It’s difficult to innovate and sound unique in the world of traditional heavy metal. This is especially true in the very small, niche genre of epic doom metal, which was both established and perfected in one fell swoop with Candlemass’s Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. While Heaven Wept are a band that managed to do exactly this.
Wino brought a sense of despair that feels more working class-adjacent than anything else. The kind where you work a shitty job that barely pays enough to live on and not enough to meaningfully save up for anything. You get drunk night in and night out on shitty cheap beer (and if you’re lucky, maybe some whiskey) to numb the sense of smoldering rage deep down in the pit of your stomach. There’s a sense of passive-aggressive, languid hopelessness around the Wino albums.
Track premiere from Old Mother Hell’s upcoming album Lord of Demise! This German trio play a fantastic blend of heavy and doom metal.
Being a doom metal fanatic my taste for the heavy and doomy but definitely metallic has significant elasticity. I enjoy doom metal that more discerning ears might not have the time nor inclination for. I’ll leave the lower end of my listening spectrum out of my writing but over the years the shear amount of doom I’ve leant an ear to is significant. Amidst the boulders, forests, and rubble of that mountain of doom there are some quality bands that seem to have gotten lost and left off the radar of most doom fans. These are not the very top shelf, the legends of the genre, but they are really good and considerably enjoyable. It is this article’s intent to get a few more doom fans to discover them.
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.
Musically, Moontowers straddle the line between 80s traditional metal like Manowar (Sign of the Hammer) and epic doom ala Candlemass or Solitude Aeternus.
After over a decade of activity, Ysengrin, the project directed by Guido Saint Roch, released their final album: Initiato. The musical trajectory of the band was always very interesting and it is therefore fitting to end the life of this musical project by an even more curious final album. The main constant of Ysengrin’s career is the aim to create a music that sounds obscure, even a bit mystical, by the means of mid-tempo blend of black and death metal.
Not much is known about Hungary’s Devil Seed, even as of writing this article their self-titled debut album has not received much attention with no related or past projects to speak of. All we have to go off of is the band name presumably being a reference to the song off of Candlemass’s King of the Grey Islands. Lucky for us, as far as hints go, that’s a pretty good one. Marrying the synth-rich riffy atmosphere of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus with powerful, front-and-center vocals reminiscent of Solitude Aeturnus, Devil Seed’s self-titled debut album presents an unexpected and incredibly welcome slab of epic doom firmly rooted in the classics of the genre.
To me traditional doom metal has always been a genre of imperfection – it is in this imperfection and passion where thunderous doom riffs, enveloping atmosphere, and passionate yet often flawed vocals coalesce to some of the best metal out there. With their full-length debut, Purification is perfectly emblematic of this quality.
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.