Khemmis – Desolation

Success, the cliché insists, is a double-edged sword. History (and the Encyclopedia Metallum archives) is littered with now-defunct bands who toiled away for years in storage units and near-empty basements, yearning for record deals and the elusive larger acclaim that remained just beyond their grasp. But what of the bands…

Doomsday // April 2018

Greetings, heaviest of Heavy Bloggers! Welcome to Doomsday, our monthly roundup of some of the most noteworthy releases in the doom world released over the past month. April was a true sleeper month for doom as some of the most titanic releases were saved for the month’s back half. Who knows? Maybe there was even a surprise release last week you heard about perhaps? With this much to bang our heads to, we better get straight to it. Enough chatter! Grab your earplugs, it’s doomsday.

Green Druid – Ashen Blood

Denver, CO and doom metal. The two have in the past few years become synonymous. The weed-laced city has become a haven for all that is slow, low, and filled to the brim with psych, sludge, stoner, and death-infused doom and gloom. Primitive Man, Khemmis, Spectral Voice, In the Company…

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.