Here’s the first of our “big” lists for 2014 – our top DOOM picks of the year! If you like your music heavy as fuck, you need all of these records in your collection. This was a hard list to compile, and we didn’t want to do honorable mentions because there are too many to list. The reviews below are written by several of our writers, click the links to read the full articles…
SIX: IRN – Sewer Disease
Fucking SEWER DISEASE…. Can you possibly go wrong? With a title like this, what do you think is about to crawl into your ears? SLUDGE. Walls of disgusting Sabbath worship gone all fucking wrong. Total sonic gangrene. Total revolting musical slime and hatred. IRN had already blown our fucking minds last year with their hideous self-titled debut, but oh man, much has happened since then, it appears. Now IRN are back with something that has taken the death and decay of their debut and has multiplied it by a million festering wounds full of maggots, materializing an album that reeks of death and dismay from all fucking orifices possible and that slithers at the pace of a stillborn mummified mammoth. “This is why people are losers…” recites a voice in the opening seconds of hideously disgusting opener “Sewers.” The tone of this record is set right there. From then on in this record people are hated through sound like it’s almost impossible to believe. IRN make an unmistakable statement with this album, and believe me, it’s nothing that humanity should be flattered about…
FIVE: USNEA – Random Cosmic Violence
Ten years from now, you’ll discuss this album with your friends and they will say: “what, that album that almost fucking killed me?” And you will reply: “yes, that crushing motherfucker right there.” In fact, Usnea‘s heaviness is no mystery, and their music seems to have a timelessness that will keep these riffs here, engraved in our synapses, for decades to come. This, what the Portland band crafts, is in fact nothing less than unforgettable music. We’ve already talked about Usnea endless times before on these pages, right from the band’s beginnings and the release of their amazing full-length album. Just some time later, Relapse Records foresaw the potential of Usnea’s colossal riffs and signed them straight out the gate to handle the release of whatever their follow up would be. Well, that followup came, and this heavy fucking pup is finally here to leave an unimaginable mark on today’s doom and to cast it’s enormous shadow through the underground like an unstoppable shockwave.
FOUR: 11PARANOIAS – Stealing Fire From Heaven
11Paranoias are the provocateurs of some of the most colourfully depraved doom metal you’re likely to ever hear, and their identity shines through all the more on Stealing Fire From Heaven; the lengthier album format allowing them to fully realise their creative musings and air their cosmic decadence until it becomes an entity more tangible than ever before. And such is the luxury that ‘The Great Somnambulist’ is afforded – an opening lesson in brooding atmosphere, coming across as a living and breathing entity; a dirge dream swathed in smoke and darkness, the nightmarish psychedelia surrounding all and betraying the gloom.
THREE: KEEPER – MMXIV
California’s Keeper creates sounds that are totally at odds with the images of sun drenched landscapes that their home state typically invokes in people. Rather, this new band treads woefully grim and dark territory with a simply crushing and unforgiving brand of sludge doom.
MMXIV, their first record, is so unrelentingly heavy it borders on the inexplicable. The band has taken a number of obvious cues for their chose sonic craft. Of course bands like Burning Witch, Grief, Noothgrush and Moloch can all be heard here in spades, their influences weave themselves in and out of each slow, misery-sodden riff and wretched, throat-gnawing vocal.
TWO: BONGRIPPER – Miserable
Like the enormous hellmouth depicted in M.G. Miller’s cover art, the music of Bongripper on “Miserable” exceeds, torments and absorbs. The notorious quartet have left no stone unturned in their atrocious pilgrimage as yet; “Hate Ashbury” and “The Great Barrier Reefer” both were stabs at encapsulating the timeless, morphing drone doom into a whole, a mega factor; while the band conclusively dug into the rayless principalities of noise, psychedelia and ambient with “Heroin”; and with “Hippie Killer” and “Satan Worshipping Doom”, a counterpoise was sought. On that account, “Miserable” can be translated into the evil twin of “Heroin.” Here also, the aggregate is not violated, though the riff outlasts all other elements — and not noise. Mammoth riffs wolf one another down and sculpture a sonic citadel retrospecting Extra-Capsular Extraction-era Earth, Sourvein, Noothgrush, Zeni Geva and even Meatjack.
ONE: MONOLORD – Empress Rising
If you go on the Monolord Facebook page right now, the About section is filled with just one word – “Doom”. This sort of straightforward self-description sets the tone for the album Empress Rising. It’s doom, and the band isn’t interested in any auxiliary sub-genres to pepper their meal.
Specifically, the band is taken with psychedelic doom, and these Swedes have their horns raised firmly to the old school for this debut full-length. There are flourishes of Pentagram and Electric Wizard abound on this album, and unabashedly so.
However, the five slabs of psychedelic miasma that make up this record are all glossed with an unavoidably modern and sleek production that gives the album’s faint hooks some space to rear their heads.
The stoner riffs from lone guitarist Thomas V Jäger are total monoliths of sound. It’s impressive that the band is just a three-piece and is able to conjure up such a sprawling and vast audio trip. This becomes very clear on the opening notes of the title track that morph into towering grooves led by the hypnotic trance-like vocals that repeatedly chant “empress rising”.