Tuesday, December 13, 2016
the Top 10 Doom Albums of 2016
This was a rough year for the genre and the universe, by the end of it I need more gut wrenching than I got but these are the best of the bunch I did get. There are many shades of doom here, a sense of loss and mourning is what I need from doom, more darkness than death metal so that is reflected here.If you want to hear these guys you can find something to listen to via the review links included in our countdown of 2016's best doom albums.
10- Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard- "Y Proffwydd Dwyll"-
This band's name is almost too over the the top for me to take them seriously, but you don't have to get more than half way into the first song before it is hard to deny them. Hailing from Wales these kids have only been at it for a couple of years making this their second album. The guitar sound is big and dense like sludge , but they have enough somber atmosphere to qualify as doom. The croon of the female vocals is not what you would think to pair with the music churning under their melodies.Jessica Bell's voice sets this band apart in a way that leaves the bulk of their more burly barking counterparts in the dust. http://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2016/12/catching-up-with-2016-mammoth-weed.html
9-Swamp Witch- "the Withering Bog"
The hunger for new doom awoke in time for me to dip into the new album from Oakland's Swamp Witch. The vocals are a low death metal growl, but everything else paints the perfect picture of doom. From the first song I was delighted to hear that the album cover perfectly matched the murky darkness being dragged from these sonic waters. http://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2016/07/swamp-witch-slithering-bog.html
8-the Howling Void- "the Triumph of Ruin"
The album cover doesn't lie. What is inside sounds just like the images appearing on the 5th full length from this one man project out of Texas. The album opens with a weird mix of tremolo picked guitar running over a track that is otherwise doom paced to create a unique dynamic tension. The vocals are sung , but low in the mix and used more as a passing texture. This is a beautiful album, it walks the line between black metal and doom, with the doom side winning out so if you are a fan of either genre then this is worth a listen. A word of warning to those who prefer the harsher side of either genre , this album really cares about it's lushness. http://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-howling-void-triumph-of-ruin.html
An album that defied the boundaries of my favorite sub-genre, but are undertaken so masterfully it's hard to complain. Where 2013's "Tempest" had a more mournful elegance the new slab of density from this band finds a more aggressive and raw rumble.The drums give them the thundering opener "Solar Chamber" more propulsion than the band found on the entire last album, just in the first nine minutes. Some of the shift in sonics are due to a line up changes with bassist Brett Tardiff and guitarist Dylan Burton joining the band.< http://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2016/01/lycus-chasms.html
6- Naga- "Inanimate"
The third album from this Italian trio opens up with a throb showing that it's possible to still be a doom band and not have to crawl along, it's about as fast as a band wants to be without crossing over into sludge. Very hateful mood carries a darker attitude than many black metal band who lose the mood because they are so preoccupied with blast beats. It's what I want out of bands that go in this direction. Dark as it is dense and not so rough around the edges that it loses it's ambiance and kills the mood. If you like doom with teeth and devoid of Black Sabbath worship these guys got ya.
4-Heavydeath-"In Circles We Die" there is a raw Celtic Frost like vibe to the brand of deathly doom this Swedish band has returned to grind out. Very rough around the edges, there is still a well balanced sense of atmosphere even when they chug into the more sludge like "Slumbering Monolith" though I prefer what they were doing on the albums opener. The growls are low and gurgling though still deliver the lyrics in a way that can be understood in one listen.Overall the production on this album is a notch above their previous full length. They incorporate a wide range of guitar tones and atmospheric sounds making for a more well rounded experience
3-Obed Marsh-"Innsmouth" With nasty rasped vocals this sludged dipped doom band delves into Lovecraft. It sounds like their singer is being turned into an aspect of Dagon as he croaks his guts out. It's the gloomy lethargy the opening song is paced with that solidifies this as doom in my book.Going into this know that for the duration you are in for crushing doom with the filth of death metal coating it. These guys should get props for having some of the wickedest growls set to record this year. Normally after a few songs growling can get old for me if it is not varied yet here it works. http://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2016/08/obed-marsh-innsmouth.html
2-Beastmaker - "Lusus Naturae" While this band from California indulges in Sabbath worshiping lumber of your more mainstream doom, the manage to have a sound that sets themselves apart from their peers. It's by the third song "Arachne" the vocals are beginning to sound like Acid Bath era Dax Rigg's drugged out baritone that this is most evident. This is fine with me as I prefer this to some one doing a half ass Ozzy impersonation.The bands strengths lie in not playing by the doom rule book and dipping into this darker sound.Still fans of more traditional forms of doom will find lots to love about this album.
1- Khemmis - "Hunted"
At times more NWOBHM than doom and "3 Gates" starts off to uptempo to be doom at all, but in the end it got the most play time and had enough melancholy to qualify as doom, after all Black Sabbath albums didn't always crawl all the way to the finish line so something can be said for the dynamics.This one earned it space at the top not because it was the most dismal, but because I listened to it the most, which at the end of the day is what matters.