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Old 05-23-2012, 07:23 PM
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The Forty Essential DOOM Albums

it has begun....
The list will include nothing but doom all forms of it. just because this board needs more of it.

I will finish the entire list tonight. i know im notorious for not finsihing these things.

Last edited by hb420; 05-23-2012 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:27 PM
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:38 PM
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Did I piss you off manks? lol Sorry if I did. Didn't mean too. You were hoping I finished one of the other two lists?
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hb420 View Post
it has begun....
The list will include nothing but doom all forms of it. just because this board needs more of it.

I will finish the entire list tonight. i know im notorious for not finsihing these things.
Very curious to see this list.


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Old 05-23-2012, 08:49 PM
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Did I piss you off manks? lol Sorry if I did. Didn't mean too. You were hoping I finished one of the other two lists?
Bouville was a huge doom fan, therefore our doom smilie is named after him.


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Old 05-23-2012, 09:07 PM
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Ok to make it this easier I will be posting the reviews from Allmusic when possible to make it easier on me. If they don't have one on a specific release. I will say and then write my own thing.


40. Trouble - Manic Frustration (1991)
(Def Jam)
After ten years of hard work in the face of adversity, doom metal kings Trouble had seen it all, and after making an incredible comeback with their self-titled fourth album in 1990, the band once again teamed up with producer (and label boss) Rick Rubin for 1992's appropriately titled Manic Frustration. On this occasion, the Chicago-based quintet finally decided to take a chance on expanding its puritanical doom outlook, and infused the album with additional retro-rock inspirations such as acid rock, psychedelia, and Beatlesque variety, resulting in the band's most unique and user-friendly work. From the very get-go, the Hendrix-ian "Come Touch the Sky" literally burst off into the lysergic stratosphere and the mock apology of "'Scuse Me" vented years and years of living-out-of-time frustration in under three minutes, while the hallucinogenic likes of "Rain" and "Mr. White" seemed to represent the polar emotional opposites of the hippie generation's naďve idealism (the first was Woodstock, the second Altamont). Less adventurous, riff-based creations like "The Sleeper," "Tragedy Man," and the title track afforded old-time fans a few opportunities to reconnect with Trouble's Sabbath-derived origins, but Manic Frustration's defining triumphs were undoubtedly those that dared mesh together all elements of Trouble's expanded musical kaleidoscope. And so, one is inevitably drawn to the sheer guitar-shredding fantasy and frenzy of "Hello Strawberry Skies," the unsettling comedown and blissful return provided by the gentle "Breathe...," and the staggering majesty of "Memory's Garden" (all highlights of Trouble's career), where singer Eric Wagner's mournful bray spins a tale of loss, faith, and hope of simply chilling proportions. Sadly, none of these were capable of stopping Manic Frustration's title from ringing horribly prophetic after its release, when Trouble once again faced the mixed blessings of widespread critical acclaim but no significant album sales beyond the underground heavy metal faithful.

The Sleeper


39. Krux - Krux (2002)
(Mascot Records)
Just why bassist Leif Edling felt the need to form yet another doom metal band besides his main concern, legendary doomsters Candlemass, is anyone's guess. But classic doom is what Sweden's Krux are all about, and except for the different personnel involved, their eponymous debut could almost pose as a Candlemass record, if truth be told. Dominated as it is by the same manner of oversized riffs, detuned guitars, and unhurried rhythms, beautifully melancholic songs like "Krux" and "Omfalos" owe much of their distinctive tones to the commanding voice of one-time Yngwie Malmsteen band singer Mats Levén. Outstanding opener "Black Room," for example, might have struck too close to home in that regard, only thanks to Levén's contribution, it sounds less like Candlemass than the apex of Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath. Prime instigator and songwriter Edling is in fine form as always, coming forward to sing on the sparse interlude "Sibiria" before unleashing waves of distorted bass effects on the spacy "Evel Rifaz." Freed from his bass-playing gig with Entombed, Jörgen Sandström takes full advantage of his opportunity to peel off one bludgeoning power chord after another; and guest soloists Nicko Elgstrand (Terra Firma) and Fredrik Akesson (Talisman) also take turns playing guitar hero, proffering stinging leads to such head-banging anthems as "Nimis" and "Enigma EZB," respectively. Meanwhile, Carl Westholm also pitches in with judicious doses of synthesizers, occasionally brought to the fore, but mostly used for accenting purposes. Krux finally veer slightly from their trad-doom formula on the multipart, 12-minute "Lunochod" -- whereupon trippy bleeps and squawks see them embarking on sonic traipses through the cosmos. This slight departure notwithstanding, Krux is a doom metal record through and through, and especially ideal for Candlemass fans.

Omfalos (Live)


38. Place of Skulls - With Vision (2003)
(Southern Lord Records)
For a band that reached its creative peak in the early '70s, Black Sabbath has certainly had a long-lasting impact on heavy metal. Their riffs have influenced just about every stoner rock combo of the '90s and 2000s, and Sabbath is the band of choice for people in the doom metal field. Although Place of Skulls was formed in 2000, their approach owes a considerable debt to Sabbath's trailblazing work with Ozzy Osbourne -- there isn't a riff on With Vision, Skulls' second album, that isn't Sabbath-minded. Of course, the Sabbath influence that permeates this 2003 release isn't surprising when one considers what bands Skulls' members once belonged to. Guitarist/singer Victor Griffin (Skulls' founder) is an ex-member of Pentagram and Deathrow, while guitarist/singer Scott "Wino" Wienrich's credits include Spirit Caravan, the Obsessed, and Saint Vitus, in other words, Griffin and Wienrich both have a long history of belonging to Sabbath-influenced bands. And because Place of Skulls are as Sabbath-minded as they are, this CD will be classified as doom metal or stoner rock; however, it's important to note that Skulls isn't nearly as extreme as some of the bands that are considered doom metal. Compared to the noisy, brutally dissonant Grief (a great underground doom band that enjoyed a small cult following), With Vision is quite musical and melodic. This CD is heavy, but not in a ferocious, bruising, sledgehammer-to-the-cranium way; Place of Skulls caters to those who like their metal with a lot of melody. While With Vision is hardly the most original or groundbreaking metal disc of 2003, the material is generally well written and well executed; Place of Skulls definitely deserves some credit for craftsmanship. All things considered, With Vision is a decent and respectable, if derivative, outing for Griffin and his headbanging colleagues.

Long Lost Grave


37. Acid King - Bosse Woods (1999)
(Man's Ruin Records)
Black Sabbath was a major influence on a lot of the bands who recorded for Man's Ruin in the late '90s, and Acid King certainly doesn't escape the influence of early Sabbath on Busse Woods. This isn't to say that Acid King is a Sabbath clone -- far from it. True, Lori S.' singing owes a debt to Ozzy Osbourne, and her slow, forceful, brutal guitar riffs recall Tony Iommi's contributions to Sabbath. But the Bay Area band's heavy metal/stoner rock tends to communicate a looser, more jam-minded outlook than the music of Sabbath, and there are other direct or indirect influences one could cite as well, such as Robin Trower, Jimi Hendrix, and Hawkwind. Sabbath tends to get right to the point, whereas Lori S. enjoys stretching out when it's appropriate. Even though Acid King's brand of metal has often been described as stoner rock, one needn't be a stoner or use drugs to appreciate such metallic grooves as "39 Lashes," "Drive Fast, Take Chances," and "Electric Machine." Even if you consider yourself a teetotaler, Busse Woods is an exhilarating dose of metal.

Silent Circle


36. Evoken - Embrace The Emptiness (1998)
(Elegy Records)
New Jersey's homegrown funeral doom institution, Evoken, refused to play it safe with their 1998 debut full-length, Embrace the Emptiness, which took long strides (with looooong songs, of course) beyond their nascent genre's barely established fundamentals, and successfully eclipsed the comparative immaturity displayed by 1996's Shades of Night Descending EP. So, in addition to slumbering tempos underpinned by reverberating drums, evanescent synth orchestrations haunting thundering guitars, and booming growls hurled straight from the deepest, foulest crypt, album standouts like "Tragedy Eternal," "Chime the Centuries End," and "Ascend into the Maelstrom" also boasted a few rather "energetic" passages and tormented clean baritones mixed in by frontman John Paradiso. Another absolute colossus, the self-explanatory "Lost Kingdom of Darkness," even made room for some tinkling piano in its successful bid to depict endless caverns snuffed by impenetrable, everlasting darkness -- a fitting summation, come to think of it, for Evoken's entire aesthetic vision, of which Embrace the Emptiness arguably represented the first fully fleshed chapter.

Lost Kingdom of Darkness


35. Middian - Age Eternal (2007)
(Metal Blade Records)
It was a sad day for doom metal when YOB broke up in 2005. But thankfully, that was the not the end of YOB leader Mike Scheidt's involvement with doom metal. The guitarist/singer wasted no time assembling a new band: Middian, whose debut album, Age Eternal, isn't a big departure from YOB's work. Like YOB, this trio (which also includes bassist/singer Will Lindsay and drummer Scott Headrick) operates on the sludgy, Black Sabbath-influenced side of metal (as opposed to the more gothic side of doom epitomized by Paradise Lost and Anathema), and Middian is also a band that loves to stretch out. Age Eternal only has five tracks, which may lead some to assume that it is an EP. But this 57-minute CD is no EP; some of those five tracks last 11, 14 or 15 minutes -- and that penchant for extended numbers is certainly very YOB-ish. Despite being similar to YOB, Middian is not a carbon copy of Scheidt's former band; Middian offer more fast tempos, and their performances are somewhat heavier and have more of a psychedelic edge. Nonetheless, Age Eternal will not come as a major shock to those who are familiar with Scheidt's YOB days. Like YOB's albums, this 2006 recording is not for those with short attention spans; this is complex doom that has a lot of interesting twists and turns and never adheres to a standard verse/chorus/verse/chorus format. But those who were YOB admirers will be happy to know that Scheidt is still providing quality doom metal.

Dreamless Eye


34. Goatsnake - Flower of Disease (2000)
(Southern Lord Records)
With Flowers of Disease, Goatsnake delivers its trademark slick, thick, and smooth guitar tones ŕ la Kyuss meets Black Sabbath, way-low dropped tunings, heavy drumming, solid production values, and some pretty weird instrument appearances. These guys have been around the proverbial doom metal block, and it shows. Pete Stahl gives a vocal performance that is unique, melodic and dynamic in range, lending a classic doom sound that's an increasingly untypical and refreshing vocal approach in today's black-, death-, and grindcore-influenced doom metal scene. The slow- to mid-paced grooves are all the Sabbath-inspired heaviness you could hope for, but much of the album comes off like a wasted summer evening from your best memories. "Easy Greasy" has Stahl singing "Fellout and tore up/With my friends and their freaks/We laugh and lie so high it's sweet." Not only that, but the mouth harp thing, along with the slow, heavy groove, gives off this "down by the river, takin' it easy" feeling. This is a doom record though, and aside from the fact that there's plenty of mellow "let it go" attitude here, the title track is the most morose. "Flower of Disease" conjures suicidal thoughts with the lyrics "I touch these walls of this place I know/Death is standing right outside the door/I smile inside to hide the cries/The pain just loves to multiply." An enjoyable listen, this album is a perfect marriage of modern production techniques, excellent riffing, melodic classic doom, and grooving ambience.

The Dealer


33. My Dying Bride - The Angel and The Dark River (1995)
(Peaceville Records)
Rarely does one individual sound so perfectly exemplify the mood of a record like the groaning, distant foghorn on My Dying Bride's third full-length, Angel and the Dark River. This English five-piece pens such bleak, soul-crushing tunes that its use of a lone foghorn to conclude agonizing opening cut "The Cry of Mankind" is strikingly appropriate (and most likely self-indulgent in the hands of a less convincing outfit). At no other time in its long and creatively prosperous career has My Dying Bride been so suicidally self-absorbed, evident by vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe's use of a clean, despairing, and melodic moan throughout, having ditched the death growl of earlier releases; in fact, the rest of the band followed suit, setting aside any death metal influences, carefully using violins and keyboards to enhance the group's brooding excursions, and managing to not sound gimmicky in the process. Generally, the arrangements stretch out over long, progressive, and swampy plains of powerfully droning, yet still memorable, guitar riffs, patiently rumbling drums, and Stainthorpe's vague and ghastly lyrical drippings, presumably painfully squeezed out of his own slit wrists. Not unexpectedly, songs take their sweet time getting their point across, clocking in between seven and 12 minutes, standouts being "From Darkest Skies," "Black Voyage," and "Your Shameful Heaven," the latter of which actually picks up the tempo beyond a snail's slime-trail-oozing pace, but with the same destination in mind: Pure, utter, unrelenting depression. Most likely, few will appreciate the tortured, pitch-black majesty of My Dying Bride, the band being the withered and shriveled trail's-end of fauna-wilting gothic doom metal, but MDB devotees should agree that Angel and the Dark River is its most effectively poisonous slab of internalized, navel-gazing horror. Other albums in the MDB catalog are more concise (Like Gods of the Sun), experimental (34.788%...Complete), and brutal (Turn Loose the Swans), but Angel and the Dark River stands alone in the center of a misty sea of tears, dolefully bleating its foghorn into the unforgiving wind.

A Sea To Suffer In


32. Warhorse - As Heavens Turn To Ash (2001)
(Southern Lord Records)
With this crushing full-length debut, Warhorse stake a well-deserved claim to a piece of the sprawling Black Sabbath-inspired doom metal underground. Reminiscent at times of contemporaries Goatsnake and Electric Wizard, As Heaven Turns to Ash is well-crafted start to finish, the production allowing the material to really shine. The second track, "Doom's Bride," originally recorded on a cassette deck in the band's practice space and titled "Death's Bride" on Warhorse's 1998 demo, comes off with so much power that it sounds like almost like an entirely different band. The same is true with the version of "Lysergic Communion," this album's fifth track. The astounding low end and brutal guitar tones seem to have saturated the analog tape during recording beyond levels previously thought possible, while the songs' solid structures make it an effort to keep yourself from either banging your head or killing your neighbors. The overwhelming heaviness is accentuated by fantastic and tastefully executed song dynamics, shifts in mood, volume, and tone that draw you into the recording and its tortured landscapes. Warhorse supported the release of this album by touring with doom legends Electric Wizard. This is an excellent debut.

Lysergic Communion


31. Grand Magus - Monument (2003)
(Rise Above Records)
Well, this is more like it! Swedish stoner rock trio Grand Magus did themselves few favors with their solid but unspectacular 2002 debut, which quietly sank into the general morass afflicting the doom/stoner movement at the time. And when guitarist and singer JB subsequently hooked up with Michael Amott's high-flying Spiritual Beggars, it looked as if Grand Magus were doomed (no pun intended) to vanish altogether, leaving only that one middling release to their name. However, thanks to the incredibly gregarious and liberal nature of the Swedish music scene, here they are -- unexpectedly back with a 2003 follow-up that is quite deserving of its imposing title: Monument. Howling winds and mournful guitar lines introduce album opener "Ulvaskall (Vargr)," which promptly lurches into gear on an Iommi-approved, bent-note riff and fittingly bleak words intoning "I'm damned and I'm cursed forever/Destined to walk this land," over and over again. Ensuing single (yeah right -- a "single," ha!) "Summer Solstice" steps it up a notch to take listeners chugging down the highway, and by the time Grand Magus slow it down again for the lysergic roll of "Brotherhood of Sleep" and the gargantuan doom creep of "Baptised in Fire" [sic], retro-metal fans will likely be foaming at the mouth over what they're hearing. Simply put, energetic doom doesn't get much better than this, or, for that matter, the album's frightfully heavy next offering, "Chooser of the Slain (Valfader)," which combines chiming bells, concussive power chords, and lyrics of Viking lore to thrilling and terrifying effect. And to wrap things up on a high note, the likeminded "Food of the Gods" offers a final, concise battering before the colossal denouement of ten-minute epic "Ye Who Seeks...Shall Find." Powerful, steady, unrelenting, and always f*ckin' heavy, Monument helped put the bite back into what was then a distressingly flagging strain of heavy metal.

Baptised In Fire

Last edited by hb420; 05-23-2012 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:02 PM
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30. Pagan Altar - Volume One (1982)
(Oracle Records)
Before it was dredged from out of the depths of time and obscurity for official release via the band's own website in 1998, Pagan Altar's Volume 1 had been one of the most bootlegged unreleased albums circulating within the heavy metal underground over the previous twenty-odd years. Recorded at the band's own Pagan studios in 1982, these high-quality demos were shopped to no avail for record companies of the day before landing on the bustling pre-internet, underground metal tape-trading network -- then eBay, where opportunistic bootleggers began commanding outrageous prices for them in the mid-'90s. This finally motivated long retired bandmembers to make Volume 1 available themselves, but how is it possible that such an acclaimed band -- even if it was cult acclaim -- slipped under the music industry's radar during one of the most prolific periods for signing heavy metal bands in the genre's history: the early-'80s New Wave of British Heavy Metal? Well, along with a reputation for stubbornness and doing things their own way, Pagan Altar were clearly swimming against the current of most successful N.W.O.B.H.M. bands; ignoring the innovative simplicity and accelerated pace brought on by punk rock, to carry on embracing heavy metal's earliest, largely slothful and exceedingly gothic template, as laid down by original masters Black Sabbath. Amazing as it may seem today, both qualities were radically unfashionable during the rise of Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, et al, leaving Pagan Altar's music sounding positively ancient by comparison -- even though all songs contained here had been written between 1981 and the London-based group's inception, in 1978. Gregorian chants from the same intro tape used to open Pagan Altar's highly theatrical live shows launches the band's eponymous song: a doom-laden affair marked by such recognizable Sabbath-isms as foreboding, downtuned power chords, bowel-loosening bent notes, and stunning lead work from guitarist Alan Jones topped with the curiously nasal delivery of his sibling vocalist Terry (later attributed to a bout of the flu!). The comparatively vigorous "In the Wake of Armadeus," meanwhile, splices together slightly altered versions of the riffs from "Electric Funeral" and "Black Sabbath" -- the song -- with memorable results; and the synth-introduced "Judgment of the Dead" arguably qualifies as the album's best track, with its strikingly melancholy melodies and explosive punctuations from the rhythm section of bassist Trevor Portch and drummer John Mizrahi. Along with subsequent offerings like "The Black Mass" and "Night Rider," all of the above epitomize post-acid rock '70s heavy metal at its best (i.e. -- "classic" doom), recalling the work of American also-rans Bedemon and Pentagram, while generally proving more authentic (and better executed) than the work of like-minded British contemporaries Witchfinder General. Only as the end draws near does the album swerve into unfamiliar territory, via Alan Jones' acoustic guitar solo piece, "Cry of the Banshee," before segueing back to habitual sounds for the thundering stomp of eight-minute closer "Reincarnation," which duly reopens the gates of Hell for a relatively up-tempo, but still typically heavy descent through all nine circles. With that, Volume 1 runs its course, and while its D.I.Y. production and old-fashioned metal aesthetic certainly explain why Pagan Altar were overlooked by the chart-minded wardens of the music industry, the band's inspired songwriting, musicianship, and vision also justify their rise to cult status in the eyes of heavy metal fans with little care to commercial success.

Judgement of the Dead


29. Coffins - Buried Death (2008)
(20 Buck Spin)
Coffins are the type of metal band who honor their multiple inspirations to the best possible extent -- they're fully inculcated in an approach and sound, as the album and song titles make perfectly clear, not to mention the album art, but they recombine them in a way to make their own mark where possible. On their second incarnation's second album, Buried Death, the overwhelming sound from their many '80s and early-'90s forebears -- ranging from Justin Broadrick's Godflesh-era guttural grunts, definitely a holdover from the group's earlier work, to high-speed death metal -- continues the pattern started on Mortuary in Darkness. The same lineup of Uchino, You, and Koreeda is in place, and if Buried Death is an extension of the earlier album then it's a brilliantly done one, with the sheer thickness of Uchino's guitars ranking as some of the best-sounding riffs out there. It doesn't hurt, either, that You's drumming, though often high-speed enough for early Carcass (another clear model, especially in the occasional vocal exchanges between Uchino and Koreeda), actually has a full-bodied impact instead of a skittering rampage. All this is arguably the counterweight to the fact that Coffins are working clearly within a wide-ranging style rather than extending it, but this is still the best kind of tribute -- the one that leaves an individual mark. So if the tempo changes on songs like "Cadaver Blood" are familiar elements, the weird guitar effects on "The Frozen Styx" give a sense of what the band can bring to the mix in turn. A definite highlight is "Altars of Gore," with Uchino's riff being the kind of strutting kick, well matched by the rhythm section, more appropriate to Motörhead than many later bands could manage, but still with the deep vocal rumble heard throughout the album.

Altars In Gore


28. The Gates of Slumber - Conqueror (2008)
(Profound Lore/I Hate Records)
Although their moniker would suggest the ultimate doom band, Indiana's Gates of Slumber have actually never thought twice about charging down the highway at full throttle when the mood hits them, and their third album, 2008's Conqueror, sees them shifting into fifth gear even more frequently as they idle along in first. Indeed, after peeling out of the driveway via the rollicking juggernaut of "Trapped in the Web," the trio repeatedly gallops into battle (see "Children of Satan," "The Machine"), amidst some midtempo marching ("Ice Worm"), and, yes, yes, sluggish doom crawls like the title cut and "To Kill a King." But whatever tempo they choose, the Gates of Slumber almost always pay out-and-out tribute (whether intentional or accidental, remains unclear) to the Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan -- heck, any group led by the legendary Scott "Wino" Weinrich. So do countless other bands, mind you, but the Wino similarities found in the vocals and frenzied guitar solos tendered by GoS frontman Karl Simon make such comparisons inevitable -- no matter how excellent his band's songs may be, when considered in a vacuum. If anything, Wino never had the patience, through all of his many projects and years of service, to concoct a multi-part colossus on the scale of Conqueror's closing "Dark Valley Suite," which revisits all of the avenues mentioned above, and then some, thanks to the softly atmospheric centerpiece, "Call of the Black Gods." And, once again, listeners unburdened by the knowledge of the Gates of Slumber's inspirational baggage will likely find nothing but a seriously engaging traditional heavy metal album in Conqueror.

Eyes of the Liar


27. Mournful Congregation - The Monad of Creation (2005)
(Weird Truth Productions)
*My Own Summary*
Mournful Congregation, while not having the claim to the greatest funeral doom album in my eyes are definitely the most consistent band in the genre. Staring from their first record onward to this year's "The Book of Kings". The band has released four epic records of majestic and ethereal funeral doom. The clear cut winner out of the four though is their second, "The Monad of Creation". It's overflowing with melancholia and despair, desolating anything in its path. Huge glacial riffing over deep bowel releasing growls it literally downs you in a sea of pitch black darkness. The acoustic flourishes are of the highest order as well, and just make the atmosphere that more vibrant. Highly recommended, quality funeral doom that never becomes a burden even for genre beginners.

As I Drown In The Loveless Rain


26. Sunn O))) - Black One (2005)
(Southern Lord Records)
Although claiming that Black One is the darkest Sunn 0))) album yet may be a little overzealous on their label's part (unless, of course, its meant as a not-so-subtle play on most recent predecessors White1 and 2), there's certainly a good chance that it's their most diverse. Whether that's a simple case of there being more and shorter songs present (all of seven, and only shorter by these guys' standards, mind you), or an unprecedented volume of outside collaborators (mostly underground black metal buddies lending their vocals), Black One experiments with a number of new tricks to go with the by now expected ultra-droning aspects of Sunn 0)))'s sound. For example, both "Orthodox Caveman" and "Cry for the Weeper" drink from the same old, Earth-derived dead-water pool that inspired Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley to start melting their amps in tribute to begin with; while the improbably brief "It Took the Night to Believe" (featuring blood-curdling shrieks and croaks by Wrest) may well be Sunn 0)))'s most unapologetically black metal moment ever, taking a page from Burzum's bloody book with its spooky loop of buzz-picked guitar melodies to go with a reliably subterranean foundation. Keeping with the black metal mindset, the pair then proceed to deconstruct Immortal's "Cursed Realms (Of the Winterdemons)" into a barely recognizable primordial soup of tonal thrumming, before calling Xasthur's Malefic down to the basement to supply additional screams for the splendidly named "Candlegoat" and megalithic closer, "Báthory Erzsébet." (For the latter, in fact, he was supposedly locked inside a coffin, microphone and all, so as to inspire a suitably suffocating feeling of horror -- proving that extreme sounds sometimes truly do demand extreme measures.) In other words, Black One is a cautious but unquestionable departure from Sunn 0)))'s pre-established m.o., and arguably their most accessible effort to date, in the bargain. But even though there'll always be those purists looking for a bone to pick, its difficult to imagine too many original fans not embracing these still remarkably blackened sounds.

It Took The Night To Believe


25. Hour of 13 - Hour of 13 (2007)
(Shadow Kingdom Records)
Tempting as it is to label Hour of 13's eponymous debut a doom album without even a second glance, fact is it's actually a pure heavy metal album in the genre's most fundamental, unadulterated definition, formulated in the early '70s by Black Sabbath. And even though this essentially rules out the possibility of true musical innovation, Hour of 13's sheer mastery of the style's every last aesthetic nook and cranny -- from the devilishly occult lyrics and bare-bones production to the simultaneously simple yet towering power chords from which everything derives -- easily transcends mere imitation, and ultimately reminds us that all subsequent metallic subgenres are ultimately dilutions, for better or worse, of the original, flawless monolith. The proof is in the riffing, as they say, thanks to the improbably fresh-sounding sequences conjured by lead visionary Chad Davis, who handles all instruments (save for the odd solo played by album engineer Corey Leonard) on sinister offerings like "Call to Satan," "Submissive to Evil," "Hex Harm," and "Missing Girl." Yes, ultra-specialized heavy metal historians will of course recognize occasional scattered touchstones like Pentagram ("Endurement to the Heirs of Shame"), Pagan Altar ("Grim Reality"), and even Budgie ("Allowance of Sin"); but, if not for vocalist Phil Swanson's warbling delivery and recurring Satanic invocations (which invariably smack of Ozzy Osbourne, more often than not), even Sabbath's irrefutable influence affects the template more so than the duo's songwriting imagination. And for those incapable of buying that last sales pitch -- check out the exceptionally forceful opening riff of "The Correlation," which hasn't an ounce of doom about it as it chugs along to the snappier tempos of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, or even -- dare we say it -- American '80s metal! The point being that Hour of 13 are anything but a surprise-free nostalgia act, but rather proud carriers of heavy metal's timeless flame, from the past into the distant future.

Allowance of Sin


24. Spirit Caravan - Jug Fulla Sun (1999)
(Tolotta Records)
Jug Fulla Sun, Spirit Caravan's debut, follows a sonic continuum that began in the late '70s when Scott "Wino" Weinrich emerged from the outskirts of Washington, D.C., with the Obsessed, his stripped-down hybrid of biker rock and metal. That outfit made tremendous strides in bridging the gap between the long-haired metal contingent and the still developing, though already rabid, D.C. hardcore scene. Jug Fulla Sun shows Wino augmenting his trademark brand of doom-laden guitar work and slow-fuse vocal ferocity with greater lyrical depth and overall textural breadth. The songs are rich, refined, articulate, and created by a lifer, a true veteran of the hard music scene. Wino has obviously gone to great lengths here to subordinate his outlaw vision to a more expansive, comprehensive view of mankind, and of greater truths. The somewhat nebulous scope of his lyrics is enhanced by Lungfish vocalist/tattoo artist Dan Higgs' cryptic cover painting. An excellent album.

Fear's Machine


23. Ahab - The Call of the Wretched Sea (2006)
(Napalm Records)
With their ambitious debut album, 2006's The Call of the Wretched Sea, Germany's tellingly named Ahab embark on a treacherous voyage to reinterpret Herman Melville's immortal whaling adventure, Moby Dick, through the suitably equivalent sonic leviathan of funereal doom metal -- or, as they are eager to dub it themselves: "Nautik Funeral Doom." Of course one need only look back a couple of years to find Mastodon's more oblique treatise on the very same literary subject, via their own Leviathan album; but what Ahab lacks in outright originality, they handily make up for with The Call of the Wretched Sea's meticulously assembled husks of words and music (plus, in terms of pure heaviness, this leviathan makes Mastodon's sound as light as a sparrow!). The titanic tandem of "Below the Sun" and "The Pacific" steers listeners away from port, and casts them directly down into the darkest ocean abyss with slothful, somber synthesizer melodies, cataclysmic downtuned guitar waves, and echoing percussive thunders. These provide a formidable frame for lyrics frequently adapted directly from Melville's writings and delivered in an impossibly deep, guttural vocal style that sounds as though it was performed by Moby Dick himself -- har-har! But it's surprisingly clean-droned baritones substituting these rumblings on "Old Thunder," which features an unusually uplifting, orchestrated central portion, bridged by an atmospheric interlude called "Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales" to yet another colossal epic in "The Sermon," itself boasting a shimmering central passage of near-silent melodic ripples that temporarily interrupt the album's prevalent, monolithic guitar grinds. The Call of the Wretched Sea subsequently achieves a dual climax via "The Hunt" and "Ahab's Oath," both of which are marked by keening, rather infectious melodies, but which still leave the listener feeling as if crushed under the pressure untold fathoms. What's more, their words reveal that Ahab's musical retelling of Moby Dick is only just begun here, with a lot more story from the novel's original argument yet to be set to music on ensuing albums. If and when that comes to pass, Ahab will have their work cut out for them, because The Call of the Wretched Sea has set the funereal doom bar especially high -- or low, as it were.

Old Thunder


22. Warning - Watching From A Distance (2006)
(The Miskatonic Foundation)
*My Own Summary*
An amazing traditional doom album filled to brim with melancholia and somberness. This is the closest album I've seen that has come to a funeral doom-ish atmosphere without the chocking despair if that makes any sense.

Footprints


21. Solitude Aeturnus - Beyond The Crimson Horror (1992)
(Roadrunner Records)
Solitude Aeturnus obviously saw no reason to alter their favored formula for Euro-inspired doom (featuring frequent flirtations with both thrash and power metal) when the time came to record their sophomore album, Beyond the Crimson Horizon, in 1992. Having been previously introduced by the group's excellent debut, Into the Depths of Sorrow, said formula had immediately saddled them with the not altogether fair reputation of being America's answer to Candlemass, so there was little they could do about that. But there was definitely room for improvement where this second album's production standards were concerned, and so Beyond the Crimson Horizon's first noteworthy -- and quite possibly lasting -- impression was infusing a punchier mix, and crunchier metallic thump into new numbers like "Black Castle," "The Final Sin," and closing instrumental "Beyond..." -- all of which also revealed some welcome self-editing, as compared to that first album's lengthy excursions. Unfortunately, with the exception of primary highlights like the uncommonly energetic "It Came Upon the Night" and the uncharacteristically mellow "Beneath the Fading Sun," Beyond the Crimson Horizon simply lack as many compelling riffs, overall, as its predecessor. And vocalist Robert Lowe's more prominently mixed banshee vocals actually come off way too over the top, even recalling Fates Warning screamer John Arch at times, with their less disciplined exertions. Indeed, Lowe's only major attempts at showing restraint come during the moody introductions to impressive opener "Seeds of the Desolate" and the aforementioned "Beneath the Fading Sun," proving that more isn't always necessarily better -- even in the realm of heavy metal. And despite a strong showing by most any definition of American doom of the time, Beyond the Crimson Horizon arguably falls just shy of the band's first outing, in the balance of things, making it a recommended, though not utterly essential purchase.

It Came Upon One Night

Last edited by hb420; 05-24-2012 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:06 AM
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I came here looking for traditional doom, but I all got was ashes & dust.
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetalIsArt View Post
I came here looking for traditional doom, but I all got was ashes & dust.
I think so far this first half is pretty evenly split between genres. Trad Doom, Funeral Doom, Stoner Doom, Drone Doom, Death/Doom, Gothic Doom.

Anybody else got any comments? Well I guess Ill finish the second half tomorrow. Haha sorry I under estimated how daunting doing this in one go would be.
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:13 AM
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