Ossuarium – Living Tomb

Death metal, perhaps more than any other genre, builds monuments to its past often, and it builds them tall. And can anyone really find fault in that? With stylistic confines so severe, and such a wealth of talent and personality from day one, it’s not hard to see why every…

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Doomsday – 2018 In Review

A dark and foreboding greeting to you, heaviest of Heavy Bloggers! Yes, I’m afraid it’s that time again. The death of the year 2018 demands a review, and we would be quite foolish not to oblige. It’s been another very solid year for doom metal. Personal favorites and genre darlings alike have returned with huge releases, up and comers have made themselves known, and a certain giant of the scene made a comeback after a far too long hiatus. What’s not to like about DOOM 2018?

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Tombtoker – Coffin Texts

Doom? Check. Death? I’m in. Stoner doom? Hell yes, gimme that. Psychedelic stoner death doom? Wait, wha? Such is the nature of metal bands sometimes. So frequently, we want bands to fit into boxes and check off things on our lists. Sure, it helps us writers explain to others what…

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Usurpress – Interregnum

Did you ever hope that Tom Waits got together with Hubert Selby Jr. and write a death metal album? Because your wish has finally come true. Usurpress has a new album out, and it’s easily the greatest labor they have yet to produce. Prior to Interregnum, Usurpress was a death…

Ataraxy – Where All Hope Fades

Death-doom is having a bit of a moment. Developed from the initial undercurrent of the works of Incantation, Asphyx, Decomposed, Katatonia, and diSEMBOWELMENT, the little subgenre that could has produced some of metal’s best and most consistent bands. Hooded Menace and Hamferð have already released two of 2018’s best records,…

Death’s Door 2017 // Death Metal’s Year in Review

Welcome to the final installment of Death’s Door in the Year of Our Nefarious Overlord 2017! Wipe your feet on the mat, remove that stupid holiday-induced smile from your face, and prepare yourself for ultimate year-end audio brutalization. Because, quite frankly, 2017 was one of the best years for death metal in decades. A bold statement indeed, and thankfully one with plenty of data in the form of amazing records to back it up. The overwhelming number of releases in this dirtiest of metal subgenres, coupled with the breadth of quality releases in each of the branches of the death metal tree, all accumulate to create one of the most impressive lists of death metal albums in a given year since the early 1990s. 2017 presented us with exceptional records at such an alarming clip that it was often a full-time task to keep track of them. Death metal this year was in equal measure mind-numbingly technical, socially forward-thinking, compositionally adventurous, and reverent of the past, generating albums that displayed with full clarity all that makes this music the metal behemoth that it is. What a time to be alive. In our final segment of Death’s Door for the year, we will be highlighting the trends and movements within death metal that we found to be the most significant, as well as our own personal top 15 death metal records on the year. Prepare yourself. Madness awaits.

Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors of Unbeing

Sometimes I listen to albums and mini-movies play in my head. Narratives that to me encapsulate the sound, the feeling, of the music I am listening to. Spectral Voice has been doing this to me for years, with demo after demo of evocative, strangling death-doom that conjures images and stories that transcend the boundaries of my typically limited imagination. Their debut full-length album, Eroded Corridors of Unbeing, is no exception. In fact, it is the apex of everything the band have thus far released. It is cavernous, ethereal, terrifying, expertly performed, compositionally sound, and an utter masterpiece of death-doom glory. This is music that soundtracks nightmares of spiteful aliens, burning space stations, decaying planets, and the coming of the end of all things. It is music constructed for the dark. Prepare yourself accordingly.

Ehnahre – The Marrow

Literature has been one of the foremost sources of inspiration for metal lyricism and composition alike, regardless of subgenre. The list of examples is significant—Ernest Hemingway and Cobalt, Georges Bataille and Deathspell Omega, H. P. Lovecraft and seemingly everyone, and so on. Drawing inspiration from a novel is a challenging but relatively structured undertaking; a plot can be interpreted into numerous sonic and lyrical directions but will always follow the same trajectory of its narrative. Poetry contrasts this process by its very nature, as its natural code of symbolic meaning and suggestive prose necessitates musical decoding drawn from a strictly thematic place. Even poems with a decipherable narrative are often told in a verbose, indirect manner that challenges metal lyricists and composers to write with a liberated hand, looking beyond the words on the page to a deeper understanding of the poem’s true meaning and mood. Agalloch’s interpretation of W. B. Yeats is a stellar example of this process being executed beautifully, as is the latest offering from Ehnahre, a Boston-based avant-garde metal collective who count Kay Dot alumni among their ranks. Their incredible four-part song cycle on The Marrow captures the essence of Theodore Roethke’s eponymous poem* through consuming landscapes of avant-garde death-doom that are as ridden with despair as the poet’s initial musing on whether or not life is worthwhile.