Hypergiant – Father Sky

The early 2000s brought us a wealth of riff-worshipping, bone-quaking goodness  – what has essentially become the foundation of many current doom, stoner, and sludge metal acts. Bands like Mastodon, High on Fire, and Baroness expanded upon the standard set by metal’s forefathers with more progressive tendencies, expansive arrangements, fiercer presentation, technically demanding performances, and (presumably) better strains of grass. At the same time (and likely benefitting from the same improved… *ahem* genetics), there was also a bubble of traditionalists like The Sword, Wolfmother, and Saviours who made the case that a more conventional approach was worth revisiting, reinvigorating classic sounds for a new generation of headbangers. It’s from this very specific nexus that Australia’s Hypergiant explode, harkening back to familiar territories on both sides of this early-00s coin.

Doomsday – October 2017

Hello heaviest of Heavy Bloggers! Welcome back to Doomsday, our monthly roundup of All the Doom that’s Fit to Print.™ October is a special time of year, particularly in America: the weather is turning colder and gloomier, horror movies show up in earnest in theaters and cable networks across the country, and the general anticipation of Halloween fills the air. October 2017 was particularly special for doom heads as both Bell Witch and Primitive Man unleashed career-defining tours de force upon the world. But wait, there’s more! Lots more! Grab your earplugs, it’s Doomsday.

Dreadnought – A Wake In Sacred Waves

All answers to the question “what is myth?” revolve around images. When you boil down myth, a ludicrously complex term, you find archtypes, common images which percolate beneath the surface of the story being told. These images aren’t immediately approachable; we can’t access these ideas, their meaning or their relationships…

Spirit Adrift – Curse of Conception

Curse of Conception is the second full length effort from desert dwelling Spirit Adrift, but one could be forgiven for assuming this is the work of a band with twice that output under their belt. Formerly a hyper-competent but somewhat conventional doom band, Curse clearly demarks a new era for the Phoenix outfit, one that showcases the band evolving from a heavy band into highly a skilled rock ‘n doom songwriting machine. And, to be sure, that’s not to slag off the band’s previous efforts. Their debut, Chained to Oblivion, is fantastic, fuzzy, and shouldn’t be ignored by anybody considering themselves a doom fan. But the band’s split with Khemmis earlier this year makes even more sense in hindsight. To both Spirit Adrift and Khemmis, good songwriting and heaviness isn’t an either/or proposition. And simply playing heavy music mid-tempo doesn’t forever handcuff a band to traditional doom. Just like their Colorado cohorts, Spirit Adrift are too restless, too musically curious and, as it turns out, too talented not to explore beyond their initial doom origins.

Thank You For Not Smoking: Variations on a Stoner Doom Theme

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.

The Metal Industry’s Top 30 Albums Of 2016

Last year I took it upon myself not only to organize and compile our own staff’s AOTY list, but to take things one insane step further and compile a bunch of lists from major metal or metal-covering publications and websites into one MEGA AOTY list to rule them all. Eden and I then analyzed the list and made some (mostly snarky) comments about the metal journalism industry and how they approach these sorts of things. Though I still 100% stand by what we wrote there and the conclusions we drew from it, I was really interested in seeing how well some of them would stand up to another year to use as a data point. Thankfully, this year I had a lot of help in all of our list-making efforts thanks to fellow editor Noyan, who put a ton of work into coming up with the method we ended up using to aggregate our lists (if you haven’t already, you should absolutely read his post delving into the nitty-gritty of that methodology) and then did the actual number-crunching.

Khemmis – Hunted

Denver’s Khemmis materialized as quickly and supernaturally as the panel van wizard-style illustrations that grace their album art. Absolution, their impressive debut album from the not-so-distant 2015, bubbled up as a critical favorite, garnering attention from publications large and small – no small feat for an upstart band in an already populated scene. Taking nods from old-school progenitors like Candlemass and Thin Lizzy, Khemmis carry diverse classic vibes into the modern era, zeroing in on a more alloyed kind of retro revival than peers like Pallbearer or The Sword. Somehow, in wizard-like fashion, they’ve quickly conjured their follow-up, Hunted, a record that polishes the ideas presented on Absolution, but ultimately feels like an all-too-familiar sequel.

Khemmis – Absolution

In case you’ve been living under a rock, weed is now legal in Colorado, making it a fitting environment for the creation of Denver-based stoner/doom act Khemmis’ debut album Absolution. Doom metal seems like a dime a dozen these days, making it increasingly difficult for budding doom bands to stand out. Fortunately, Khemmis…