Posts Tagged ‘Death Doom’

Paradise Lost - Obsidian

First published here:

Where do you even begin with a band as legendary as Paradise Lost? Pioneers of death/doom and gothic doom, creators of some of metal’s most iconic records and songs, and have maintained a career of 30 years plus with barely any creative missteps. You’d think that the band may have began to wane creatively at this point, but their last two records, ‘The Plague Within’ and 2017’s superlative ‘Medusa’ proved that is not the case. So comes ‘Obsidian’, the latest opus in a discography littered with classics, but will it continue this trend? ‘Obsidian’ is out now on Nuclear Blast.

It is a funny thing to review a record by a band so influential, because every time you hear a certain tone or style you have to remember that this doesn’t just sound like Paradise Lost, it IS them. It’s a revelation at that point just how important they’ve been. The bleak acoustic and softly sung opening to ‘Darker Thoughts’ paints a scene of classic Yorkshire misery, and when the song opens up there is a wonderful gloom coating this melodic powerhouse. Paradise Lost have never been a band to shy away from using different styles to create their particular brand of haunting heaviness, with ‘Fall from Grace’ wringing mournful lead guitar over a refrain of ‘we’re all alone…’ and the driving ‘Ghosts’ reaffirming their gothic metal credentials, bringing to mind Sisters of Mercy or even a little Type O.

Their most goth moment comes in the bleak ‘Forsaken’ however, as hook filled as a song this cold and miserable could possibly be. The solo is a high point in an album full of them, and the album never loses steam from here. The serrated riffs of ‘Serenity’ draw back the doom which then filters through the violins and grandiosity of ‘Ending Days’ and the rich post punk tapestry of ‘Hope Dies Young’ into the war torn regality of ‘Ravenghast’, a baroque doom masterclass that conjures some traditional Northern pessimism as well as some of the best riffs Gregor Mackintosh has ever pulled from his six strings.

It feels very reassuring to hear a band fully absorbed by their past but creating new music that is as vital as their iconic releases ever were. Sure, there are hundreds of bans that do what Paradise Lost do, but none will ever come close to the masters. ‘Obsidian’ is an important addition to their legacy; a reinvigoration of their gothic roots while remaining fully rooted in the doom that brought them to the dance. Dark and beautiful.

Coffins - Beyond the Circular Demise

Originally published on the Sleeping Shaman:

Legendarily prolific Japanese death/doom lords Coffins have returned with their first full length record since 2013’s ‘The Fleshland’, but they haven’t been quiet. Lots of splits and EPs have filled the gap, but there’s nothing quite like a full length Coffins record. ‘Beyond the Circular Demise’ releases on the 20th of September through Relapse Records and looks to be another record of superlative quality.

I’ve followed these guys since their superlative 2008 record ‘Buried Death’ and they’ve rarely disappointed. Immediately grinding out a nasty, Swedeath riff in the opener ‘Terminate By Own Prophecy’, the guttural death growls belching untold blasphemies. The doom is strong in the crush of ‘The Tranquil End’, but it neither overshadows nor gets lost in the crunchy death metal. Coffins balance the two genres perfectly, making the transitions from savagery to imperious, monstrous riff feel so natural. And the doom comes with churning intensity, with the monolithic opening riffs to ‘Impuritious Minds’ being an immediate standout but not the only one.

What I’ve always enjoyed about Coffins is that their brand of death/doom has never been the vast, clean doom riffs layered with brutal growls. They have always felt like a true amalgamation of nasty, raw death metal and the crushing nihilism of someone like Winter or Burning Witch. Their music has never seemed majestic or imperious; it feels like a true musical representation of death and decay. The gut wrenching weight of ‘Gateways to Dystopia’ possessing aching riffs, while the savage growl of ‘Hour of Execution’ maintains that nasty edge.

Coffins have created an art form out of this style of music. ‘Beyond the Circular Demise’ is yet another exhibit in their gallery of gore, death and rumbling decay. Lots of bands claim to make music that feels like the end of the world. Coffins actually do it, and while their tectonic riffs help our dying planet on its way we can all bathe in the glory of it. All hail visceral, toxic, TRUE death/doom.


Chalice of Suffering’s last record, ‘For You I Die’ was a monument to pure misery and doom, and their new record ‘Lost Eternally’ looks to build on that work and create something truly emotionally draining. It is out now through Transcending Obscurity and is here to sap you of your lifeforce.

When you go for walks in misted woodlands or on rugged fells as a metalhead, you immediately hear music like this in your brain. There is a primal, Gaian sweep to this record, creaking with the weight of a million generations of life on its shoulders. The opener ‘In the Mist of Once Was’ hits you in that same emotional way that My Dying Bride’s earliest pieces did. The haunting pipes echoing in the background speak of lost kingdoms, of shattered ancestry and of lost loves. You’d think that such a gut punch to start couldn’t be bettered, but the band have more ideas.

The groaning growls of ‘Emancipation of Pain’ echo over tectonic rumbles, while the hypnotic grooves of ‘Forever Winter’ wash over you like miserable waves. Every moent is laced with atmosphere, weaving a tapestry of depressive misery into which we can lose ourselves. Chalice of Suffering’s cup runneth over with moments of guttural death, but their subtler touches are the best. The tinkling keys under the title track’s mammoth sway is a mereĀ  glimpse into their repetoire.

‘Lost Eternally’ is a suitable album title, as you will find yourself lost amongst the huge riffs and the heartrending pain summoned through every song. A titanic offering, that will inject your summer with a heathly dose of rain and sorrow. Buy it now!

Portland, Oregon’s wretched death doom horde Shrine of the Serpent have released unto us, the unwitting public, three debut utterances from the void. Thirty minutes of torturous misery awaits you, if you dare….

Opener ‘Nine Gates of Shadow’ preys upon your mind from the start. An ominous hum arises from your speakers, with a low incantation before a devastating riff drops on you like a hammer from hell. This is thunderously heavy, and gives sound to the dreadful end of mankind. This is some serious death/doom here, with the term ‘death’ more appropriate than in most. Most death/doom is slow doom with guttural growls. Shrine of the Serpent have infused their particular brand with the fetid stench of actual death, rather than just utilising it as a vocal style.

Try listening to the tectonic groan of ‘King in Red’ without feeling crushed under the weight of your own pathetic misery. Shrine of the Serpent have absorbed lessons from the greats in order to make this monolithic testament to decay and destruction. There’s dashes of old Paradise Lost and of course, the torturous grind of Winter’s ‘Into Darkness’. ‘Gods of Blight’ ends with a swaying, seasickness inducing groove that inspires slow motion headbanging and knees buckling under the weight of each riff.

Shrine of the Serpent’s riff mangling approximation of death/doom is, quite frankly, brilliant. It is rare that I will go ahead and orderĀ  copy of something I’m only haflway through reviewing, but boys you did it. I fucking love this, and you should too.