Category Archives: Doom Metal

Doom Metal encompasses a large spectrum, but the chief trait is the slow tempo and melancholy riffs. Vocals can be clean or gruff, and in some cases completely ruined by gay black metal screeching. Orchestral instruments and operatic vocals are not uncommon.

Draconian – Sovran (Napalm Records)

When I heard the first song i thought that the singer from WITHIN TEMPTATION had switched bands.  I intentionally never read the press releases or album notes before I listen because I my impression needs to be based on what I hear.  Getting back to the vocals, I really did think that there was a guest-vocal appearance which gave Draconian a new flavor.  Afterward, i discovered that the band actually has a new vocalist.  Despite singing in the same style as her WITHIN TEMPTATION counterpart, she beautifies the songs.  If you haven’t heard DRACONIAN before, they combine several ideas, often melancholic, but not adhering to any on style, like doom or goth.  It’s a hybrid that works very well.  The contrast between angelic female vocals and gruff male vocals is not as stark as in early THEATRE OF TRAGEDY.  You can discern every word, which brings the poetry to you for easier ingestion.   I have enjoyed every DRACONIAN album and was pleasantly surprised by the change of vocals.  The voice is quite beautiful. Each album has moments that stay in the imagination for a long time. If you enjoy being haunted by songs, then take a chance on this band.

Draconian - Sovran
Draconian – Sovran

Shape of Despair – Shades of… (Spikefarm)

This album is mortal to my ears, for it makes me a dead man, ebbing in a slow tide, rife with dread. The drone lulls me into a blackness where mere moments ago I beheld the world, and now my eyes are organs of the mind. On this stark canvas, the music makes a brush of every instrument, and woeful colors depict such scenes as only could be made by the feelings this album inspires. 
The slow, plodding rhythm appears harmless, but it guides the imagination into depths without noting the passage of consciousness, and then the altered state is achieved without memory of the inner journey. This is when the theater of the mind opens, and no one can possibly know the same experience. 
No such descent can remain without a guide, and the rumble of a demon god assures no joy can be felt in this sinking plane. So terrible is the tone, yet the voice deepens the trance. It is as a flame that causes no flesh to recoil. 
All the while, despair overtakes the heart, and the pulse becomes a drum which compels life to move toward death. Amid the crushing threnody rides soprano so haunting that the sky could have released black angels and even they could not match the impact of the voices. This, coupled with the morose synthesizer, creates such despair that the only thing preventing suicide is the longing to hear the music again. 
This band has made a grand contribution to atmospheric doom, introducing fresh elements and exhibiting a rare creativity that I hope will become appreciated by people who otherwise see nothing in such dark music. Hasten to the vendor, for it would be a painful regret to have missed the opportunity to know this music. How many things have you let fall between your fingers, out of your grasp forever? 
I am the herald who sounds the warning

Departe – Failure, Subside (Season of Mist)

I was turned off by the muddy production at first, but as I listened I realized that i wasn’t going to hear something cliche or easy to define.  What had initially been deemed hazy became atmospheric. This made me want to hear more, and so I knew that the lights had to be turned off.  It was time for an inner journey.

The guitars created a wall of sound,  Rather than sadden with melody, they chilled with icy notes.  This wasn’t a flow.  This was an ever-present moment of agony.  These weren’t riffs, per se, but musical accompaniments to inner horror.  Ghastly chords chimed hauntingly as I was pulled deeper.  This music created a mental place.

Whenever there was melody, it was never a repeated theme – more like remembrance of dark times, as if I were recalling moments of pain, each summoned memory replacing the one that was re-lived moments before..

Stertorous voices expressed the torture of the words.  As I descended into madness, there came a passage in “Ashes in Bloom” that was like the parting of clouds, but the sky behind was more terrifying.  Inside this new patch of sound, the voice suddenly changed to that of an intensely emotional bard.    I felt as if the song had purposely prepared me to be crushed.  This is mastery.

As powerful as the ideas are, the methods are not used for each song.  The heartfelt singing does not burst into every song, nor does it bear the same qualities upon every appearance.  The only predictable thing about this album is that it will immerse the listener in gloom.  

“Sing, oh children of loss, your cracked hands grasping for wonder in emptiness”

Draconian – Sovran (Napalm Records)

When I heard the first song i thought that the singer from WITHIN TEMPTATION had switched bands.  I intentionally never read the press releases or album notes before I listen because I my impression needs to be based on what I hear.  Getting back to the vocals, I really did think that there was a guest-vocal appearance which gave Draconian a new flavor.  Afterward, i discovered that the band actually has a new vocalist.  Despite singing in the same style as her WITHIN TEMPTATION counterpart, she beautifies the songs.  If you haven’t heard DRACONIAN before, they combine several ideas, often melancholic, but not adhering to any on style, like doom or goth.  It’s a hybrid that works very well.  The contrast between angelic female vocals and gruff male vocals is not as stark as in early THEATRE OF TRAGEDY.  You can discern every word, which brings the poetry to you for easier ingestion.   I have enjoyed every DRACONIAN album and was pleasantly surprised by the change of vocals.  The voice is quite beautiful. Each album has moments that stay in the imagination for a long time. If you enjoy being haunted by songs, then take a chance on this band.

Esoteric – The Maniacal Vale (Season of Mist)

The greatest, most visionary atmospheric doom band ever formed has created yet another masterpiece. Esoteric is so rich with sound that to hear their music is to attend the theater of the mind. If you’ve never heard them before, don’t just get this album, get everything they ever made! Then buy some expensive headphones and close your eyes. It is the farthest you will go without physically leaving. Every day there is a moment I reflect upon how lucky I am to have discovered this incredible sound. I shudder to think that there could actually be something better, for I do not think I could survive the ecstasy of the experience

Shape of Despair – Shades of… (Spikefarm)

This album is mortal to my ears, for it makes me a dead man, ebbing in a slow tide, rife with drear. The drone lulls me into a blackness where mere moments ago I beheld the world, and now my eyes are organs of the mind. On this stark canvas, the music makes a brush of every instrument, and woeful colors do depict such scenes as only could be made by the feelings this album inspires.
The slow, plodding rhythm appears harmless, but it guides the imagination into depths without noting the passage of consciousness, and then the altered state is achieved without memory of the inner journey. This is when the theatre opens, and no one can possible know the same experience.
No such descent can remain without a guide, and the rumble of a demon god assures no joy can be felt in this sinking plane. So terrible is the tone, yet the voice deepens the trance. It is as a flame that causes no flesh to recoil.
All the while, despair overtakes the heart, and the pulse becomes a drum which compels life to move toward death. Amid the crushing threnody rides soprano so haunting that the sky could have released black angels and even they could not match the impact of the voices. This, coupled with the morose synthesizer, creates such despair that the only thing preventing suicide is the longing to hear the music again.
This band has made a grand contribution to atmospheric doom, introducing fresh elements and exhibiting a rare creativity that I hope will become appreciated by people who otherwise see nothing in such dark music. Hasten to the vendor, for it would be a painful regret to have missed the opportunity to know this music. How many things have you let fall between your fingers, out of your grasp forever?
I am the herald who sounds the warning.