Doom metal. There’s a lot of it, yeah? By now, the idea of doom metal making a comeback is absurd, since we’re already well into this comeback. We’ve forgotten that doom (and, to a lesser extent, stoner) was a dead genre not too long ago, mostly but not totally buried under the auspices of metalcore, progressive metal post-Meshuggah‘s rise to genrehood and alt-metal (mainly alt-metal. So. Much. Alt-metal). Nowadays, we are used to being flooded (get it) by a slew of doom and doom-adjacent releases every year, with some of metal’s most promising and potent names, like Pallbearer or Yob, owing their claim to fame to this powerful genre which has accompanied metal since its inception.
Funnily enough, this creates plenty of opportunity for bands looking to release albums in the genre but also unique challenges; sure, it might be easier to find an audience for this type of music in theory but the reality is filled with words like “over-saturation”, “exhaustion”, and “material fatigue” (no one actually uses this latter one but I wish they would because it’s a great idiom). Each band has their own answer to these challenges, even when they’re not aware of them; bands don’t have to be conscious of the context in which they operate in order to operate within it. Thus, it doesn’t matter whether Domkraft made Flood as classically doom as they did on purpose or not. The fact remains that, in 2018, they chose to release an album that plays very directly to the strengths of both the band and the genre of music they make.
Is this a bad thing? Not at all. Flood benefits from being direct and visceral in its approach to doom metal. From the get go, with the opening track “Landslide”, everything is painted in very clear colors. Hell, the track’s name is “Landslide”! The main riff of the track, which repeats at different points of it in pleasing degrees of variance, is pondersome but not too slow, more stoner-doom than funeral-doom for instance. The vocals too are of the American variety, even if the band are from Stockholm (a nation with its own ties to doom metal); they lean towards the echo-y half scream made great by bands like Inter Arma, Neurosis and the aforementioned Yob. The groove section takes its cue from the rest of the instrumentation, playing the kind of cavernous thrumming one would expect here, joined by plenty of feedback and fuzz.
In short, all the classic elements are classic for a reason and this track (and album as a whole) showcase this; the concotion just works. It does so not by magic but because Domkraft know how to mix it, prepare it, and serve it. This is evident in the little touches which make things shine, like the excellent guitar transition at the end of “Landslide” and the start of “Watchers”, the second track on the album. But, and herein lies the rub, it is very much the concotion of doom metal and it does pretty much what it says on the bottle. You wouldn’t take aspirin for a rash, would you? Nor would you apply a salve for a headache. Thus, you wouldn’t partake of Flood for its progressive tendencies or to be caught off guard; you’ll do it for the riffs and their enchanting pull.
If you’re looking for something more, than Flood might not be for you. But if its the sweet siren song of distortion, smoke filled rooms, colors beyond space and time, and the undulating dolmens of doom metal that your heart desires, than drinking deep of this body of water would not be a mistake. Just come into it with your eyes open, as Domkraft seem to have, embracing the tried and true tropes of the genre within which they make music and making sure they’re executed as expected and in accordance with an exacting standard of quality.
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Flood releases on October 19th through the newly formed Blues Funeral Recordings.