One of the most appealing aspects of doom metal is its relative simplicity. Unconcerned with the breakneck tempos of grind, the technical necessity of trash and death, or the atmospherics (and, often, the aesthetics) of black metal, doom is largely content to let the genre’s music speak for itself. Of course, it helps to have the amp wattage to all but forcibly compel heads to nod but, at the end of the day, the riff is the riff and doom will live or die by the power of the riff alone. There’s something vaguely traditional in that simplicity: a reverent confidence that the power of one gnarly guitar line, repeated burgeoningly and ad nauseum, can transcend the need for other genre trappings and transfix a listener into zoned-out bliss. Generally speaking, doom worships no god but the riff and Monolord are here to spread that gospel.
These posts are written by: Lincoln Jones
Being a writer for Heavy Blog comes with a lot of perks. Unlimited beer in the break room fridge, the…
Hello Heavy Bloggers! Welcome to Doomsday, our new column that seeks to compile a monthly roundup of all things doom. Standing alongside the likes of Death’s Door and Kvlt Kolvmn, Doomsday will highlight a few releases every month that, for whatever reason, may not warrant a full-fledged review on Heavy Blog but we still think deserve a recommendation out to you, oh faithful readers. There’s a lot of music that can fit under the Doom umbrella and we’ll try to keep an “open ear” policy: Drone, Stoner, Groove, Ambient, Funeral Doom, and good ol’ Death-Doom. We’ll take all comers. If it’s slow and low, it’s Doomsday. And without further ado, here’s some of the heaviest tunes August had to offer.
As a genre, stoner doom has some fairly definitive characteristics: slowed-down tempos, rumbling low-end bass and rhythm, a focus on mountainous, hypnotic riffs, and a certain intangible haze cast over it all, creating a psychedelic-glazed listening experience. But perhaps most importantly, stoner metal worships at the altar of marijuana. Proudly wearing its influence on its sleeve (and name), stoner metal varyingly employs marijuana as a muse, a political rallying cause, an artistic aesthetic, and generally as the raison d’etre for the (sub)genre as a whole. From the smoke-filled cough intro in Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” to Sleep’s epic journey to Jerusalem to Dopelord carrying the genre’s torch in one hand and a bong in the other, stoner doom is fundamentally and un-apologetically intertwined with marijuana. And yet, as firm of a grip as the green leaf has on the genre, there are contingents within the stoner doom scene that don’t embrace weed with the same fervor as their counterparts. Indeed, as counter-intuitive as it seems, examples abound of bands in the stoner doom realm that either explicitly or implicitly eschew the very association with marijuana that the scene largely views as a prerequisite.
One-man metal bands have traditionally been dominated by black metal acts. Superficially, this makes sense. Thematically, the hyper-isolated, frost-bitten anguish of black metal is probably best fostered in a singular, individualized setting. Further, the low-barrier recording requirements of tinny, high-treble bedroom black metal means more people can simply start projects on their own, no band-mates or professional sound set-up required. Of course, there are exceptions. But black metal’s icy grip on one-man metal has, at times, seemed so tight as to prevent other genres from getting in on the action. Thankfully, Talsur is here to bring doom metal into the one-man domain.
There’s an inherent alchemy required to successfully combine two seemingly disparate forces into something new. Famous, enduring pairings can be volatile and even counter-intuitive at first glance, but when done properly the result can be something far greater than the sum of each part. Peanut butter and jelly are each perfectly enjoyable on their own, but when paired together they create one of the most well-known and universally enjoyed sandwiches in modern history. Likewise, Calvin is a perfectly funny — albeit bratty – cartoon character and, similarly, Hobbes is a charming and occasionally profound tiger. But it’s their pairing that creates something greater: a friendship that serves as a vehicle for an entire comic strip, a philosophical and temperamental foil for each character to bounce off, and the sheer intangible joy the strip provides readers by allowing us to live inside their friendship. By fusing two independently enjoyable ingredients, an effective pairing can not only allow for a greater appreciation of the pair’s individual components, it can simultaneously create something richer and more meaningful in the magic as well.