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.
Having formed upon the date of the Summer Solstice in 1990, there is effectively one real constant with this band regardless of all the turnover that happens within their ranks. That is, Rich Walker, the guitarist and main songwriter of the band, unflinchingly delivers great metal pretty much every time the band puts music out, no matter how sporadic. It doesn’t matter if you pick any of the other full lengths or even the EPs – both Halcyon and Death’s Crown is Victory would be the highlight of a lot of other band’s careers. Still though, New Dark Age has always been the top of the heap, and for my part one of my favorite doom metal albums in general.
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.
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
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.
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.