Lines In Wax

THIRTEEN YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

doom metal

Khanate – Clean Hands Go Foul (2009)

Ugh, what a nasty mess! In what barely constitutes music in parts due to how sparse and desperate it is, this disturbing full length release by Khanate is highly recommended for those fans of the sick and twisted and / or the slow and tortured. The vocals are savage and raw, barely holding together the shambling backdrop of glacial sludge. Clean Hands Go Foul is worth checking out for the 32 minute closing track alone, “Every God Damn Thing”, which really pushes the boundary of the whole Khanate sound.

Candlemass – Tales Of Creation (1989)

Messiah is here for the final album in his original classic run, Tales Of Creation. It’s not the strongest of the earliest albums by the band, but still has a slew of decent tracks, my absolute favourite being “Into The Unfathomed Tower”. However, with the inclusion of a re-recorded song from Epicus… as well as a lot of these songs being worked from early demos, one can’t help but escape the feeling that Tales… is a step backwards, or at least to the side, rather than forwards. You can do no wrong by enjoying this album, but it is easily the weakest of the original run of Messiah-fronted records.

Goatmoon / Ride For Revenge – Split CD (2008)

Interesting mix of stuff here. You’ve got Goatmoon originals which are great, followed by a Ride For Revenge set of originals, which are dark, murky, bass-led mires of noise. You then get a TON of Goatmoon rehearsal recordings, which, honestly, have absolutely fucking zero value for me (not saying there aren’t others who would interested in hearing these) and then the whole thing is capped off with this huge 20 minute noise piece from R4R (lol). Honestly, the sequencing on this thing is wild, even if it was originally for a double LP or something. It just doesn’t flow at all.

Grief – Dismal (Compilation) (1993)

Not to be confused with the 12” EP of the same name, this later reissued Dismal (with altered artwork) combines the original Dismal EP with the S/T Grief EP and the band’s tracks from the split with Utopia. If you’re not paying attention it can almost seem like this version of Dismal is one of the band’s full lengths, because they are so consistent across these three early sessions that it’s unreal. A great starting point for getting into Grief.

Grief – Grief (1992)

Oof! Heavy as shit sludge metal that’s gonna hit you right in the dick. Probably not quite as good as the Dismal 12” but we are really splitting hairs here. We’re talking minute differences in production and songwriting at the absolute most. Well worth your time, ears, and mental energy.

Coffin Storm – Arcana Rising (2024)

Really cool shit. Took me a few listens to really get into it because Fenriz’s vocals just sounded a bit odd to me. It felt as though they didn’t quite match the rest of the music, at least on first impressions, but the whole thing has grown on me massively. It’s cool to see some long running members of the Norwegian black metal scene come together to do something slightly different. I know Darkthrone have been incorporating this doomy kind of traditional / old school metal sound into their stuff for a while now, but nothing like this. Also, this thing has Apollyon on drums – that guy is a machine! Really interesting to hear him play more “naturally” here (at a more flowing pace, no triggers, etc). The production on the debut from Coffin Storm is as big yet as warm and as organic as you would expect, considering the names involved. Comparisons sound wise could be made to Fenriz’s own Isengard, as well as the varied catalog of King Diamond, but the basis of this group’s sound exists in the trad doom of Trouble, St. Vitus, Pentagram and the like. I can’t imagine this will be for everyone, but it’s a solid metal album and I’m glad they made it.

Grief – Dismal (1992)

Super heavy, super slow, super sludgy, super depressing. There’s something about the 4 tracks on the original release of Dismal which is just so purely and utterly disgustingly beautiful. I think the production has a lot to do with it: the drums are crisp as fuck, the guitars hit like a ton of bricks. I’m not always the biggest listener of “sludge” metal but this shit is up there with the best of the genre.

Cathedral – A New Ice Age (2011)

When Cathedral announced they were throwing in the towel my friends and I rushed to London to witness their final show (having seen Cathedral live several times I can safely say the finale was the best) where this 12” was for sale. With Rise Above being, well, Rise Above, I assumed that this would be a crazy collectors item and a great momento of the last show. Well, turns out I was wrong on both accounts because A.) it’s not worth shit and B.) they didn’t play any of this stuff live lmao  To be honest though, that personal anecdote aside, this is a fucking great 12”. Both tracks are decent in their own right, with the band’s trademark latter era CHUNKY production style and heaviness. The Last Spire may not exactly thrilled me but this preceding / companion single I found to be well worth my time. Sabbath worship out da ass!

Castle Rat – Into The Realm (2024)

One doesn’t want to ask such a question, but one feels one has to – would Castle Rat be popping off as much as they currently are if they didn’t look the way they do? I’m talking mostly regarding enigmatic and super-talented frontwoman Riley Pinkerton AKA The Rat Queen, but also the rest of the group with their various monikers and disguises. The Scooby Doo aesthetic, whilst clearly working, gives a whole Blood Ceremony meets Ghost feeling. The sad truth is that occult rock / trad doom / 70s “metal” revival bands are a dime a dozen, so does Into The Realm hold up once you take away all the theatrics and imagery? Does it work on an intrinsic musical level? Well, kind of. The previously mentioned Rat Queen has a great voice (when it’s not drowning in awful effects), reminding me of Rosalie Cunningham or Alia O’Brien, but the backing band, whilst serviceable, never quite offer anything that stands out. The production has this weird blown out sound on the percussion, I guess to make the soundstage artificially fuller than it actually is, but the guitar work is fun, if nothing else. Outside of highlights “Cry For Me” and closing track “Nightblood”, none of the tracks on this thing are any better than “Ok”, which is well, not really OK, at least not in a genre where a hundred million other bands are vying to replace you in an instant. Look, this is an entertaining album. It’s not like, actually bad (outside of a few choice effects / filters on the vocals which actively detracts from the overall experience), but I expected more.

Darkthrone – It Beckons Us All……. (2024)

It’s always a good day when Darkthrone release a new album. it’s something that can be consistently relied upon as something to look forward to, even if the result of each offering may vary slightly. Or in this case, perhaps not so much at all. It Beckons Us All is great, but it is very similar in production and approach to both Eternal Hails and Astral Fortress – whilst also reminding me of some of the doomier moments on Old Star a few years back. Mix all of this with a healthy does of Celtic Frost worship and you’ve got It Beckons Us All. Some may perhaps wish that Darkthrone would move on from this style, and whilst I do have some of my favourite Darkthrone tracks on Astral Fortress (“Impeccable Caverns Of Satan”, “Stalagmite Neckalce”), I feel like the band have truly taken this particular style to its apex here on this record. “Eon 3”, “The Bird People of Nordland” and opening number “Howling Primitive Colonies” are all world class examples of blackened doomery.

Black Sabbath – Headless In Vienna (Live in 1989) (2003)

Excellent quality show. Even better than the perhaps more commended “When Death Called ‘89” from earlier in the same tour. Sure, there are a few audible artefacts on the recording, but it’s a small price to pay for what is an excellent line-up performing songs from all eras of Sabbath (Gillan and Hughes aside lol). As with other boots in this era, it’s a pleasure just to hear Cozy playing Ozzy and Dio era stuff. This Vienna set is one of the best for this tour though because of the variety and Tony Martin sounds on top form here. Well worth tracking down.

Black Sabbath – Death Called ‘89 (1989)

The best thing about this particular live recording is hearing Cozy Powell play with the band in the arena space; for his three albums with the band his time on the road with them was often fairly limited for various reasons. Hearing his super awesome interpretations of the fills on tracks like “War Pigs” is a real treat. Quality is pretty good here, although there is like a flutter effect that’s appeared on the tape, but what can you do. Considering it’s the Headless Cross tour the band don’t really bother all that much with songs from it, instead playing mainly Dio-era tunes and a few 70s classics. Martin sings mostly in a low register, which is a shame because he could still belt out the vocals back in 1989.

Black Sabbath – The End (EP) (2016)

As someone who found 13 to be rather tedious in both production and actual song content, it will be of no surprise that I find this little EP of left over tracks to be equally as uninspired and devoid of anything of worth. On top of that you have some of the most dogshit art the band have used in some time. It’s a no from me, Tony mate.

Black Sabbath – The End 4th February 2017 Birmingham (2017)

Wow, this get’s off to a shaky start! The drumming on “Black Sabbath” is so bad (not to mention Ozzy’s appalling singing) that I almost gave up before I started. I’m glad that I did stick with the whole record though, because I missed out on the Birmingham shows in person and felt like I had missed a momentous event in history. However, having consumed this entire live album several times, I don’t feel like I missed all that much. Many have commented on the heaviness here, especially of the low end and the percussion, and admittedly Geezer DOES sound incredible and the session drummer does pull it together nicely after the first song, I can’t shake the fact that Ozzy is well beyond his best and his performance here is painful, to be honest.

Candlemass – Ancient Dreams (1988)

Ancient Dreams feels like both a sequel to Nightfall and a spiritual successor to Epicus Doomicus. The trouble is, and I mean no disrespect as this is still a highly enjoyable record, is that Ancient Dreams is not quite as good as either of the two previously mentioned albums. Nevertheless, let the phenomenal cover art draw you into a world of powerful, epic doom metal like only Candlemass can so expertly craft. If you enjoyed Nightfall but the reverb-drenched bombast was just a little too much for you, then try this instead. Highlights for me include “Mirror Mirror”, “A Cry From The Crypt” and the title track.

Black Sabbath – Asbury Park, New Jersey, 5th August 1975 (1993)

Quite possibly one of – if not the – greatest live album that I have ever heard. The fact that I’ve been listening to Sabbath for over 20 years and have never stumbled upon this recording until this week is nothing short of embarrassing. I feel like I have unlocked some sort of secret. Anyway, the release itself is phenomenally good. The production, for a 1975 live recording, is absolutely fantastic. I’m not sure how much work has been done after the fact to clean it up, but either way, it sounds incredible. The entire band are firing on all cylinders – even Ozzy sounds brilliant – but Iommi’s riffs are just… I have no words. The version of “Symptom Of The Universe” here is off the chart. Forget Live At Last, Reunion and definitely put The End in the bin. This is THE live album for the classic lineup of Sabbath. This particular boot is from 1993 but this thing has been released on the black/grey market a million times.

Black Sabbath – Past Lives (2002)

I’d originally written off Past Lives for being the “official” version of Live At Last but with a bunch of extra shit added onto the end. In some rather dim world views that is perhaps correct, but Past Lives is so much more than that, as I have recently found out. Yes, disc 1 is the same as the Live At Last album so if you’ve heard that, there’s no point in bothering with the first disc at all, really. The reward really comes with disc 2, which is a collection of live tracks that were previously only released in bootleg configurations. Whether those bootlegs have cooler art, release notes etc., I am not here to argue, but Past Lives collects these sessions together in one place and over its two-hour run time I suppose it could be argued that it makes a definitive “classic” Sabbath live album. Some of the sessions on the second disc are just incredible, such as the versions here of “Hole In The Sky”, “Symptom Of The Universe” and “Black Sabbath”. Great stuff.

Black Sabbath – Headless Cross / Anno Domini (2024)

It’s very cool to see the Tony Martin era music start to get some of the attention it deserves. I’ve probably been a bit harsh on some of the material myself. But I gotta say the remaster of both the title track of Headless Cross as well as “Anno Mundi” from Tyr sounds absolutely great. This single has definitely raised my excitement for the rereleases of all of these albums. I’m not going to buy them all again as I spent plenty of time and money hunting down the originals (more fool me), but I’m hoping these remasters bring a new generation of fans to this forgotten era of Black Sabbath.

Earth – Legacy Of Dissolution (2005)

An interesting set of remixes, which is more than I expected. Perhaps unsurprisingly, drone is the buzzword of the day, and whilst like any remix album the quality varies track to track, the general overall level of quality is pretty high. Legacy Of Dissolution presents us with a shockingly pleasant set of reinterpreted textures – one that was quite uplifting, despite its heaviness, to listen to on a Sunday morning with a black coffee, watching the sun come up through the valley. The Justin Broadrick remix of “Harvey” sounds like some extra spacey Jesu outtake.

Earth – Phase 3: Thrones and Dominions (1995)

Phase 3 has always been my least favourite of the early Earth releases. Moving away from the crushing drones of the earlier releases, Earth instead turned to shorter tracks of varying texture and feel. Whilst the band would refine this approach for the excellent Pentastar, Phase 3 is, frankly, a disjointed mess of ideas. Granted, a lot of these ideas are very pleasant and fun to listen to, but the album as a whole has a rushed, unfinished and “that’ll do” vibe to it. Is it bad? No. Does much better music come both immediately before and after it? Yes.

Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard (2017)

Colour me surprised when I went back to this record to review it and found out it was now 7 years old this year (lmao). Like, we need a Wizard to fucking rewind time because that shit is fucking bizarre! This shit only came out last month, right? Right!? Anyway, Electric Wizard’s “latest” studio effort seemed to have been met with a resounding “meh” and whilst I initially wasn’t super into the pared back sound, on subsequent relistens I have found the agreeable runtime and the excellently catchy songs to work well in WBW’s favour. It may not be the best thing they’ve ever done, but it’s a solid album with some fantastic tracks (“Wicked Caresses” is up there with the Wizard greats).

Eyehategod – Dopesick (1996)

Dopesick was the first Eyehategod album that I bought, although I didn’t really get into them until I heard Take As Needed For Pain. There was much more groove there – painstaking and agonizing groove but groove nonetheless – whereas Dopesick just seemed tortured to me; drawn out, unpleasant. I also found the production to be rather muddy, which is OK for drug-addled sludge, but the 2007 remaster rather refreshingly opens up Dopesick without losing any of its grime or disgusting sound.

Necros Christos – Doom Of The Occult (2011)

I love the mix of crushing doom metal and more traditional instrumental passages, which use all manner of different sounds to build the atmosphere. Anyone who puts a church organ on a doom record is a genius in my book. The production is also fantastic and the length of this thing, seemingly impenetrable at first, opens up the album like some sort of sprawling journey or concept album. Granted, this type of death/doom at the core here is not particularly original and may put some people off due to its limited sound palette, but for those into such things you can’t really go wrong with this album.

Electric Wizard – We Live! (2004)

Ah yes, THE Electric Wizard, everyone’s favourite dope smoking fuzz fiends. Not sure what inspired that brief name change, but I am glad they reverted back after this album. We Live! seems to be a transitional period for the band, with Jus moving the band away from their “classic” lineup and still – honestly – having not found their stride with the newer incarnation of the band. This would come in spades with Witchcult Today, but We Live! is still well worth your time. The production is fairly clear for a EW album (lol) and some of the songs are absolutely incredibly, such as the opening track as well as “Saturn’s Children”.

Gallhammer – The End (2011)

It might be the squeaky Despise You on helium vocals that put folks off after the first few songs but The End is Gallhammer at their most glacial and experimental. Worth listening to for the closing tracks alone, “Wander” and “108=7/T-NA”, the latter of which has what sounds like some sort of Zorn-like sax improvisation over it.

Slabdragger – Regress (2011)

The main selling point for Slabdragger, at least on this LP, is the phenomenal guitar tone. Crunchy, fuzzy, chewy, riffy goodness! Unfortunately, Regress fails to hold much attention for the entirety of its runtime and I attribute this to the lack of variety in its textural content; it’s all rather one dimensional, despite the songs being generally very good in isolation.

Dragged Into Sunlight & Gnaw Their Tongues – N.V. (2015)

It is unlikely that DIS will ever top Hatred For Mankind. That album was, as people like to say about these kinds of things, like lightning in a bottle. After the somewhat mixed reception of Widowmaker, DIS’ third “full length”, in this case a collaberation with the excellent Gnaw Their Tongues, is I think as close as we are ever going to get to that intense sonic explosion that was their debut. The production is infinitely better, as is the drummer, which makes the whole listening experience far less difficult than before. Personally, I think this collaberation is excellent, but it does stand in the shadow of what came before.

Edelweiss – White Flower Power (2020)

Solid but puzzling compilation of “early” Edelweiss stuff, including the White Flower Power / Yeast Of The Mind single, as well as the self titled LP and a few tracks off of the following record, Behind Our Masks. I say it’s “puzzling” because 4 tracks into the run of self-titled tracks, we get the two tracks from Behind Our Masks, before the record closes out with the finale from the self-titled, which makes the track listing a little odd. I guess it might have something to do with this compilation coming out much earlier in 2020 than Behind Our Masks did, which would make the two additional tracks here a bonus to this release. But that still doesn’t explain the running order for me. And hey, let’s be fair, it’s the band’s / DTB’s compilation and they can do what the fuck they want with it, who am I to say otherwise? All in all this is probably a good place to start with Edelweiss as it combines three early sessions. Personally though, I’d go straight to the Yeast Of The Mind EP / single, that shit rules.

Edelweiss – White Flower Power / Yeast Of The Mind (2019)

Side A is a bit kooky, with delivery not quite living up to the imagery and clever name (check out the original tape art for “White Flower Power”), but the B-side “Yeast Of The Mind” is absolutely brilliant. It is a really cool occult rock song, and genuinely sounds like it is from another era. Comparisons to BMSS are perhaps too easy, but I’ll throw it in just incase the sleeve of this EP doesn’t give you a good enough impression of what this sounds like. Worth it for side B, for sure. A great track

Edelweiss – Edelweiss (2019)

Interesting vibes, deeply entrenched in the BMSS / Assassination school of “Nazi hippy” occult rock stuff. On this debut full-length, there are some very strong moments for sure, but it feels like things could fall apart at any moment. Any sense of timekeeping or togetherness as a band “unit” feels very fragile indeed, but oddly that’s almost part of the charm.

Electric Wizard – Witchcult Today (2007)

Electric Wizard – Witchcult Today (2007)

This thing fucking slaps more witch titties than a sleazy hooded dungeon master in a shlocky 70s sexploitation flick. I may be slightly biased, as outside of the mammoth “Funeralopolis” on Dopethrone, Witchcult Today was the album that sold me on Leccy Wiz. The album I feel, despite it’s “wind tunnel” production, has some of the best stoner / doom tracks ever recorded, such as “Satanic Rites Of Drugula” and the eerily-similar in opening riff terms, “Torquemada 71”. You’ve also got “The Chosen Few” and “Dunwich” too, and these four songs alone are worth the price of entry. The one downside is that this falls apart easily on a lot of different platforms. You need a good fucking stereo system and a physical copy of the album to really get the most out of this bad boy.

Acid King – Busse Woods (1999)

Acid King – Busse Woods (1999)

Fam, these woods be straight bussin’, fr fr. Damn this shit crunchy as hell, though. It’s like the band has been to my local Chinese takeaway to sample the giant spring rolls. Then they took one of those things, no doubt all cold and soggy by the time they got it back to the studio and said, “we want this, but in guitar tone”. Like that terrible barber meme, recording engineer Billy Anderson said, “I got you, say no more”, and thus(se) Busse Woods was born. Props need to go to vocalist / guitarist Lori S, who soars over the heavy swamps of Acid King’s music. It really is a beautiful combination, and one that works so incredibly well. I’m fully aware that Acid King are not an unique band when it comes to this sort of thing, but they certainly pull it off incredibly well. Them bussy woods got me ackin up for real.

Black Magick SS – Symbols Of Great Power (2012)

Black Magick SS – Symbols Of Great Power (2012)

Where it all began for the now infamous Black Magick SS. Black metal enthusiasts will no doubt feel right at home with the muddy, distant production, but fans of even the most dusty and occult psychedelic rock may be alienated somewhat by the intense layers of fog present on this thing. Despite this (I’m not complaining, just suggesting it may be a bit much for those outside of the lo-fi worlds lol), the magic (no pun intended) was clearly there from the start, albiet in more crude and primitive forms. Symbols Of Great Power is not a record I revisit often, but it is good to know the roots of one of the best projects in this style. Below is the original (self release?) cassette cover, with the uhhh offending symbols of said power. Above is the Darker Than Black 7″ cover. Who’d have thought the DTB version would be the less sketchier one!? Ha!

Electric Wizard – Electric Wizard (1995)

Electric Wizard – Electric Wizard (1995)

Markedly different from pretty much every Electric Wizard release that would follow, the self-titled walks a different path to the fuzz-laden doped up dirge that the rest of the discography plods along to. Nevertheless, the band’s debut is still unmistakably Electric Wizard, with riffs heavier than all the matter in the universe and of course Jus’s immediately recognisable vocal style.  Don’t be fooled by the Dave Patchett cover art (as awesome as it is), this shit is still heavy as fuck. “Stone Magnet”, “Black Butterfly” and “Electric Wizard / Wooden Pipe” are all up there with the greatest tunes from the Wizard.

Candlemass – King Of The Grey Islands (2007)

Candlemass – King Of The Grey Islands (2007)

If I had to sum up King Of The Grey Islands in three words it would be chunky, doomy and consistent. Robert Lowe takes a little time to adjust to after the departure once more of Messiah (bye bye). King Of The Grey Islands is also one of those albums that I really enjoy yet doesn’t actually pop off the page for me with its cover art nor particularly thrill me when it’s coming out of the stereo, It is, by all accounts, dependable, heavy doom. Consistent, like I said.

Darkthrone – Astral Fortress (2022)

Darkthrone – Astral Fortress (2022)

I really love what Darkthrone have come back around to doing. This is some sort of very organic mix of black and doom metal, which works with a confident ease you could only attain no doubt after several decades in the game. It’s odd, because there’s not all that many people playing in this style, but it sounds like such an obvious blend of metal subgenres. Tracks like “Impeccable Caverns Of Satan” and “Stalagmite Necklace” are some of Darkthrone’s best from any era.

Marijannah – Till Marijannah (2018)

Marijannah – Till Marijannah (2018)

Would it be wrong of me to say that a stoner / doom metal album is derivative? Surely the whole genre itself now has “derivative” as a trope? Either way, Till Marijannah quickly falls into a comfortable pattern where the dizzying distortion of the guitars leads the way, followed by intense melodic vocals. If I had to compare this to anything, I would say that Marijannah was like a less-miserable Kroh; a fun listen no doubt but not one that particularily lights a fire under you. You’d think a record like this would give a guitarist like Rasyid Juraimi a good chance to spread his wings, but if you are looking for the sonic fuckery that we got from the talented stringsman on the last two Wormrot offerings then you will be sorely disappointed.

Cathedral – The Last Spire (2013)

Cathedral – The Last Spire (2013)

The Last Spire is the chunky but somewhat underwhelming final output from legendary UK doom metal band, Cathedral. The fact that I have avoided listening to this album for over a decade speaks volumes about my apprehension for finally addressing the final nail in the coffin for one of my all time favourite groups. The Last Spire then, is, a relief in some regards, because it is not a bad album. It mixes together a few eras of Cathedral, somehow going full circle to the “funeral” pace of the earlier material, whilst retaining the groove and vibe of the later stuff. For me, this album gets better as it goes on, and whilst all the songs are quite epic, the songs in the second half really speak to me in all their gothic doominess. Stand outs would include “Infestation of Grey Death”, “An Observation” and the closer “This Body, Thy Tomb”, which despite ending rather abruptly is an absolute banger. I dunno though, I expected more from Cathedral for their last hurrah. I guess they got all their experimental bones tickled on their previous record, and decided to reign in back in to skullcrushing doomery for the final goodbye. RIP Cathedral, ye shall be missed.

Pentagram – Sub-Basement (2001)

Pentagram – Sub-Basement (2001)

Sub-Basement is nowhere near as crummy as its album title or album art would perhaps lead you to believe. Whist Bobby L’s vocal style is an acquired taste, the instrumental end of this thing is some top notch doomery. Heavy, dense riffs and oddly triggered / compressed drums make for an interesting combo (especially with the vocals). Only downer for me is that it sounds like it came from a certain time and place and also isn’t the most inspired thing in the world, but either way, I really enjoyed this one.

Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know (2009)

Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know (2009)

The Devil You Know occupies an interesting space. It is – by far – the heaviest Sabbath album with Dio on vocals, with epic, doom-laden guitar playing (Geezer’s bass is off the charts here, fair play). Iommi’s relationship with Mike Exeter means of course he is at the helm here, and there can be no denying that the record sounds absolutely huge. However, my issue lies with the songwriting. When it hits, it hits, and there are some stunning performances here by all involved, primarily I would say in the first half, but there are also undeniable moments where things start to blur together, to become a plodding mush of indeterminable boredom. Thankfully, as I say, these moments are punctuating by moments of sheer brilliance; a doomy riff from Iommi here, or a particulary stunning vocal croon from Dio there. I feel that maybe a 1/3 could have been shaved from the running time here and this album would have been all the stronger for it.

Om – Pilgrimage (2007)

Om – Pilgrimage (2007)

I played the absolute fuck out of this record back when I was a greasy 20-something stoner with nothing else to do with my life. Whilst still longer than most band’s tunes, the shorter run times to the tracks, even with the reprising nature of themes here, definitely helps Om keep things more varied and interesting. “Bhimas Theme” is one of the group’s best songs from any era. RYM review writing fun fact: Today I learned that Steve Albini produced this thing, which actually blew my mind. I can usually sniff out his involvment in something I’m listening to a mile off, but I totally missed the pairing here.

Om – Conference Of The Birds (2006)

Om – Conference Of The Birds (2006)

Mood is definitely important when it comes to earlier Om recordings. The line between this being fantastic or infinitely boring is indeed a fine one, thankfully I’ve really been craving the long-form meditative qualities of work like Conference Of The Birds recently, so I’ve been returning to this album for the first time in a very long while. 15+ minute tracks built around repetitive bass structures is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, let alone their path to enlightenment, but if this is for you and you can get into it, the journey can be a rewarding one. There is a beauty woven into this album’s initial simplicity, and a few repeat listens will actually reveal an underlying complexity to proceedings.

Cathedral – Caravan Beyond Redemption (1998)

Cathedral – Caravan Beyond Redemption (1998)

Peak “woah dude” era Cathedral, where the funky, proggy, stoner elements were at their height. This was before they returned to their heavy roots with albums like Endtyme and VIIth Coming, so one does wonder what made the band change direction like this (only to turn back to the trippier side of life with albums like The Guessing Game). Andy Sneap produced this one, so whilst it isn’t the Woolven / Cathedral dream team, it still sounds absolutely massive and clear as day. On a song by song basis, the album is very entertaining, and those who enjoy the more “fun” elements to Cathedral’s sound will be right at home. On top of that, “Satanikus Robotikus” is one of the best song names ever penned, and “Voodoo Fire” one of the band’s best tracks from any era. Caravan Beyond Redemption only pales in comparison when you put it up against the other records from Cathedral, of which there are many that are better than this, both from earlier and later in the discography.

Cathedral – The VIIth Coming (2002)

Cathedral – The VIIth Coming (2002)

The 7th Coming possesses a strange duality in that it is both underrated and also somewhat mediocre. It takes the heaviness that the band brought back on Endtyme and then mixed in some of the more “totally cosmic, bro” vibes that the band had on Supernatural Birth Machine etc. I will say that the production here is a bit better than Endtyme, with Kit Woolven back on engineering duties. Kit (RIP) and Cathedral are a fantastic match, he brings a much needed clarity to the muddy bogs of mid-paced groovy doom metal, which definitely gives this record its edge and stops it from becoming Endtyme II (which wouldn’t be a bad thing, just a touch stagnant).

Cathedral – The Carnival Bizarre (1995)

Cathedral – The Carnival Bizarre (1995)

Huggy Bear, oh yeeeeahhh! Cathedral were on a roll in the early to mid 90s, culmulating I’d say, with this absolute stonker of an album. Things slowly started to cool off after this, but goddamn, the band are on fire on this thing. First off, the production is huge. It takes away some of the chonk of The Ethereal Mirror and instead heaps on a bit of frosty clarity. Kit Woolven (RIP) and Doug Cook had the production on this thing locked the fuck down. The drums are perfect, every single drum hit pierces the mix clearly, without sounding false or triggered. The guitar tone is just unreal, as are Gaz’s riffs in general (as well as the groove section from the hideously underrated Leo Smee). Hey, let’s not also forget – rifflord Tony Iommi is also on here, I believe shredding the solo out in “Utopian Blaster”. I think the opening section to “Night Of The Seagulls” has to be one of my favourite things of all time in any genre from any band. That riff, with the string bend, and the slightly off-time bell or chime going in the background… good heavens, that’s some good shit, for real. But yeah, this whole album, all 62 minutes of it, rocks the fuck out. The OG psych-doom revival.

Nadja – Radiance Of Shadows (2007)

Nadja – Radiance Of Shadows (2007)

My friend put this album on my computer sometime in 2008. I just didn’t get it at the time. It seemed boring, pretentious, overly long. I tried a few times over the years to get into it, but I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t for a lack of patience, I love artists such as Sunn O))), Merzbow, Swans etc. – further to this, returning randomly to the album in 2023, some 15 years later after originally hearing it, and well… I like it hahah Parts of this thing are just absolutely outstanding. Totally crushing walls of sound. However, perhaps expectedly, it takes a while to get there, and this is not always perfect. I don’t know if all this stuff is improvised or what, but a lot of the runtime seems to go absolutely nowhere. I’ve got no problem with sticking with a piece of music as it builds into something enormous, but for large periods of time, Radiance Of Shadows seems to meander without purpose or meaning. Minutes at a time sail by without circumstance, or without contributing or relating at all it seems to any climax of any individual track. TLDR: when it’s good, it’s incredible. When it’s bad, it’s so boring I begin to wonder if drinking paint will be more fun. So, in retrospect, this gets a 3.5 / 5 from me, because when it hits, its almost totally perfect. It just takes forever to get there.

Electric Wizard – Let Us Prey (2002)

Electric Wizard – Let Us Prey (2002)

Let Us Prey perhaps lives in the shadow of Dopethrone and therefore doesn’t get the attention it may deserve. However, after giving it a go several times, it is a fairly inoffensive offering from Electric Wizard that fails to really ignite any fire for me. That is of course not to say that the album is bad – it is well recorded, executed and is very consistent across its entire runtime. There are however, for me, no stand-out tracks, and when this is the case, up against some of the more monolithic offerings from the band’s various line-ups, my attention will always be drawn to albums other than this one.

Black Sabbath – Live at Last (1980)

Black Sabbath – Live at Last (1980)

I love the spacey vibe of the artwork for this thing. Also, the sound is crystal clear. I can sit here for hours opining on how great Sabbath were in the early days, or about the logistics of this thing being released and whether it was official or a bootleg. But, all that matters is, that this is a decent window into how the guys sounded back then. Most folk will no doubt have heard this material these days on the Past Lives double CD.

Ancestors – In Dreams and Time (2012)

Ancestors – In Dreams and Time (2012)

Fantastic production, and a lovely heavy guitar tone. First impressions have me feeling that this is like a cross between Anathema and Neurosis, but unfortunately nowhere near as interesting as either of those bands. I can only echo sentiments that have already been declared by others: this doesn’t really go anywhere and is more of a task to sit through than a trip you can get lost in – which is a real shame because, as I said, this has been written and recorded to a very high standard.

Goblin Cock – Bagged And Boarded (2005)

Goblin Cock – Bagged And Boarded (2005)

Well then. Goblin Cock was recommended to me by Spotify, and I simply had to check it out immediately because of the audacity of the name. What I did not expect was metal in the doom / stoner style, unusual in the way that it sounds entirely typical yet also as if something is completely off and wrong. It’s as if aliens heard early Sabbath and maybe some Kyuss and then decided to make some music in that style. Or perhaps more topically, if AI could make doom metal, it might sound like this. Let’s be real here though, the doom / stoner / rock scenes are flooded already with mediocre bands to the point beyond saturation, so is another terrible band, albeit one that appears to be a purposeful parody, even at all remotely needed? Granted, Goblin Cocks seems to predate the stoner doom bubble but my point stands. Listening to this is a waste of time for absolutely anyone.

The Gates Of Slumber – Suffer No Guilt (2006)

The Gates Of Slumber – Suffer No Guilt (2006)

Saw these guys live a few times back in the day but never considered myself a fan, so was very surprised to find this CD when rummaging through old CDs in the attic. I have absolutely no idea where it came from. It sounds just as I remember Gates Of Slumber to sound, and my 3 year old seems to enjoy it (lmao), but there’s just something about this I cannot enjoy. Some of the songs outstay their welcome for me. Turns out this is sought after quite a bit, so I sold it on (it was snapped up very quickly for very cheap lol) to someone who will no doubt appreciate it a lot more than I do. I will say however the production of this thing is very well done.

Majestic Mass – Savage Empire Of Death (2018)

Majestic Mass – Savage Empire Of Death (2018)

For how incredible its album cover is, Savage Empire Of Death does not disappoint. Imagine black metal stylings crossed with sleazy doomy rock (Satan’s Satyrs, Mephistopheles etc.) and you wouldn’t be far off here. In fact, just imagine Black Magick SS with a little less keyboard and a lot less swastikas, and you’re bang on the money. The production is pretty nasty, but that lends much more to the atmosphere and vibe than what it takes away in audio fidelity. Expect such fantastical ditties as “Clandestine Supremacy” and “Sanguine Dreams Of Lust”. Expect to develop a desire to burn candles, smoke opium and watch banned b-movies exclusively in the VHS format.

Hail Conjurer – Ouroboros Lust (2023)

Hail Conjurer – Ouroboros Lust (2023)

One look at that cover art and I had to check this out, even more so when I saw the associated artists for this project were Pussies and Hooded Menace, two bands I would have never put in the same sentence. Hail Conjurer have a ton of recordings but this is the first that I have come across and after a few listens now I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it. The immediate musical aesthetic is one of black metal, but has this weird, off-kilter approach to such that it doesn’t really fit under that banner. Equally, Ouroboros Lust is as doomy as it is black, but outside of some weepy riffs this doesn’t really hold that much in common with doom either. Throw in a bunch of noisy passages and sizzling electronic pads and you’ve got an unholy cauldron of sounds that jumps around in utter confusion. But does it work? One could argue yes, that it does. Others could say that it’s a bit of a clusterfuck. Both would be right. What I do know however is that you’d be best tuning in and deciding for yourself. It is an interesting journey, if nothing else. Stand out track: Two Stars

Candlemass – Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)

Candlemass – Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)

Epicus Doomicus Metallicus is beyond legendary, especially for a band that has spanned many decades (and many vocalists), but has also stayed fairly true to their core doom metal roots. And that core element is exactly what is on display here in this debut, in its truest and rawest form. That last sentence sounds like maybe I am talking about a black metal band, but what I mean to say is, is that later iterations of Candlemass come with varying degrees of cheese and pomp (in particular the Messiah era lol), but Epicus Doomicus Metallus is exactly what it says it is. It is the Ronseal of epic doom metal. The production is, perhaps expectedly, a lovely warm analogue sound, where the compositions really breathe. The highlight of the songs for me is, as with all Candlemass (and most doom metal actually), the riffs, which are beyond magical. How can something so heavy be so catchy? I was lucky to catch the guys playing this at Roadburn festival in its entirety so I think that definitely gave me a much deeper appreciation of this record. It’s also really cool that as of 2023, Candlemass have come full circle and now have their original vocalist back. Good times. TLDR: essential doom metal listening.

Dark Quarterer – Dark Quarterer (1987)

Dark Quarterer – Dark Quarterer (1987)

My first impressions of Dark Quarterer were that of a poor man’s Messiah-era Candlemass. But, I gave this record a chance and damn, did it grow on me. What an interesting display of sounds. The production is garbage, the vocals are just… weird and the overall vibe is of classic or occult rock but after few grams too many in the pot whilst making the mushroom tea. It’s like, aliens observing from space saw rock and doom and all that, and decided to make their own. I mean that in the best way.

Thergothon – Stream From The Heavens (1994)

Thergothon – Stream From The Heavens (1994)

I’ve always viewed Thergothon as something as a test of patience. I don’t recall what it was that had me coming back to this album after all these years but it finally clicked for me. I’m not stranger to slow, strangled and horrible music, but there’s always been something different about Thergothon’s cosmic glacial affront. All in all, a solid album.

Kroh – Altars (2016)

Kroh – Altars (2016)

Altars is the Kroh comeback record, released a few years after the original self-titled. This time, the band have a new vocalist in tow, in the form of Oliwia, giving a more occult rock feel than the original vocalist , who brought a more Goatsnake / Kyuss level of vibe to proceedings. The production is great and Oliwia is a brilliant addition, but the stand out element here has to be Mick Kenny’s (sp) crunching guitar tone, which stands unique even in today’s saturated market of HM-2 worship. Its like, instantly, as soon as the guitar rings out, you know its the dude from Fukpig.

Anathema – The Silent Enigma (1995)

Anathema – The Silent Enigma (1995)

Quite a beautiful album, and one that I have admittedly often neglected. I’m not really sure why, because I enjoy the shit out of Serenades, Pentacost III and the other doomier stuff by this ever-evolving band. As I said though, there a larger beauteous element to this one. It perhaps holds back a bit in true, impactful metallic force; the harrowing sonic battlefield of Serenades is perhaps now grown over with various flowers and fauna. To me, The Silent Enigma is also noteworthy for having Vincent performing “metal vocals” in the vein of his predecessor Darren White. After hearing countless records led with his soft singing voice, it is actually quite a treat to hear him get all gravely and angry. I won’t spot in on individual tracks, as the record is best consumed as a whole, I’d say. I will quickly mention though, my CD version (in one of those weird late 2000s era jewel cases) contains an orchestral version of the title track as well as “Sleepless 96”, a re-recording of the classic updated for these sessions.

Reverend Bizarre – II: Crush The Insects (2005)

Reverend Bizarre – II: Crush The Insects (2005)

I’ve always loved the production on this record and that super chunky yet warm sound works when the band are playing rousing party-doom or even the slowest, bleakest musical creation that they can conjure up. Speaking of both of these styles, II: Crush The Insects is comprised of both of them. Be fooled not by opening trio of “Doom Over The World”, “The Devil Rides Out” and “Cromwell” (watch out for the bass chords in “Cromwell”, oh my Lord!). Track four, “Slave Of Satan” is like hitting a brick wall and the record continues much in this vein to completion.  If the slower pace is not bothersome to you, then it is well worth joining Sir Albert Witchfinder for the full journey in doom. No doubt this is considered a classic of the genre nowadays.

Eyehategod – Take As Needed For Pain (1993)

Eyehategod – Take As Needed For Pain (1993)

A pillar of the sludge world, both as a band in Eyehategod and as an album. This record is a pure classic. There is few things that can touch it for pure sleaze and alcohol / narcotic fuelled depression. Opening track “Blank” sets the pace and really, if you are only ever gonna listen to one Eyehategod song, make it this one. The remaining tracks are filled out with such ditties as “30$ Bag”, and the charmingly-named “Sisterfucker” (parts 1 and 2). Let’s not forget “White Nigger”, which despite its offensive name, feeds and loops back heavily into the overarching themes of poverty, desperation and drug use that permeat this whole thing. Truly, this album is a disturbing listen but one that comes with a rusty pickup truck full of intense groovy riffs to drive that message home.

Wolvserpent – Aporia:Kāla:Ananta (2016)

Wolvserpent – Aporia:Kāla:Ananta (2016)

I remember hearing this when it came out and struggling to really get my head around what they were trying to do. Personally, I’ve had a go at this several times over the year but have always failed to make it through to completion. Why am I still trying? Well, the concept of it is right up my street. Longform, intense songs covering a gamut of extreme metal genres, including other stuff like noise and atmospherics. What’s not to love? In the case of Aporia:Kāla:Ananta, which is 1 solid 40 minute track, it comes across like a much more serious and grown-up version of Abruptum. Less chaos, more menance.

Serenity – Then Came Silence (1995)

Serenity – Then Came Silence (1995)

I got given this tape by someone at Leeds Deathfest in either 2009 or 2010. I can’t remember who it was, which is really annoying – it may have been someone from Lazarus Blackstar. But anyway, it was one of the dudes who played in this band too. I never really played it all that much, always losing interest after a few songs. I decided this week to finally play through the whole thing and I just can’t get into it. The music isn’t an issue. It’s a tidy go at the British template of doom metal that was so prevalent in the 90s, but I just can’t get into the vocals at it. It’s not that the fella can’t sing or anything, he reminds me of Goatsnake’s Peter Stahl in many ways, I just don’t think it really works with this kind of music. I had a similar issue with Kroh’s debut record, before they switched to the female vocals / occult rock vibe. I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t work for me. It was nice to look back at a time and a place whilst listening to this, though.

Anathema – Serenades (1993)

Anathema – Serenades (1993)

Serenades is another one of those records that I have heard probably hundreds of times. In my teens it quickly became one of my favourite doom metal records, and I remember going to watch Anathema in 2007 at a festival without having any idea they had changed into the whole indie / post-rock thing. What a shock I had haha Anyways, I love this. I’ve made the point on several other record blogs now, that this shares a closeness in production to Cradle Of Filth’s Principle Of Evil Made Flesh, My Dying Bride’s Turn Loose The Swans, amongst others. What is unique however, is the brothers Cavanagh and their mesmerising, weeping riffage, accompanied by Darren White’s guttural, forlorn voice. The band would become a pillar of this British approach to doom metal, before of course abandoning it completely. Oh, and “Sleepless” is one of the greatest songs ever written.

The Blood Divine – Mystica (1997)

The Blood Divine – Mystica (1997)

This is the second and final album from The Blood Divine, the band featuring several members of Principle-era COF, as well as Darren White from Anathema. Mystica is a refreshing journey, actually. The first album is a solid and fine lesson in 90s British doom (arguably the best doom?), but Mystica goes off in several unpredictable directions. There are a lot of rock and blues parts, and the keyboard playing is absolutely excellent in this regard, with some really suave organ sounds on the go. It’s odd for a gothic doom metal band to go this way, but honestly it really works and this lost gem is a fabulous listen.

The Blood Divine – Awaken (1996)

The Blood Divine – Awaken (1996)

These guys are like the Audioslave of the mid 90s doom scene. When the Principle Of Evil Made Flesh lineup of Cradle Of Filth left en-mass, they teamed up with the ex-Anathema vocalist Darren White to produce what (I thought) was initially a very similar, sombre doom metal outfit. Joined by a new bass and drum section, the six piece wasted no time in dropping two albums a year apart. The first, Awaken, is an extremely well crafted piece of metallic work, although I must say it sounds a bit dated now, if only in the production style. Not to shit on anyone else who performed on this record, but my favourite parts are the keyboard lines by Ben Ryan, whose work in proto and early Cradle I always heavily appreciated, and despite enjoying the direction Anathema took without him, I feel that the band lost a tour-de-force in Darren White. The man is an incredibly strong frontman, with a distinct and powerful voice which lends itself enormously to this mournful compositions.

Agathocles / Department Of Correction – Split 12″ (2014)

Agathocles / Department Of Correction – Split 12″ (2014)

D.O.C. can fuckin blast! Production is thick and chunky and the drums are probably triggered (legit kudos if they aren’t because they sound clear as day). Aural carnage is of course the order of the day, with several tracks of frenetic, chaotic grindcore to liven up your day. On the contrary, Agathocles offer something slow and disgusting, which is an interesting angle for these kings of mincecore. Despite the drop in production quality compared to D.O.C., I’m down with this bizarre brand of Agathosludge and would love to hear more from the guys in this vein. Tidy split!

θoʊθ – Ruins of Gubla (2021)

θoʊθ – Ruins of Gubla (2021)

You’d think the market was already saturated when it comes to ancient Egyptian themed death metal? However this interestingly named project show us that there is room for more than one leviathan obsessed with said subject matter. Ruins Of Gubla is a dusty, down-tuned tape demo style approach to gloriously muddy death doom. The riffs are absolutely huge and are of course the centrepiece of this 4 track work. Imagine if Disembowelment and Nile had a baby. Oh, and the name translate to Thoth. Tidy.

Hogslayer – Defacer (2015)

Hogslayer – Defacer (2015)

Hogslayer were big news at one point, at least in the Welsh underground scene. I remember catching their headline set at Red Sun Festival 2015 and being blown away at how many people were in the room. I’d never seen Cardiff’s Moon Club so full (RIP, to the upstairs part at least!). I’ve had this album on my review list since it’s release. I’ve never made it past the first couple of tracks. I’ve always chalked this up to just not being in the mood for sludge or doom, but today when I sat down to listen to it in its entirety, I had to turn it off by track 6. I’m very particular about hearing a record in its entirety and its very rare that I will actually do this, even if I don’t like something. But by track 6, I felt that I’d heard enough. No disrespect intended, I don’t know if it’s the production, but it’s all a bit too samey for me.

Jex Thoth – Jex Thoth (2008)

Jex Thoth – Jex Thoth (2008)

I saw Jex Thoth once (fronting Sabbath Assembly), and whilst there is something a bit magical about that band, I prefer her “solo” work (even though this is a band all in of itself). This has a bit more stonery crunch and fuzz to the guitars, a bit more of a dirtier sound and a bit more go to it, where I found Sabbath Assembly to be quite pensive. Granted, there are larger themes at work here, there’s a whole section of tracks about the Equinox, but the material on this self-titled album is gorgeous, hard, fuzzy rock. 10/10.

The Oath – The Oath (2014)

The Oath – The Oath (2014)

Has it really been 7 years since this came out? Haha! Damn, my priorities are all over the place. Granted, I got very tired very quickly with the whole occult rock revival thing, but thats no excuse to take 7 years to review something. The Oath are pretty good to be fair, with decent amounts of occult swagger tinting this fairly safe play on the rock and roll template. The extremely-levelled-off production also compromises to this innate blandness which permeates proceedings. Its not bad, just… give it a bit more dynamic next time, please drive.

Amorphis – Tales From The Thousand Lakes (1994)

Amorphis – Tales From The Thousand Lakes (1994)

Is it death metal or is it doom metal? Who cares? Immediately from the speakers comes one of the sickest and dirgiest tones in metal history, with a phenomenal analogue production job to capture it. Sparse flurries of synthesizers punctuate the heavy, yet without becoming hammy or overpowering. Why have I never heard Amorphis before? Add in the absolute banger that is the cover art and you’ve got yourself an incredible all-rounder.

Cathedral – The Ethereal Mirror (1993)

Cathedral – The Ethereal Mirror (1993)

So come on! The Ethereal Mirror is a markedly different album from Cathedral’s debut, but this sophomore full length did kinda set the pace (or more like, the tone) for how the band would progress through the majority of the 90s. Eschewing deathly slow pace, and instead ramping up the groove, we have some all-time classics here, like “Ride” or “Enter World Of Worms”. Doom on, folks.

Mephistofeles – Whore (2017)

Mephistofeles – Whore (2017)

Whore is an earlier album by the super-hyped Mephistofeles. Whilst I think Whore is better than Satan Sex Ceremonies I’m still not particularly wild about this project. I love the aesthetic, and the guitar tone, and that’s about it for me. Anyways, I’ve done two albums, I’ve tired to get into them. I guess we’ll just leave it at that for now! LOL.

Goatsnake – Flower Of Disease (2000)

Goatsnake – Flower Of Disease (2000)

Goatsnake have always been slow and bluesey, but Flower Of Disease sees them going lower and heavier than before. The band have always had groove, but multiple times through this journey things slow to an absolute crawl, without getting boring or drawn out. Personally, I love Goatsnake’s doom metal meets desert rock approach, the weight of which can only be helped home by the colossal riffs of Sunn O)))’s Greg Anderson. I see Flower Of Disease as the older brother to Black Age Blues; they both have very similar vibes and the latter is definitely a continuation (see the last track here and the first track there). Long live Goatsnake!

Parish – God’s Right Hand (2020)

Parish – God’s Right Hand (2020)

Trad metal with enough of a sleazy swagger that you would usually find in occult rock and so on. God’s Right Hand is a fairly short outing, but it’s incredibly well made and the production is also fantastic and crystal clear, but without losing much charm. I look forward to seeing what these guys come up with next. I believe the record store (read: crypt) Crypt Of The Wizard helped to put this out.

Bongripper – Sex Tape / Snuff Film (2011)

Bongripper – Sex Tape / Snuff Film (2011)

Bongripper are one of those special bands that can be heavily enjoyed whilst driving or playing games. The absence of vocals seems odd at first, even in such drawn out doomy compositions, but those mesmerising riffs are there to take you on journeys my friend, and on journeys you will go! Things are a bit shorter here than on say, Hippie Killer or Satan Worshipping Doom, but that’s not to say things are not just as good.

My Dying Bride – Turn Loose The Swans (1993)

My Dying Bride – Turn Loose The Swans (1993)

When you wanna hark back and lose yourself in “that” 90s British doom metal sound, there are only a handful of albums that really hit the spot. Turn Loose The Swans is one of them, a drab, harrowing affair of doom-laden misery. Heavy riffs, downtrodden drumming, miserable vocals, morose synthesizers or pianos, and THAT dense, dry production with the middle sucked out of it. Chunky, low end guitars and percussion with sharp treble accents. It’s a strange approach, but one that worked so well here, and on Anathema’s Serenades, even on Cradle Of Filth’s Principle Of Evil Made Flesh. They don’t make ’em like this no more, that’s for sure!

Electric Wizard – Black Masses (2010)

Electric Wizard – Black Masses (2010)

When it first came out, it took me a while to get used to the sound on Black Masses. The entire thing sounds like it was recorded in a wind tunnel. It wasn’t until I heard a vinyl press over at a friend’s house, that it made a little more sense to me. Granted, it still sounds a bit hollow, even on IEM earpieces, but there are some great songs here. Try to listen to “Venus In Furs” without hearing “my penis, it burns”. There we go, I’ve ruined that song for ya. Sorry!

Weedeater – Jason… The Dragon (2011)

Weedeater – Jason… The Dragon (2011)

Would you like some extra fuzz with your riffs? Then look no further than Weedeater’s Jason The Dragon, which is so heavy, its actually come full circle and is actually a pleasure to listen to, rather than a disgusting, uncomfortable experience. Let Jason fly you away on a pillow of enormous riffs, drifting off to cosmic lands unknown. Only, when you finally land, you’re outside a dive bar that only serves whiskey. Yeah.

Black Tomb – Black Tomb (2016)

Black Tomb – Black Tomb (2016)

It always pains me when it comes to doing negative reviews of a band that clearly has their shit together. If the band was downright awful then it wouldn’t be so bad. Unfortunately for Black Tomb, who are seemingly proficient musicians, they come across as a poor man’s Electric Wizard, and not as much else. I mean, this is doom metal folks, nothing is original here. But, there is nothing endearing, memorable or even interesting about this Wizard-by-numbers plodder of an album.

Black Magick SS – Kaleidoscope Dreams (2017)

Black Magick SS – Kaleidoscope Dreams (2017)

This is one of those things where I cannot remember for the life of me where I picked the recommendation up from. Musically, its not something that I would usually listen to, but I found myself falling in love with Black Magick SS’ occult rock swagger. Hey, maybe its just everything I ever wanted Ghost to be, except not shit, and with a black metal influence. Whichever way you cut it, this shit fucking rocks. However… It wasn’t until I had listened to it a few times however, and decided to check out Discogs to suss if its ever been put on cassette, that I noticed that the release was banned from sale in the marketplace. It was then that I noticed the sheer amount of swastikas in the cover painting! Like, what the fuck haha (inb4 there’s SS in the name, there’s a ton of bands with SS in the name)! Can anyone shed any light on whether this is a fascist or white supremacist band? I’m not one to knee-jerk react, nor to condemn perhaps risky flirtation with controversial imagery, but if these guys are Neo Dickheads then I’ll be refrained from listening to any more of their stuff.

Acid King – Zoroaster (1995)

Acid King – Zoroaster (1995)

The guitar tones on this are just absolutely filthy. Overall the sound is massive yet a little dry, but the guitar fuzz is absolutely perfect, as are the strained yet often drenched in reverb vocals. For slow, stoned and treacly riffs, there really is no need to look any further.

Mephistofeles – Satan Sex Ceremonies (2020)

Mephistofeles – Satan Sex Ceremonies (2020)

There has been a lot of hype around this band as of late. Vinyl prices for Satan Sex Ceremonies (and I’m sure, other releases from them) are nothing short of extortionate. Perhaps then, I went into this album with too much of an expectation. The art too, conjurs up an unique sense of sleaze and evil, of which the sound does not match. Mephistofeles play laid back stoner rock in the vein of Electric Wizard et al. Muddy analogue sounds driven by washed out vocal performances and sleazy riffs, like the soundtrack to the big fight at the end of a sexploitation movie. All of this is well and truly up my street. Why then, do I feel an emptiness or even a boredom whilst listening to this? One must attribute such to the previously mentioned hype that this record recieved. This reminded me why I got bored of the doom metal circlejerk in the first place. I will happily give Mephistofeles another chance, but I am dissapointed by this album, that I cannot deny.

Rectal Smegma – Become The Bitch (2013)

Rectal Smegma – Become The Bitch (2013)

Become The Bitch is the delightfully titled third album from Dutch party goregrind legends, Rectal Smegma. Here, the Smegma have chunked out further since their first release. Gone mostly are the party vibes and tupa tupa grooves, instead a more punishing death metal sound is utilised, through a chunky production that is heavy yet crystal clear (that bass sound, aye aye aye!). What makes Rectal Smegma sound apart from other bands of this style though is of course the world-class pitchshifter vokills.

Sleep – Sleep’s Holy Mountain (1992)

Sleep – Sleep’s Holy Mountain (1992)

Listening back now after all these years, I can more or less hear the youth oozing out of the speakers. Coming on like an acid-drenched Sabbath, Holy Mountain contains none of the bong-addled fuzz of later recordings, instead focuses on more concise and groove-led tracks. A classic of the doom and stoner genres whichever way you cut the cake.

Winter – Into Darkness (1990)

Winter – Into Darkness (1990)

Winter are legendary in the world of slow and heavy music. I had the pleasure to catch them live at one of the early 2010’s era Roadburn festivals (I forget which), so it was nice to return to these guys after so many years of not listening to them. Into Darkness is a slow, dirgy romp through well crafted metal tunage. Sometimes you gotta go back to the classics for that decent hit of metallic goodness.

Dragged Into Sunlight – Widowmaker (2012)

Dragged Into Sunlight – Widowmaker (2012)

Widowmaker is – unfortunately – a disappointing followup to the all out carnage that was presented to us on Hatred For Mankind. Even today, it is hard to find such a densely evil recording. One could argue that the bar was set too high by the band’s debut, but there was a myriad of different ways their intense and meandering sound could have progressed. Sadly, a lot of Widowmaker is boring where instead it should be introspective, and the heavy parts never really meet the heights of what came before. I’m glad I went back to this after so many years since its release, and I absolutely love Dragged Into Sunlight in general, but this one was a bit of a miss-step.

Type O Negative – October Rust (1996)

Type O Negative – October Rust (1996)

October Rust is quite possibly the perfect album for autumn. Here, Steele et al hone their gothic rock chops and stray away – for the most part – from the doom metal and punk elements that coursed through their first few records. I read somewhere that Pete Steele wanted more “chicks” to be fans of the band, and that says it all with this album. The production is cold and dense, and the gorgeous keyboard playing leads most if not all of these songs. Steele’s vocals and bass are heavily prominant, the latter having a washed out chorus effect over it which is bizarre but it works with the overall vibe. Aside from the big hits as it were, it has been some considerable time since I revisited a lot of the tracks on this record, but I’m glad that I did, in time for Halloween, and in time the for golden leaves to fall in their thousands.

Thorr’s Hammer – Dommedagsnatt (1996)

Thorr’s Hammer – Dommedagsnatt (1996)

Haunting, beautiful and heavy doom metal from this proto-Sunn group. The vocal performances from Runhild Gammelsæter are stunning, a foil to the boggy doom of the band themselves. There is a dense Norse kinda feel here (hey, maybe its just the runes on the cover, eh). The only real downside is that there are only two studio recordings here, the rest of the record is made up of live or rehearsal recordings. The drop in quality isn’t so bad after an adjustment, but its still a bit of a dissapointment, considering how short this EP is.

Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper (2017)

Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper (2017)

I’ve read a lot of hype about this Mirror Reaper record over the last few months, especially when looking for new metal music. Can’t say that I am familiar at all with the works of Bell Witch, so going in blind I was expecting something in the vein of Sleep’s Dopesmoker. Colour me surprised then, when I found that this album was a more ambient affair. Mirror Reaper swells and builds, from the smallest sound to the largest slab of crushing doom. In a perhaps off-hand comparison as I recently listened to it, this is what Dragged Into Sunlight’s Widowmaker record should have sounded like, if you swap the doom for the death. Anyway, this is crushingly heavy and not afraid to go over a few set boundaries. Mirror Reaper is deserving of its reputation and I look forward to hearing more material by Bell Witch.