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.
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.
Color the decade starting in 2020 as looking to be a stellar one for doom with women at the mic. Solstice has Hilda Thorne out front now, Stygian Crown just released a monster debut album, and for this review we have King Witch’s second album Body of Light.
Just two years ago Stygian Crown released their impressive demo and now they’ve released their debut album and they’re already being enlisted for international festivals! This relative success isn’t for nothing. Although it’s still early to tell, it’s pretty clear that Stygian Crown’s self-titled debut is something special and likely to be one of the best traditional heavy metal records of 2020 with its specific brand of crushing epic doom reminiscent of Solitude Aeturnus and Capilla Ardiente. We caught up with Rhett A. Davis for an interview that you can read below!