Doom Metal

Things You May Have Missed 2010: Briton Rites – For Mircalla

Things You May Have Missed 2010: Briton Rites – For Mircalla

Briton Rites is a heavy doom metal act hailing from Atlanta Georgia and their debut album For Mircalla came out of nowhere and really blew me away. Released by Echoes of Crom Records and features Phil Swanson of Hour of 13 on vocals and one of the heaviest, most distorted guitar sounds out there courtesy of Howie Bentley of Cauldron Born. Together these gents serve up some truly ginormous Cathedral, Pentagram, Witchfinder General worship of the highest caliber but with a style all their own. With a thematic concept largely dealing with cult vampire movies like “Captain Cronos” or “Crypt of the Vampire,” there’s enough doomy and gloomy atmosphere here to scare the most rabid werewolf and enough raw, heavy ugliness to convince a metalcore band to go back to playing pop-punk.

Atlantean Kodex – The Golden Bough Review

Atlantean Kodex – The Golden Bough Review

Crushing my friends, simply crushing. Like being flattened by some type of heavy industrial smoothing machine, The Golden Bough, the debut full-length from Germany’s Atlantean Kodex will compress you in a major way. However, this crushing may be one of your better listening experience this year if you dig epic/doom metal. Although I was lead to expect good things by their well-regarded Pnakotic Demos EP, I wasn’t prepared for anywhere near this level of asskickery. To put it quite simply, this is one of the most epic and huge sounding metal albums to drop on us in years. With a sound combining Into Glory Ride-era Manowar with the doom of While Heaven Wept and the atmosphere of Bathory’s Hammerheart opus, these guys have birthed a monstrous metal titan that should be essential listening for all fans of doom, epic or just plain old heavy metal.

October Tide – A Thin Shell Review

October Tide – A Thin Shell Review

With the tides come a darkness and oppressive gloom and that gloom is known as October Tide. After resting in deep, dark slumber for the fullness of eleven years, the brainchild of Fredrik Norrman (ex-Katatonia) and Jonas Renkse (Katatonia) crawls back into the light with another monumentally morose death-doom opus titled A Thin Shell. Not too many bands can survive such an extended state of limbo but when Norrman left Katatonia, he decided it was time to resurrect his side-project for a third album without co-founder Renkse. While it was quite natural to doubt a quality comeback or to fear a Katatonia clone, you can put those fears to rest. A Thin Shell is a remarkable album that showcases the beauty that exists in darkness.

Nox Aurea – Ascending in Triumph Review

Nox Aurea – Ascending in Triumph Review

Doom is something that I have really gotten a taste for in the last couple years. A lot earlier, when I was actually playing in a band with a lot of doomy tendencies, I was actually terribly bored by most of it. But with the release of some really fantastic doom records that I’ve gotten into, it’s been harder and harder to avoid it, I like doom a lot when it’s done well. In spite of that earlier distaste for the genre, the one area that I’ve always had a soft spot for, however, has been well done gothic doom. Particularly the stuff with the “beauty and the beast” style of vocal interplay between well done female vocalist and growls. While this sound is hardly novel in 2010, Nox Aurea has attacked it anew with their second release (and Napalm Records debut) Ascending in Triumph.

Grand Magus – Hammer of the North Review

Grand Magus – Hammer of the North Review

It seems a sad fact that when one anticipates something and really looks forward to it, the chance of being disappointed increases exponentially. After Grand Magus unleashed their wildly impressive Iron Will album in 2008 (which was one of my favorite albums that year), I was extremely stoked for a follow up by this cadre of Swedish metal mongers but wondered if they could match or top the quality of that massive platter. Now that I have the anxiously awaited follow up in the form of their fifth album, Hammer of the North, my fears of being let down seem silly, because once again Grand Magus shows that they know how to craft top quality traditional heavy metal songs with a slight doom tinged edge.

Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones Review

Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones Review

There are some musicians that are capable of making a sound, no matter how simple, but always make it sound distinctive to the composer. In the same way, all of Thomas Gabriel Warrior’s creations have a distinct feeling and mark to them, which is why I’m so glad we have this new band on the scene. Warrior has teamed up with three young musicians to continue his creation through the new name, and judging by this record, Triptykon is a name we’ll he hearing more of in the not so distant future.

Warrior had stressed before that this CD would be Monotheist part two, which to me is a relief. After the brilliant Monotheist, I was left wanting much, much more. I’m not saying that Monotheist was too short or unsubstantial, Monotheist had the stamp of Warrior plastered over every sound that was put on the record. If you were in love with Monotheist, like me, you would have had nowhere else to turn to get a similar experience. The terrifyingly gripping feeling just couldn’t be found anywhere else in the metal scene.

Black Sun Aeon – Routa Review

Black Sun Aeon – Routa Review

One of 2009’s most pleasant surprises for this Angry Metal Guy was Black Sun Aeon’s Darkness Walks Beside Me. To say that I was slightly addicted to the album would be an understatement: I was totally addicted to that record. It’s like there’s something in the water (Koskenkorva?) in Finland that leads to the ability of these Finnish bands to build some of the most incredible melancholy into their already heavy, beautiful music. Black Sun Aeon’s debut full length was definitely on the same level as many of the other excellent Finnish doom and melodic death bands out there. While maybe not as melodic as some, or maybe a little bit more simplistic than others, Darkness Walks Beside Me was a tremendous success.

Barren Earth – Curse of the Red River Review

Barren Earth – Curse of the Red River Review

Barren Earth took me completely by surprise. As a rule I do not post reviews of records from labels that do not send me promos of them. I think it’s a disincentive for them to do so and generally bands don’t deserve the promotion. However, sometimes bands come onto the radar that I can’t ignore, as is what happened when I picked up this new Barren Earth record on a total whim. In fact, I didn’t even know that this band had ex-members from Amorphis, the drummer from Moonsorrow, the guitarist from Kreator or the vocalist from Swallow the Sun involved, or that it was mixed by Dan Swano. I guess I should have expected that this would be a great record…

In Mourning – Monolith Review

In Mourning – Monolith Review

In 2008 the underground was taken by storm by a little-known Swedish progressive death metal band called In Mourning that released a tour de force entitled Shrouded Divine. A powerful combination of melodic death metal, Opeth-y style progressive bits and death metal with just a touch of core (trust me, just a touch), they were ranked highly on many year end lists and, frankly, left a bit of an impression on this Angry Metal Guy. See, there is life past Opeth in Swedish progressive metal, something that I had been coming to doubt. In Mourning managed to put out a record that had all of the great heaviness and thickness that one wants in a death metal record, while still managing to keep the haunting progressive parts fresh and interesting. The question is can they keep it up? Is it possible that they’re able to follow up such a lauded record with something even better?