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Doom in Metal

Doom in Metal
October 18, 2010, 02:25:04 PM
This topic concerns all manifestations of Doom in Metal music, not just the Doom Metal style. Well aware of the not-so-keen-on stance of the DLA and the similar attitude on this forum, I'll try to state the reasons of my affinity for this type of expression.

After the initial trip from the obligatory Iron Maiden to the infantile worship of Deicide, I bought Cathedral's "Forest Of Equilibrium", Winter's "Into darkness" and Saint Vitus' "Hallow's Victim". These were the first metal records that got me into serious contemplation. Being 14-year-old and constantly exposed to these albums, my metal taste developed according to the featured riffs, structures and lyrics. Considering myself a Doom Neophyte, I was heading for a big disappointment.

The times brought to popularity such acts as My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, November's Doom, Anathema and other goth hybrids of Death and Doom. While "Turn Loose The Swans" held my attention for a short while (but never came back), all other bands appeared both disgusting and boring. In the meantime, providence brought me "In The Nightside Eclipse" and "Burzum/Aske", so Doom Metal went down the ladder. The primary influences never stopped to utilize their power over me, which manifested in reverence of "Panzerfaust".

Never stopped investigating Doom albums, though. Following a list from the "Forest Of Equilibrium" booklet, I discovered Trouble, Solitude Aeternus and other originators of the genre. Unlike (early) Cathedral and Winter, these bands do not fit the extreme metal label (which doesn't concern me by itself), but they also mostly fail to deliver the essence when compared to Saint Vitus.

Modern cartoonish quasi-traditionalists manage to capture this essence with more (Reverend Bizarre) or less (Electric Wizard) success, although never providing a possibility of a complete immersion in an album without a decent dose of skepticism. Most of the new albums are too slow and boring, so the patience and time spent won't be rewarded, even if they possess some essence of Doom. The true reward seems to be hidden in the doomy passages of Death and Black Metal.

What do I mean by this essence? Many will consider any slow, sabbathesque or stoner riff Doom, but I couldn't agree. The main characteristic of Doom Riff are the "wrong sounding" half-tones introduced to a heavy metal harmony (be it a Sabbath or Celtic Frost riff). It's similar to (and probably inspired by) the discomforting and disharmonious electronic "melodies" frequently used in old horror movies to accompany scenes of death. While Death Metal also uses this technique, it's mostly in the doomier parts of the song, while the aggressive riffs utilize a different chromatic aberration.

The usual complaint about Doom concerns melancholy and resignation it brings. For me, the slowness and negative melodies are reflections on climbing and fighting the all-encompassing and merciless force of gravity. On the other side, I can easily recognize resignation in submitting to the inertia of ultra-fast riffing, finally spilling over into oblivion. You may consider me a loser for resonating with depressive lyrical content. As stated before, most Doom I enjoy lately serves as an ingredient in a Death or Black Metal song.

There are many other aspects I'd like to write about, but my style isn't polished enough and the post is already too long. Please, share your opinion on Doom Metal and recommend albums you deem worthy of recognition.


Re: Doom in Metal
October 18, 2010, 03:03:11 PM
The main characteristic of Doom Riff are the "wrong sounding" half-tones introduced to a heavy metal harmony (be it a Sabbath or Celtic Frost riff). It's similar to (and probably inspired by) the discomforting and disharmonious electronic "melodies" frequently used in old horror movies to accompany scenes of death.

I agree, but there's even more. Tempo is important, so is the fact that riffs are structured to emphasize drone (repetition of single note/chord). This seems to be used to induce some kind of resonance. Riffs often take the pattern of fill1->repeated-note->fill2/alternating-fill3.

To your list, I'd add:

* Skepticism
* Cianide
* Infester
* Asphyx
* Incantation
* Immolation
* Witchfinder General

Nu-skul indie doom (Baroness, Electric Wizard) bores me senseless, but so do most stoners. 95% dross, 5% people who think they're mystical geniuses and are at least earnest. I'll take an earnest nut over a bitter cynic any day.

Re: Doom in Metal
October 18, 2010, 04:57:31 PM
Asphyx "The Rack" is a good choice for dooming riffs, as well as Cianide "The Dying Truth". Skepticism of course,( in my opinion ) is some of the best doom i have heard especially "Stormcrowfleet".  I feel the same way about this album as you described "climbing and fighting the all-encompassing and merciless force of gravity".  I however disagree with the recommendation of Witchfinder General, a good recommendation if you just want to hear some great heavy metal.

.

Re: Doom in Metal
October 18, 2010, 05:36:05 PM
I have always seen Hammerheart and Twilight of the Idols as the highest point in this genre...maybe im the only one?


It's interesting to note that the greats and innovators in this genre: Thergothon, Disembowelment, Scepticism all worked within the language of death metal. Most typical doom bands just work within the heavy metal language but at a slow pace.


Also I may add Axis of Advance and it's early incarnation Sacramentary Abolishment work doom passages into blasting death/black metal to genius ends. Gorguts "From Wisdom to Hate" is another album that works with doom for a very interesting effect.

This too is a weird experiment into DOOM realms: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIgvQQOpPuc

Re: Doom in Metal
October 18, 2010, 06:40:41 PM
Like all metal, there is a lot of crud to be avoided, but pound for pound Doom metal destroys Black metal.

Re: Doom in Metal
October 18, 2010, 07:30:08 PM
Like all metal, there is a lot of crud to be avoided, but pound for pound Doom metal destroys Black metal.

Well i know Forest of Equilibrium doesnt DESTROY all ( or maybe it does??) , you best name some great doom albums for such a bold statement!

Re: Doom in Metal
October 18, 2010, 07:35:34 PM
You'd find me listening to Pentagram, Candlemass, Pagan Altar, Black Sabbath, Captain Beyond or any number of other acts on the proto-metal-doom-metal continuum before you'd find me listening to most things labeled Black Metal. I'll tell you what, let's compromise at His Majesty at the Swamp.

Re: Doom in Metal
October 18, 2010, 07:47:06 PM
Candlemas, as far as im concerned only offers Epicus Doomicus Metallicus as a great album, and a DOOM album for that matter.  Nightfall's lyrics are just lame, and the songs are boring.  Bewitched is the only one I will listen to, only because i like the DOOM DANCE in the video :) .  Everything after Nightfall is not even worth mentioning(IMO).  

I was thinking today, How would YOU the listener feel if the flutes were removed from "Forest of Equilibrium"?

Re: Doom in Metal
October 19, 2010, 12:59:27 AM
The main characteristic of Doom Riff are the "wrong sounding" half-tones introduced to a heavy metal harmony (be it a Sabbath or Celtic Frost riff). It's similar to (and probably inspired by) the discomforting and disharmonious electronic "melodies" frequently used in old horror movies to accompany scenes of death.

I agree, but there's even more. Tempo is important, so is the fact that riffs are structured to emphasize drone (repetition of single note/chord). This seems to be used to induce some kind of resonance. Riffs often take the pattern of fill1->repeated-note->fill2/alternating-fill3.

That's a very interesting dissection! I just emphasized the half-tones to show the riff differing from a standard heavy/stoner one.

.
To your list, I'd add:

* Skepticism
* Cianide
* Infester
* Asphyx
* Incantation
* Immolation
* Witchfinder General

I'm familiar with the Death Metal bands listed (I SHOULD BE!), so will take the Cianide and Skepticism recommendation for the moment. I've heard Skepticism before, only to find them more Funeral than Doom, even less Metal (I liked "The Gallant Crow", though- judging by the title, they must have been singing about me). Parasite repeatedly recommends them also, I guess they must be worth a second spin. Witchfinder General and Pentagram always appeared as being only Sabbath ripoffs: thematically semi-doom, but musically just hard rock. I may be wrong, but let's take it one step at a time.

I have always seen Hammerheart and Twilight of the Idols as the highest point in this genre...maybe im the only one?


It's interesting to note that the greats and innovators in this genre: Thergothon, Disembowelment, Scepticism all worked within the language of death metal. Most typical doom bands just work within the heavy metal language but at a slow pace.

Maybe not Hammerheart, but Twilight of the Idols could be viewed as borderline Doom. It's great an album, only more like epic hard rock. Also, some of the olden bands were great innovators, if you put them in context of the timeline.

You'd find me listening to Pentagram, Candlemass, Pagan Altar, Black Sabbath, Captain Beyond or any number of other acts on the proto-metal-doom-metal continuum before you'd find me listening to most things labeled Black Metal.

I guess we're on the same ship, only there's no Pentagram in my saloon. Pagan Altar should crown the DLA's heavy metal section, for such persistence in creating quality metal combined with deep profoundness and artistry is unparalleled.

Everyone interested in what constitutes a real metal warrior should listen to Pagan Altar and read their extensive biography of hardship and pain conquered! If your musical taste doesn't allow you to cross the frontier of extreme metal back to old masters, so be it. The Ones feeling adventurous can find their discography here:

http://cultofruins.blogspot.com/2009/11/pagan-altar-discography.html

For the biography mentioned, check their official website:

http://www.paganaltar.co.uk

I was thinking today, How would YOU the listener feel if the flutes were removed from "Forest of Equilibrium"?

I'd find you and kill you on the spot!

Now, seriously- when first heard them, I was taken aback. But they are integral, just two rare whispers mimicking the Doom dissonance, combined with picking on the acoustic guitar... as opposed to the typical goth mutilation of classical instruments through generic passages, invented by MDB and passed on by a myriad of clones, these are the two short interludes of Elysian bliss, probably never to happen again.

Re: Doom in Metal
October 19, 2010, 11:13:47 AM
Im surprised i never found out about Winter, i remember when i first started listening to DOOM i searched all through reviews, and best of DOOM lists.  Not once was Winter ever mentioned.. none the less this album is great, just as you recommended Metal on Metal.  Well your recommendations have been fruitful thus far... so i will give Pagan Altar's discography a play through( hasnt heard Winter or Pagan Altar = N00B).

Re: Doom in Metal
October 21, 2010, 12:23:25 AM
I should really get some more of Skepticism, i listen to Stormcrowfleet, at least 3-4 times a week before going to bed.  Great album to relax to, also a great album for hiking up mountains.

Re: Doom in Metal
October 23, 2010, 05:06:57 AM
Bands you might consider if you like the slower droning but still very doomy riffage would be Evoken (personal fave) and Mournful Congregation. Very slow but a lot more thought out than your average slow garbage.....Shades of Despair are also slow but have a bit more "gothic" feel, but that's not the right word......

I was thinking today, How would YOU the listener feel if the flutes were removed from "Forest of Equilibrium"?

For me, this album's immediate appeal was the flutes......take that away, just another boring slow record.....

Re: Doom in Metal
October 23, 2010, 07:55:48 PM
Don't forget Ras Algethi!

Re: Doom in Metal
November 09, 2010, 03:51:31 PM
what about Paul Chain?