Death Doom

Valborg – Zentrum Review

Valborg – Zentrum Review

“Tension. It’s a difficult thing to create. Take one of the most tension-filled scenes in movie history: the chest-burster sequence in Alien. Know why it works so well? Sure, the effects, acting and directing are all superb, but it’s the pacing. Specifically, the dining hall scene that precedes it. To create real tension, you need two things: periods of calm to allow the audience to breathe, and a sense of hope; that maybe, just maybe, things will be all right. Once the crew of the Nostromo pull the face-hugger from William Hurt’s face, you sense he’s done-for. But the fact that he looks healthy and is pictured having a meal with his pals allows you to breathe and lower your guard. You begin to experience a glimmer of hope that maybe he’ll be fine. So when the alien bursts through his chest a short while later, it is absolutely horrifying. But the dining scene is what makes it. Valborg is a German death-doom band that also deals in tension.” The birth and death of tension.

Varaha – A Passage for Lost Years Review

Varaha – A Passage for Lost Years Review

“Those of us at not familiar with Vektor shot some great shit around the AMG office bilge warmer when we first heard that Terminal Redux was going to be 73 minutes long. A thrash album coming in at over an hour long? Don’t these wankers know that I could listen to Reign in Blood two-and-a-half times instead of their shitty album? We all know how that went down. Suffice it to say that the Reign in Blood rule can at times be violated. Yet it still surprised me when Varaha took their 47-minute-long atmospheric-goth-doom-etc. album and, in stuffing another 21 minutes of orchestral interlude tracks in, somehow improved the record.” Binge without guilt.

Chalice of Suffering – Lost Eternally Review

Chalice of Suffering – Lost Eternally Review

“Grief can seemingly last forever. Whether you’re actively working through it or just passively experiencing its various stages, grief is a marathon, not a sprint. Excitement, on the other hand, is always fleeting. Moments of joy, fright or rage flare up and burn out quickly. Excitement is not a state that can be sustained for long. Grief, sorrow, despondency, these can last indefinitely. There’s a reason grindcore albums never break 30 minutes while funeral doom albums stretch well past an hour. If it takes time to experience, it will take time to express. But listening to the genre at its best isn’t about being patient, as if there’s some reward at the end. It’s more about allowing yourself to be borne along by the slow process. Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Chalice of Suffering—612, represent—is here to take you on a long journey through the deepest despair.” Playing the long winter game.

Black Therapy – Echoes of Dying Memories Review

Black Therapy – Echoes of Dying Memories Review

“Nobody sane wishes to be sad, but at some points in our lives we all have been, and it’s beyond dispute that emotional pain will be a part of our future. This begs the question of why we metalheads tend to seek out and enjoy music that evokes feelings of sorrow and listen for our own enjoyment. I’ve always found melancholy set to music a beautiful thing but have never considered why I’ve found it so. Perhaps it’s because to mourn a loss, a man must care deeply about that which has departed. Perhaps it’s the ubiquity of sorrow, and the sad song’s reminder that we’re not alone in our perils. Perhaps it’s the confronting of melancholy through music which gives us courage and makes us feel like we’ve faced down that which we feared. Perhaps it’s none or all these things, or perhaps more.” Therapeutic suffering.

Abyssic – High the Memory Review

Abyssic – High the Memory Review

“Metal, as a rule, is an exercise in excess. Of the ‘popular’ musical styles, it’s the loudest, the heaviest, the angriest, the most extreme. Thematically, topics of death and darkness are presented with superlative hyperbole. For non-fans, it’s all about as subtle as a volcanic explosion. We, of course, know better. Within each metal sub-genre, bands fall on a relative spectrum ranging from ‘tastefully restrained’ to ‘over-indulgent like, whoa.’ But what does the latter look like when the sub-genre is already known for being the -est? Say, funeral doom? It looks something like Norway-based Abyssic‘s second full-length, High the Memory.” The duck confit of doom.

Maestus – Deliquesce Review

Maestus – Deliquesce Review

“Funeral doom is the cilantro of the metal world. Those who like it tend to love it. Others wonder why anyone would want to eat a little leaf that tastes like soap listen to a twenty-minute song with four beats per minute. On the occasions it’s reviewed here, there are usually a few predictable cries from the peanut gallery of “Only listened to 30 seconds! Why this boring? Me want fast!” That’s right. I made you sound like Cookie Monster.” C is for Cookie and it’s better than you deserve.

Phlebotomized – Deformation of Humanity Review

Phlebotomized – Deformation of Humanity Review

“Following the spate of fantastic death metal records released in the twilight months of 2018, my new year’s resolution was thusly engraved: listen to more death metal. Admittedly, last year was absolutely bananas when it came down to average release quality across all varieties of death metal, rendering wishes for the streak to continue borderline pointless. I can at least continue to expand my horizons in a genre that I have always somewhat neglected, and what better way to start than with—Jesus fuck, what is that?” Ugly to be bone.

Convocation – Scars Across [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

Convocation – Scars Across [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

“In November of 2017, Finland’s Desolate Shrine released Deliverance From the Godless Void, an album so full of death and depth it would have been my AotY had it not released so late. While this year has furnished us with a selection of stirring doom albums, it still falls to Desolate Shrine mastermind L.L to concoct the most immersive and crushing of them all. Convocation is a project that balances L.L’s multi-instrumental talents with the vocals of M. Neuman of fellow Finns Dark Buddha Rising. The resulting debut, Scars Across, is a remorseless trek through tortured terrain that never departs from its impending pace.” Doom to the world.

Obsolete Theory – Mudness Review

Obsolete Theory – Mudness Review

“While exploring Mudness, the curiously titled debut LP from Italian genre-benders Obsolete Theory, I thought of a lot of bands — and we’ll get to those comparisons in a moment — but more than sonic neighbors, I kept thinking about Alex Garland’s recent sci-fi/horror masterpiece, Annihilation. I found similarities not in terms of its soundtrack (although Annihilation does have a great fucking soundtrack), but rather in atmosphere and theme. Garland’s film is a grim, gorgeous examination of evolution at its most alien and unhinged; similarly, Mudness’ unpredictable, effortless genre-hopping skills, paired with its downplayed aggression in favor of a creeping sense of dread, feels unique and otherworldly.” Theory and practice.