I’m a firm believer that there’s a time and place for doom metal. For some, it’s the colder, darker months that call on the doomy stuff. For others, it’s a calm evening, lounging on the living room floor with your trusty bong. For me, doom is for those gloomy nights when my mind turns dark. When I’m depressed, I dive into doom metal like it’s jacuzzi tub. There’s no way to avoid it. Good doom drags me down to the deepest crevices of my mind and, before I know it, it’s 3 am and I have to be up at 5 for work. The better the record, the more intense the feeling. I bring this up because there are many around here that feel there’s never a time or a place for doom metal. That being said, I can’t say Destroyer of Light ever took me on that trip to hell. Until now.

As discussed in my 2015 Endsville review, these Austin natives have gotten better with every release. But nothing of theirs has quite caught my attention like Chamber of Horrors. Without a doubt, this year’s new release is the band’s best. The vocals are better, the production is better, the songwriting is better, and the album has a flow never before achieved by DoL. There’re groovy pieces, melodic beauties, and soothing instrumentals; chugs, chunks, dooms, glooms, and drones; and vocals that explore doom’s gruff style as well as its haunting, reverberating Ozzy, Wino, Bobby Liebling stylings. On the surface, it’s simple. And, deep down it’s simple. But, simple is the game and simple is good.

One thing longtime fans will notice on Chamber of Horrors is the song lengths. Not a one of the six tracks from 2012’s Destroyer of Light exceeded seven minutes. But, that’s not the case with Chamber of Horrors. Most of its seven tracks average over six minutes and the closer, “Buried Alive,” maxes out at ten full minutes. Now, don’t go running off just yet. The band has spent years working up to this and the lengthier tracks are the album highlights. Just the same, the closer’s marathon of mood swings, riff changes, guitar feedback, and brooding vocal performances (that include some rare death metal growls) aren’t my favorite. But the seven-minute “The Virgin” is. Taken from their debut album, this restructured track is now almost twice as long and definitely twice as good. The original was sinister but never quite stuck, but Chamber of Horrors fixed that. It takes all the shortcomings of the original and strips them away, leaving an unrestricted doomy builder to do what it does best: build. And, in the process, the song uses everything from low growls and high falsettos to blood-curdling screams to maximum effect.

But the bulk of the album consists of songs alternating between simple, yet memorable, riffs and melodies soaked in Texas tea. “Into the Smoke” comes roaring out of the doom-tastic instrumental opener (“Whispers into the Threshold”) with ballsy cleans and beefy riffs. After traversing through some winding guitar leads that rise and fall through a murky surface, the song dives headfirst into gloomy melodies. In this transition, the Wino-like vocals soar overhead and the mood becomes one of utter hopelessness. The other two tracks follow the same recipe, but where “Lux Crusher” has an aggressiveness like that of the debut record’s “Coffin Hunter,” “Prisoner of Eternity” uses beauty—diving deep into clean guitars, heavy chugs, and an emotional groove. Vocalist Colca gives some of his best vocal performances in these latter two, using his Ozzy-meets-Wino highs to bury me forever as a “Prisoner of Eternity.”

But, it’s the simple three-minute instrumental “Twilight Procession” that pins this all together. The beautiful mid-album intermission fills the void between all the heaviness. It’s the kind of soothing piece that could have just as easily been the album closer. Regardless, it does its job: dragging me deeper into the dark imagery of that artwork at the top of the page. Chamber of Horrors is a dark place, yet one that I don’t mind visiting and relaxing in. So, clock out, hop on a train for the dark mountains looming above, and book an Airbnb into the Chamber of Horrors.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Heavy Friends Records
Websites: destroyeroflight.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/destroyeroflight
Releases Worldwide: July 14th, 2017

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  • Name’s Dalton

    My buddy is like that. He tells me he has transitioned from darker, gloomier music he listened to in order to cope (or maybe be in sync) with our long winters to brighter stuff in the spring and summer. Me? I make no such distinctions. Been playing the hell out of God Disease, Usnea, Yob and others of late (along with Dead Congregation, Engulfed, Analepsy, and Dawn of Dementia among other DM bands). ”Tis the season?

    • The Unicorn

      Dead Congregation fucking rips. Check out the new Extremity too. Pummelling.

      • Name’s Dalton

        Extremity rips too.

    • Drew Music

      Gonna have to check out those first three bands. I’ve always been into the more gloomy type of doom – Crimson Swan, Doom:VS, Saturnus, et. al – but there’s never enough and I’m always open to more even if it’s not in that blackened vein.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Doom:VS!

      • Name’s Dalton

        Also, Sumac.

        • John Mosley

          I love Sumac! Not sure I’d call them doom. All subjective of course.

          • Name’s Dalton

            Sludge. Post-sludge?

          • John Mosley

            I like post sludge.

          • Name’s Dalton

            Have you heard Blazar?

          • John Mosley

            Nope. Will track them down online.

          • Name’s Dalton

            Sumac reminds me of a metal version of Ativin, especially in the clean guitar tone and the wallop of the drums. It’s a Kurt Ballou recording but those dry and booming drums have a Steve Albini feel to them.

            Ativin was an instrumental post-rock group who dealt in interlocking baritone guitar melodies and propulsive drumming.

        • Drew Music

          “Hey everybody, it’s payday for Drew! Let’s list off a bunch of sweet bands and see how quickly we can get him to go broke!”
          Man, I’m jamming that now, if I’ve got enough after bills and the first trip to ‘Camp today I’m definitely getting that one.
          Fucker.

          • Name’s Dalton

            😏

            Yes I spend an inordinate amount of time per day at Bandcamp, and a not insignificant portion of my earnings goes toward music they have for sale. Love that place.

            Did you like God Disease? I can’t stop playing their latest EP.

          • Drew Music

            I don’t know what distracted me from that, it was trippy and evil and I liked it so I have no idea why I didn’t buy it already, unless maybe it got recommended to me while in the same bankrupt boat and the list of bands to check out got out of control in between checks. I swear, the only reason I would ever want to live forever would be so I could stand a small chance at hearing all the metalz.

          • Name’s Dalton

            If you want to hear where some of this sludge and off-kilter noise/metal it its origins, check out Slug (The Out Sound album) Craw and Dazzling Killmen.

          • Drew Music

            STOP IT! My wallet can only take so much! I’ll be coming back for Sumac next week as it is, I had a great day at ‘Camp today but my credit card did not… 6 digital albums and 3 vinyls, 0 disciplines. Being broke literally sounds fantastic.

          • Name’s Dalton

            An album a day keeps the doctor away.

          • Drew Music

            At this point I change my lock screen and home screen accordingly to reflect albums I need to listen to, and that’s just from what I own, my wishlist is loaded with recommendations from dicks like you who have no pity on a mans bank account. Between trying to afford it all and trying to find the time to listen to everything, this year has been harshly wonderful. Somewhere, some vaguely benevolent omnipotent being of some sort has to be thinking something to the effect of “Well, I’m giving them all so much other terrible shit everywhere else in life this year, here’s a non-stop ballin soundtrack yo.”

          • Name’s Dalton

            Also, Ken Mode, Keelhaul, and Unsane. Insane is sludgy noise rock with a NYC-edge to them. Ken Mode has been influenced by them, Slint, the Jesus Lizard, early-Cherubs (they’re back and better than ever after a 20 year hiatus), etc.

          • Drew Music

            I’m just gonna go ahead and turn my data off right now.

          • Name’s Dalton

            Nooooooo!

          • Drew Music

            I can’t be trusted with the interwebz at this point, even after lamenting my broke-ness and swearing off the web for the day I managed to talk myself into a random $0.50 purchase on Bandcamp. I think I have like 3 bucks on my card, to put things in perspective. That fucking site will be the death of me.

  • rumour_control

    This is me to a T (a D?) on any given late Friday eve/Saturday morn:
    “Good doom drags me down to the deepest crevices of my mind and, before I know it, it’s 3 am.”

  • welyyt

    Heavy Friends Records? That sounds too whimsical for a metal label.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      It’s very happy.

      • The owner probably has a thing for White Wizzard too.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          It’s a must with a label name like that.

    • SteveC

      It’s actually a reference to the Boris song, “Heavy Friends” off Heavy Rocks Orange. The song and album rules.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Man, good doom is so hard to come by.
    To hold the listeners attention with epic song lengths and only a limited arena of variance allowed (to still be considered true doom) is a tough task.
    To me it all comes down to songwriting.
    Hope this one pulls it off.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Maybe I get my genres confused, because I think what I may sometimes refer to as doom is more sludge. Generation of Vipers, God Disease, et al. Not that it really matters.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        I’d call Generation of Vipers as more sludge. They have doomy moments, but it’s more sludge, in my opinion. Sweet band, though. And cool-ass dudes.

        • Name’s Dalton

          I agree about that falling into the sludge category. Love that guitar tone.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Feels damn good. I was a fan of their last record, Coffin Wisdom.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        True….I think the genre is defined more by the mood it conveys rather than a set list of prerequisite sounds. Katatonia and Loss both can induce soul crushing atmospheres using completely different sets of skills.

      • Strapping Old Fart

        Hm. I might need to calibrate my genres too. I always thought doom was about being ridiculously heavy (in the bluesy, Mater of Reality sense). Electric Wizard, back when they were good. Do go on being proggy and depressed, but come up with your own genre name why don’t you? Is what I thought.

  • rumour_control

    Stellar review, Doc. I know what’s on tap for my late Friday…

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Where I live, we call it “winter” when it rains… So I have to listen to Doom in the sun. And I have no problems doing it.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    That’s an absolutely beautiful artwork. Adam Burke is a stupidly talented man. Dystopia’s Chaos Philosophorum (also his) was my favorite album cover of this year but this one gives it a run for its money. Spectacular stuff.

    • rumour_control

      Indeed. Burke has a good grasp of combining the grotesque with odd scenes culled from nature.

    • Drew Music

      90% of the reason I preordered this was the artwork, and I regret nothing.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      It’s stunning. I love this album cover.

  • I guess if you call King Goat “doom” then you have to call this “doom” too. What else would you call it? It’s not sludge. It’s not stoner. Granted, I’ve only heard the one sample track you have posted here.

    • Drew Music

      Check out The Virgin. Straight old school doom with modern heaviness, zero identity crises and 1000% doomed glory.

  • Eli Valcik

    Been waiting for this review

  • Drew Music

    Been jamming this for a few days, and I gotta say, this was a fantastic album to pre-order having known nothing of the band beforehand. Another Angry Metal Minion showed them love on Bandcamp, the artwork grabbed me, and now DoL have a new fan. Holy shit is this album fun. All the glory and tone of doom without dragging me into subterranean levels of depression, and a strong contender for AotY, hells to the yes’s.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yeah, it’s a damn good album. Sucked me right in.

      • Drew Music

        Defying all logic to those who have been cursed with my presence in the physical realm, I really don’t typically listen to stoner doom. October Tide, Mizmor, Soothsayer, Saturnus, Paradise Lost, and of course Doom:VS are all much more in line with my typical doom desires, but this shit? This shit right here? I fucks with it. Sometimes you really can judge a book by its cover, and I’m glad that I did when it came to buying this.
        4.0 for me.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Damn glad it’s sucked you in. Good stuff. Takes a spin or two to feel it, but it’s there.

    • ToddRob64

      Pretty sure someone needs to add the trademark to Angry Metal Minion before it falls into the wrong hands

  • Pretty good stuff. You don’t need technical brilliance to write solid, enjoyable music. I don’t care if you call this doom, sludge, or pop; this is plain old good music.

  • Excentric_13073

    This is great; I definitely got a whiff of those sun-baked Texas riffs. Somehow reminds me of driving through the desert in Utah. It’s the intersection of heat, sun, rocks, desolation and standing on the precipice of a death in obscurity. When you’re out there, you swiftly realize the universe doesn’t give a single fuck about you. To me, this is the foundation doom is built upon.

  • Bas

    I am always in the mood for some doom. The mood determines the level of heavy and depressiveness only..
    I have to check this out. The review makes it sound very promissing!

  • AnnieK13

    Yeah, I think I will be buying this one…