Thursday, December 6, 2018

My 10 Favorite Doom Metal Records of 2018


"Apocalypse has come and gone. We're just grubbing in the ashes."
Samuel R. Delany, Dhalgren

"You are nowhere."
Thunder, Big Trouble in Little China

"Don't be a whiny little baby about subgenres."
Dear Spirit, Opium Hum




10.
CHRCH
Light Will Consume Us All

Unsettling and extremely repetitive -- we're just over 8 minutes in before the second riff of the album hits -- drone doom, with a dark, demonic priestess for a vocalist, whose delivery ranges from nearly whispered incantations to sorrowful singing to a vicious, banshee-like shriek.




9.
Dautha
Brethren of the Black Soil

Perfect traditional doom à la Candlemass, with an air of gothic melodrama. Extremely powerful vocals, and some strings and quasi-choral backing vocals to tie the noose.




8.
Sunnata
Outlands

Slow-burning, psychedelic post-metal with a distinctly Eastern melodic sensibility. I rarely smoke weed these days, but I did so last month specifically to listen to this album, because it just seemed like, if I like it that much, I'd have to hear it stoned at least once. Was not disappointed.




7.
Eartaker
Harmonics

A sonically punishing fusion of harsh noise, industrial, and death/doom. Throbbing, red-lining electronics, distorted synth drones, and death growls projecting a terrifying, anxiety-ridden vision of industrial metal hell.




6.
Author & Punisher
Beastland

Speaking of punishment and industrial metal: Beastland is Author & Punisher's best album yet. It's goddamn merciless. There's a distinct lack of guitars, which some might say makes it not technically metal, but it's just too fucking heavy to call it anything else. You could level a city with this album.




5.
Assumption
Absconditus

The second coming of diSEMBOWELMENT. Warped, lysergic death/doom with haunting clean guitar passages and the occasional ethereal synth line.




4.
Hamferð
Tamsins Likam

A beautiful, dynamic, unrelentingly mournful take on classic doom metal, fleshed out with piano, cello, and more. Almost sounds like Opeth finally decided to make the full-on doom metal album that everyone wants.




3.
Convocation
Scars Across

Massive, enveloping funeral/death/doom. Sounds like the end of the world.




2.
Sinistro
Sange Cássia

A haunting, surreal sound that's unlike anything else I heard this year. Lushly layered, dreamlike guitars and an otherworldly voice front-and-center. Kinda like prime-era The Gathering, but heavier and much, much darker.




1.
Ancestors
Suspended in Reflections

Some of the most innovative, singular doom metal in recent memory. Ancestors pile it all on -- gauzy synths, layered clean vocals, piano, strings, acoustic guitars, and even some vocoder -- into a sound that's heavy, majestic, and undeniably sorrowful, but not without a glimmer of two of hope. Apparently, that's not inherently bad, even when it's doom metal.


23 comments:

  1. two of my favorites of the year on your list. Ancestors and Chrch records were both amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hot damn, eager to check these out! Only heard a couple of them. Mournful Congregation, Un, and Void of Silence got a lot of my ear-time. Thanks for sharing yr picks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mournful Congregation last opus was delusional to me.

      Delete
  3. Haven't heard of about half of these, good shit.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good stuff all around, I just can't get into Author & Punisher. Too corny for me. Have you listened to Messa - Feast For Water?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gonna check out EVERY album on this list! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Excellent suggestions as always. If I may add a couple more:

    Mournful Congregation - The Incubus of Karma
    Un - Sentiment

    --PC

    ReplyDelete
  7. All this stuff reminds me of Enya. And Bachman Turner Overdrive. Played simultaneously, backwards, at a quarter speed, through the ripped speaker of an early Phillips cassette recorder in the toilet of an abattoir.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would definitely check that out

      Delete
    2. Any chance your head has a Bandcamp page?

      Delete
    3. Bandcamp is like camp for bands, man. You know, where they go to learn Indian Lore, and toast marshmallows and get their asses towel-snapped in the showers by a camp counselor called Ricky. So my answer to you is, like, nugatory.

      Delete
  8. This isn't doom related, just good music related. Have y checked out the guy from Wulkanaz's side projects? The non-black metal ones, most importantly his solo stuff under Wagner Odegard? Whenever I listen to it I always think you'd love it. The band camp is - https://brugmanziah.bandcamp.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Big fan of those Sunnata and Sinistro albums. I'd be interested to hear what you thought of the new Sleep album...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only listened to it once all the way through, and it didn't blow me away. I'm open to the idea that it just hasn't clicked for me yet, and I might end up loving it eventually, but my current take: sounds like Holy Mountain with less interesting riffs.

      Delete
  10. Good list. Couple of new albums for me to enjoy. Top three for me are Bongripper's Terminal, Conan with Existential Void Guardian and Solstice with White Horse Hill

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for this list, that convocation album is sick. And wow, that ancestors album... Is kind of like shoegaze meets Far meets doom metal. So no love for evoken, or are they too popular for readers here, ha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I love Evoken, just haven’t given the new one a good listen yet

      Delete
  12. Cool list. Also check out Fórn's newest lp Rites of Despair for a good mixture of miserable and heavy

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you
    Phenomenal list, went ahead and grabbed all of these bands catalogs.
    Please for the love of all things ungodly listen to Purple Mercy

    ReplyDelete
  14. The Ancestors record is amazing. My album of the year regardless of genre. Great list.

    ReplyDelete