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Doomsday // October 2022

Doom elicits those feelings of frights and bumps in the night in ways the other subgenres can’t, so let’s be of the moment and celebrate them. COME AND GET YOUR RIFFS!

a month ago

Hail to thee, Heaviest of Bloggers! I hope everyone is feeling very autumnal these days. My wife and I recently moved from Colorado to western New York where fall has really set in. This new scenery of actually being fall in October has made me think a lot about time. It’s very true what older people in my life have always said to me: the older you get, the faster it goes. Now I’m only 36, so not exactly a greying geezer in the grand scheme of things. But time is certainly passing at a faster pace than I can remember. Like I always remember the month of August feeling interminable. It was the plodding heat death of the world to me. It’s about that time of year that everyone dreams of autumn, and autumn may as well be 1000 years away at the moment. But now it is fall, and I can’t help but think how quickly it might pass me by. And now this feeling is likely only going to be happening more and more frequently. So I must learn to be more in the moment and enjoy things as they happen because they’ll just as quickly pass. I hope this is some valuable wisdom I can pass along to you.

Anyway, enough of my Andy Rooney impression. It’s boring and tedious and had its day. Now we must have RIFFS. It’s that time of year where this music feels very timely to me. It’s of the season in many ways, not the least of which being spooky stuff to conjure images of monsters and frights and those bumps in the night. Doom elicits those feelings in ways the other subgenres can’t, so let’s be of the moment and celebrate them. COME AND GET YOUR RIFFS!

Innumerable Forms - Philosophical Collapse (death doom)

I first got into doom metal listening to stoner jams about wizards and demons, but these days I find myself gravitating toward the filthier end of doom metal. So you can understand my elation to hear about a new Innumerable Forms record. Punishment in Flesh was a personal go-to for me, and Philosophical Collapse could easily fill that same spot for me in 2022. If you also love your doom filthy, you’re gonna need Philosophical Collapse in your life.

As I’ve studied this record a few times, I’ve come to the conclusion that my favorite aspect is the vocals. I’ll also say I’m usually not much of a fan of the “Cookie Monster” vocal. Yes, I know I’m writing for an underground metal blog and I’m aware that I’ve written about a lot of records with this kind of style, but it generally doesn’t jive with me. That’s different on Collapse. I see the vocals here as another instrument in the death-doom orchestra that is Innumerable Forms. It really contributes to the atmosphere the record creates in a way I don’t normally view vocals.

Outside of those vocals, just listen to these filthy riffs! The album is the perfect combination of death and doom metal, often swaying between the two sounds. It never strays too far in either direction but gives nods to both influences over the sound. While the instruments may make you feel like the pace is quickening, always trust the tapping of your toe. It’ll keep you straight while the music teases something else. Get on this one already!

-Pete Williams

Sonja - Loud Arriver (traditional metal, gothic metal)

I never considered myself a goth though I always did feel like it was a crowd I could mesh with. Maybe that’s because I was a big fan of The Cure. Well now, I’ve got the underground metal version of that band. Philly’s goth metal trio Sonja absolutely blew me away with their latest, Loud Arriver. Ex-Absu guitarist Melissa Moore’s new group scratched a lot of itches for me, and from the moment I clicked play I knew I was going to share this here.

Moore used her experience of being unceremoniously fired from Absu to fuel the writing of Loud Arriver. You can feel those emotions on every single track. There is such a beautiful fury fueling the whole record. That aggression has been honed into brilliant atmospheric songwriting. “When the Candle Burns Low” is the perfect intro track for this. It creates that famous gothic ambiance with power. And it’s the track that really brought me in and kept me going.

As I was listening to Loud Arriver more and more, I began to get very heavy Tribulation vibes. While Sonja doesn’t have Tribulation’s theatricality or steadfast devotion to a theme, the two artists do share a particular knack for common songwriting. They both create the depressive atmosphere needed for their songs, and they’re both accomplished musicians who can hone their skill for such a goal. But whereas Tribulation is much more devoted to their particular idiom, Sonja is far more interested in their craft. Loud Arriver is the product of that interest, and I would strongly advise anyone interested in this side of metal to take interest as well.

-PW

Grief Circle - Weightless

Remember when “post-metal” was all the rage? To the extent that the genre qualification was being misused in mainstream media and it seemed as if every single release wanted to be considered a part of the movement? Well, I’m not saying that things are better now that that’s over but it’s definitely made post-metal feel more special to discover. Sometimes, you need something to wane a bit before you can remember how much you love it. In that sense, Grief Circle’s Weightless came to me at the perfect time; there hasn’t been a lot of post-metal that really hit home for me this year but this one definitely did.

At the base of Weightless lies a perfect balance between stoner/doom swagger and post-metal’s penchant for emotional, crushing riffs. This means that the riff which sits at the base of the tracks on the album goes a bit slower than post-metal usually likes and chooses to prioritize fuzz over incisive melancholy. However, each track also has space dedicated for sparser, slower, and more depressing segments, creating that “cold” atmosphere that post-metal is so good for.

Check out opening track “Cursed” for example; the chords that fuel most of the track hang in the balance between doom and stoner, almost slow enough to be called but just groovy enough to avoid that more crushing segmentation. Nearer the end of the track though, that all falls away in favor of a more haunting rendition of the track’s main chord progression. Couple this with thick, full-throated vocals and a determination to mix up these elements as the album goes on, sometimes favoring the post-metal more heavily like on the following track, “Hangman”, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic, crushing, and emotionally effective album.

-Eden Kupermintz

Ammothea - Terminal Burrow

What are the odds that smack dab in the middle of summer we got the most wintry doomgaze album of the year? Ammothea thrive on the frostiest end of the ‘gaze’s reaches; Terminal Burrow’s notably icy production and gales of blackened wails set a distinct, yet oddly comforting atmosphere. There’s also a tangible weight that accumulates over its six tracks, where each one gradually reveals itself as a new endeavor, with walls of noise concealing some truly awesome melodic passages.

The tempos are without a doubt modest and dreamy, leaving plenty of wiggle room in the mix for some dramatic and rhythmic momentum shifts while the synths and guitars endeavor on with serious volume. It’s really easy to sink into, but the real ace in the sleeve on Terminal Burrow is Ammothea’s sense of timing. Each ethereal moment or drone satisfies without boring, an important detail when it comes to replayability. Given this, it’s a bit of an undertaking of a record, but its accessibility is a boon for a nearly 50-minute record – all whilst being everything a blackened doomgaze record should be, atmospherically. There’s not one album I want to hear more this winter during a heavy snowstorm, I just hope I don’t burn myself out on it before then.

-Jordan Jerabek

King Buffalo - Regenerator

King Buffalo have proven themselves to be as reliable as it gets when it comes to quality psych rock, and as you’d guess, Regenerator continues the prolific trio’s impressive track record. Picking up on the trail from where the group left off on 2021’s Archeron, there’s a jammy, yet focused feel here with some nice attention to ambience by way of cosmic synths, warm guitar tones, and generally huge vibes. The chilled-out moments are spacious and bright, while groovier sprawling structures find poignant placements for the heavy distortion, airy bridges, and free spirited solos. Honestly, it’s like everything is huge here, and it’s in large part (get it?) due to the group’s balanced and complementary songwriting.

The opener and title track opens with some distinctly planetarium-flavored synth and quickly blasts off into space rock depths unexplored, or as some may say, ripping a series of kickass solos for about six minutes while keeping the ride interesting with a series of worthwhile detours. Subsequent tracks maintain this adventurous nature without going too big, bouncing between the swift and riffed “Mercury,” locked-in rocker “Hours” (which brings to mind early Queens of the Stone Age), and the bouncy and loud “Mammoth” to refreshingly lighter faire like the well-placed guitar/vocal number “Interlude,” effervescent “Avalon,” and appropriately epic closer “Firmament.” Together, they make Regenerator a really delightful and effortlessly engaging psych/prog rock album. The jams are propulsive, and though it may be less riffy than previous works overall, the atmosphere on this record is exquisitely spacey, dynamic, and lively. A highlight among a stacked discography.

-JJ

Pete Williams

Published a month ago