NWOBHM bands were doing at the time
Candlemass’s later two 80’s records are an example of how expectation can distort and alter the perception of certain works. They are both fine albums, but because this was also the band who happened to write two of the best albums of all time right before (forget genre for a second), they both tend to be dismissed because they happened to be ever-so-slightly flawed by comparison. Which is a perverse reinforce of the band’s greatness at their peak, in a sense – a friend of mine recently put it that even the two “weaker” Candlemass albums would still make them one of the best doom metal bands of all time.
Ultimately, the greatest NWOBHM album of the movement always deserves to be noted, and as far as I’m concerned, that album is Court in the Act.
In that light, Crush the Insects is a surprising follow up to the debut because it takes several VERY different tacks on the band’s patented take on the genre: namely, it bothered being accessible in a way their other full lengths really aren’t. Whereas that first album was innately gripping, by virtue of its riffs and the way the band painstaking arranged/structured the way each passage glacially flowing into one another in lieu of conventional hooks, Crush… was very clearly an attempt at crafting a more traditionally memorable record than its predecessor ever attempted. It’s the closest thing to a “fun” album the band ever crafted; the band themselves even cheekily pointed it out with a sticker on the original CD issue of the album as “The Biggest Sell-out in True Doom”. Go figure.
The Warning represents the height of Queensryche’s career.
There aren’t a ton of doom metal bands more revered than Saint Vitus, and it is for good reason. Of Black Sabbath’s disciples in the 80’s, they are perhaps the most honest and soulful of the bunch, if not exactly a 1:1 copy of the original masters. Rather, what Vitus did is that they applied the atonality, loose song structure, and just pure griminess of American punk to the emerging doom metal format at a time in the 80’s when the early bands were forging their own styles and defining the subgenre on their own terms.
People like to point the finger at Candlemass as being the originator of the idea of epic doom metal as being “slowed down power metal”. This isn’t entirely unfair since, y’know… they were the band who got the band rolling on the subgenre to start with. That being said, I’d argue that it’s more generally applicable to Solitude Aeturnus a bit more than the Swedish band.