10. Krallice – Years Past Matter
Kicking off the Top 10 is avant-black metal supergroup Krallice. These guys make some of the most brain-bending black metal the US scene has to offer, riddled with wicked harmonies, syncopated riffs, ever changing drumbeats, and tons more. Most of the time, nobody in the band is playing the same thing, always playing different chord progressions or contrasting riffs, making the moments when they do coalesce quite a mesmerizing and euphoric experience. Every riff and chord progression these guys run through always sounds wicked and dissonant and sit on each idea for a while, which sounds like it could get boring but the drummer is changing up the beat every few measures and keeps things interesting and invigorating the whole time. And the vocalists sound badass as usual, just adding another layer of awesome qualities to this band. All the actual songs on the record average to at least 10 minutes long, and each song goes through tons of ideas, all fusing black metal and progressive rock to create really interesting sounds. If you’re looking for some game changing black metal that’s as evil and brutal as it is progressive and mind-melting, check this out.
9. Royal Thunder – CVI
Royal Thunder aren’t your average “female fronted” metal group. First off, it’s kind of hard to call ‘em metal at times, because they really lean more towards the hard rock side of things with elements of doom. But it’s also because the fact that they have a female vocalist isn’t the only thing that sets them apart from most other doom metal/rock bands coming along these days. There’s a super heavy rock ‘n’ roll, blues influence all over the record. It’s really obvious on tracks with tracks like No Good. The album is also full of really longwinded songs that take lots of time to build up and turn into really spacey, doomy, and heavy songs full of different spices and flavors, all feeling retro and modern at the same time. Most of the tracks are on the slower side, more focused on creating and eerie atmosphere while simultaneously rockin’ down the house. Every musician on the record also shows their chops on the album aside from being awesome songwriters. You got awesome riffs and guitar licks all across the board, grooving and interesting bass lines, lots of diversity in the drums and Mlny Parsonz’ voice is truly a thing of wonder. Royal Thunder make some of the best rock music around by fusing together eerie blues, melancholic doom metal, and high energy rock ‘n’ roll and NWOBHM.
South of Somewhere
8. Rush – Clockwork Angels
Rush need no introduction. Their 19th (!) full length, Clockwork Angels, has been a long time commin’ and was worth the wait. Back in 2010, they dropped a single featuring the first two songs, Caravan and BU2B, which they played on their infamous Time Machine tour that spanned two years. Those two tracks saw Rush getting even heavier than before. It was no unlike their mid 70s material, in that it was heavy and rockin’, but wasn’t quite as experimental as we’ve seen Rush get. But the rest of the album shows their progressive tendencies and new sounds. There are definitely elements of Middle Eastern music in a few of these tracks, which is a refreshing sound. On top of that, there is also a good use of strings on the album, mostly on the slower/ballad like tracks, but they always sound good and add to the music. And with all of that, the band still sounds awesome. Geddy’s voice sounds awesome considering his age, and the whole band is completely on top of it. The album is full of awesome riffs, great guitar solos, bombastic bass lines, and some of Neil’s best drumming to date. The album is made of 12 great songs, most over 5 minutes, so you get over an hour of Rush’s heaviest material to date. After 40 years, these guys are still proving they’re the best in the prog rock game.
7. Pallbearer – Sorrow and Extinction
Pallbearer are quite an amazing band. They write very powerful doom metal that sounds like was shipped in from the UK, but the band hails from Little Rock, Arkansas. The band sounds very familiar to Warning and Candlemass, while maintaining to have their own sound. For one, the singer on the album sounds amazing. Like many others, I’ll liken him to Ozzy and Geddy Lee. His voice sounds like it came from the 70’s and quite versatile. All at once, it knocks you to your knees then picks you right back up, just when you thought all hope was lost. It fits well with the music the rest of the band creates that has the same knock-you-down/pick-you-up tendencies. Most every song starts out with crushing, heavy-as-all-hell riffs that grip you by the collar to call your attention. But it’s never overwhelmingly melancholic/depressive, so they never knock you down hard enough to make the uplifting sections all that much more noticeable. The way they simultaneously have both atmospheres happening in these songs is really something unlike I’ve heard. Listen to this for some of the best doom you’ve heard in a while.
6. Ahab – The Giant
Ahab continue to show their dominance over the funeral doom scene with their heavy-hitting album, The Giant. Ahab are notorious for their ever so slow and brutal riffs that wail (tee-hee) and weep relentlessly for long periods of time, consuming you into the deep abyss of the wretched sea. This time around, there they combine their funeral doom with hints of post-rock and more clean vocals then ever before. This really only adds to the music in a positive manner. The clean vocals add another layer of to the tortured and bleak atmosphere of the music and the post-rock elements aid the band in fleshing out the riffs and themes of each track to make them even larger and grander than before. Each song shows great songwriting and musicianship, from the awesome leads, to the layered riffs, great singing and death growls and pronounced bass in the mix. This album only proves that Ahab are a force to be reckoned with and have far greater things to come. Check this out for some phenomenal funeral doom.