Hello, Metal Wani readers! Yidu here, and I am back to bring you another list! 2017 has been a very busy year for me which forced me to take a hiatus from writing. Even though I have stopped writing, that doesn’t stop new albums being released and I made sure to keep up with whatever 2017 is churning out. Boy, 2017 has been a great year for metal music so far! There are lots of great albums that came out in the first half of 2017 and I wish I can share all my favorites with you guys right now but I can’t! There’s so many and so little time. I decided I still want to be able to share some new music to you guys so here it is: I bring you my 5 favorite Doom Metal albums of 2017 so far!
Starting off with number 5, we have the debut full length album from the Belgian occult act Bathsheba, ‘Servus’. I first heard about this band back in 2015 with their debut EP entitled ‘The Sleepless Gods’ and I was hooked. This Belgian quartet features drummer Jelle Stevens (Sardonis), guitarist Dwight Goossens and bassist Raf Meukens from Belgian Old School Death Metal worshippers Tortureama, and Michelle Nocon of Death Penalty, a UK/Belgium Doom Metal band. The band plays a style of Doom Metal that overlays a variety of influences such as Stoner/Doom, Sludge, and Psychedelic/Occult rock on their Doom Metal canvas. On this album you can find a nice warm and fuzzy tone supporting the moving riffs, with the bass and drums playing along in the background adding stability and depth. Michelle’s vocals range from bright and haunting cleans to a raspy ghostly harsh vocals which adds a new layer of twisted beauty to the music. I definitely recommend this album to fans of occult doom and female fronted doom or bands like SubRosa, Messa, Cauchemar, and Occultation.
The fourth album on this list is the fourth album from American Stoner/Doom Metal titans, Elder. Coming off with their critically successful ‘Lore’, the band returns ‘Reflections of a Floating World’. With ‘Lore’ the band experiments with psychedelic and progressive rock and with this new album the band continues to build on those influences in their music. The album starts off with the pulverising opener Sanctuary which immediately showcases that not only the band means business with this album but an example of what’s to come. The song is catchy, riffy, and hard-hitting but there are moments where the psychedelic moments bleed through in between the soaring vocals. The song has a more progressive rock approach to its structure and boasts great lines from the bass guitars. The tracks The Falling Veil and Blind really bring out the maturity of the band’s integration of psychedelic rock in the former and progressive rock in the latter. This album shows that Elder knows when to be loud and hard hitting (Santuary for example), when to be meditative and reserved (Sonntag), and how to control and balance between the two and as well as the progressive and psychedelic influences (the closing track Thousand Hands is a great example of this). ‘Reflections of a Floating World’ is the band’s best album to date and shows the band continuously mature and experiment with their sound. Excellent.
Album number 3 is a leviathan of a debut album from American Experimental Doom band Cavernlight which is named ‘As We Cup Our Hands and Drink From the Stream of Our Ache’. The band plays a style of Doom Metal that blends Sludge/Doom, with Drone Doom, Black Metal, Dark Ambient, Darkwave, and Post-Metal. This album is a dark and bleak glacier of black ice. Downtuned and distorted guitars trudge with a curtain of drone. Distant howling black metal shrieks swoop through the music like phantoms. The drums accents with precision providing lightning and thunder. Some darkwave influenced synths and Dark Ambient breaks are sprinkled through the tracks to emphasise the desolate soundscape the band is trying to establish. The atmosphere of this album is amazing and the band harnesses it to leave the listener with an empty feeling. Fans of Funeral Doom, Sludge/Doom, and Drone Doom should check this out. If you enjoy bands like The Body, Thou, Corrections House, Gravetemple, Monarch, and Dark Castle, you will enjoy this album.
The runner up album is the fifth and new album ‘Exuvia’ from the legendary German one-man Doom Metal band The Ruins of Beverast helmed by Alexander von Meilenwald (Truppensturm). The new album bolsters everything that people enjoy from the band. ‘Exuvia’ features chant-like clean vocals, primal drumming, and ritualistic atmosphere with the synths, samples, and ambient interludes that combines to form a unique listening experience. On this new album, there’s a stronger psychedelic influence with the ghostly twine-like embellishments (also some of the writing/sample work) and even some Funeral Doom influence here and there. ‘Exuvia’ showcases a balance between the Doom Metal, the Black Metal, and the additional individual aspects of the sound which creates a dynamic sound that’s diverse but sonically linked together. This is a thrilling album filled with various elements that keeps the album intriguing. ‘Exuvia’ sits at the top as one of the best of the band’s discography and is at least as good as ‘Rain upon the Impure’. Fans of the project should not skip this one and fans of Black Metal and Doom Metal should check this one out too.
Finally, my favorite Doom Metal album goes to the surprise sophomore album ‘Horizonless’ from the American Funeral Death/Doom band Loss. With the band’s 2011 album ‘Despond’, the band quickly became a favorite among fans of Death/Doom and Funeral Doom. However, the band remained relatively quiet with no new album in sight and left the fans wanting more. All that has changed now with ‘Horizonless’ which is a perfect continuation and development from the band. The album is slow and heavy with the hard hitting and crushing riffs which build the ground for the depressing vocals to pierce through. Loss clearly mastered their own brand of Funeral Doom and Death/Doom sound but on this album the band shows a new level mastery with the to and fro of the guitars and vocals. The primary voices of the vocals and lead guitar play a depressing Danse Macabre with each of the voices coming in and out of their own individual moments throughout the tracks (sorta like how improvising in a small jazz band works). The drumming provides the framework that fills the sound up and the bass guitar is like a sneaky or wandering spirit that weaves through the sound popping up here and there and giving us its sweet but sorrowful lines. With ‘Horizonless’, Loss has proven themselves why they were a fan favorite and cemented themselves as one of America’s best in the genre despite their short discography.
Aside from these 5 albums, I would like to part you with 5 more honorable mentions.
Vin De Mia Trix – ‘Palimpsests’
Ukranian Death/Doom metal band Vin De Mia Trix returns with their sophomore album ‘Palimpsests’ which is a huge improvement from their debut effort. This album is a long one at almost 100 minutes but it is a grand intricate concept album of 4 tracks each around the 20 minute mark of great soundscapes and lethargic Death/Doom with an atmospheric emphasis. Check this one out but make sure you have enough time to listen to whole thing.
Apocalypse Orchestra – ‘The End Is Nigh’
‘The End Is Nigh’ is the debut album from Apocalypse Orchestra a Medieval Folk/Doom band hailing from Sweden. Featuring folk instruments like the Mandola, Lute, Cittern, Bagpipes, and Hurdy gurdy, the band brings a balanced and dynamic fusion of Folk and Doom Metal that doesn’t play on the jollity side of folk but rather the more sombre side which compliments the Doom Metal side very well. Give this album a try, it’s pretty awesome.
King Woman – ‘Created in the Image of Suffering’
King Woman is the new project formed by Kristina Esfandiari after she left the shoegaze band Whirr. After the promising debut EP ‘Doubt’, the band returns with ‘Created in the Image of Suffering’ a great post-rock and shoegaze influenced Post-Doom album. The album is noisy and ethereal and builds a great sounding atmosphere and soundscapes. The vocals melt on top of the Doom Metal that’s billowing below. Check it out.
Below the Sun – ‘Alien World’
Russian band Below the Sun return with ‘Alien World’ the sophomore band from this Progressive Doom act. I was intrigued by their debut album ‘Envoy’ in 2015 and their new album is a step-up. This album, at times, has a more intimate sound than most Doom metal albums have and features warm guitars and vocals that calm and mesmerize. However, when the album is not being that, it has a hard hitting majestic sound filled with loud guitars and harsh vocals. ‘Alien World’ is a well balanced album that showcases different sides of the band that both Progressive and Doom metal fans will enjoy.
Decemberance – ‘Conceiving Hell’
Like the previously mentioned Vin De Mia Trix album, the new sophomore album ‘Conceiving Hell’ from Greek Death/Doom band Decemberance is another Death/Doom behemoth boasting 4, almost 20 minute, tracks totalling nearly 75 minutes of run time. Unlike the other album, ‘Conceiving Hell’ is a more bleak and heavier approach with a more reserved use of synths, acoustics, etc that resembles more of the old Death/Doom sound. Give this album a try too.
That’s it folks! Hope you guys had a great first half of 2017 and I wish you guys all the best for the rest of the year!