The Best Extreme Doom Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2016




It seems this bundle of Brazilian funeral/death-doom joy, released 6/6/16, might have initially flown under a lot of radars, but deservedly has its place here. O Sol Fulmina A Terra is a miasma of negativity from the concrete jungle of São Paulo, which has a lot more going on to keep it more interesting than the atypical glacial-beat, four-minutes-to-complete-a-riff funeral doom. Give it a listen now and toss us an "obrigado" later.

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Slow. Crushing. All the requisite adjectives certainly apply here. Terrestrial is driven by four "epic" 10+ minute tracks of slow, punishing & crushing doom that at times sounds almost like the mechanized assault of Godflesh and at others sounds dosed with some salsa psychedelica, which are accompanied by smaller interlude pieces to give the album some spacing. It is thick, layered, dense, almost to the point it translates from sonically to physically so.

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At roughly 55 minutes, Cenotaph is actually fairly short for an Eye Of Solitude album, but it feels as ceaseless and expansive as anything this great bastion of funeral doom has produced in the past. The gut-wrenching piano in "This Goodbye, The Goodbye," the swirling gusts of icy wind echoing through the background, and, of course, the blood-curdling vocals of Daniel Neagoe help make Cenotaph one of the darkest and bleakest albums to drop in ages. Any connoisseur of doom would be moved by Eye Of Solitude's glacial march towards infinity. It would be a bold-faced lie to say that you will leave this experience happy, but it is an experience that you will appreciate undertaking nonetheless.

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Hyponic's third album is eerie and mesmerizing, maintaining a low profile to accentuate the haunting echoes that populate the soundscape. Taking cues from industrial music in the construction of its bleak, urban atmosphere, 前行者 employs atonal riffs, lurching percussion, and a cavernous sound to produce a diabolical effect. This album is almost exhaustingly downtrodden, absolutely hollow through to the last dying note.

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The best blackened doom releases are those that make you really question "is this doom or is it black metal?", and Ill Omen's Æ​.​Thy​.​Rift does just that. Razor-sharp black metal guitar riffs tears away at your flesh as the music crawls along at an oppressively heavy, funereal pace, creating a sinister vibe of pure darkness and sonic intensity. Stellar release, and an unquestionable AOTY in its department.

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The thick, blanketing sound of Lycus has graced these halls before, and Chasms tells us that our faith in this band is well-deserved. Wind-borne vocals of all kinds build over the wide, terrestrial guitar tones ever so slowly; the melodies lift their ancient heads, play out their sorrowful songs, wane, fade, and finally die off. Accompanied by an immense and far-reaching atmosphere, Lycus's return is so weighty and earth-shattering that its powerful chords will be heard all around the world.

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Yodh is doom played with the tremolo-picking shriekiness of black metal and black metal played with the bass-heavy encumbrance of doom. Un-expended anger, un-staunched agony, and uncaring, ceaseless despair fill every note of Yodh, whether it's in a whirlwind of lunging chords or a down-tempo dirge of droning bass. A thick pall of distortion covers every inch of Mizmor's hour in hell, a churning, slow-burning ride of wolf-like howls and deathly shadows.

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Eternal and mournful, bounded by majestic cascades of organ and operatic backing vocals, Self-Hatred's debut takes the funeral doom aesthetic to a real funeral and lets it run amok (or crawl amok, moribund and half-conscious). Theia has a full and titanic sound that make the haunted walls of its ghostly chapel feel creepily vibrant, with plenty of guitar leads and keyboards to offset the appropriately thick low end; the album moves at a perilous drag made heavy by punishing growls and pounding double bass, creating a new entry into the world of doom not easily matched.

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Suffer Yourself nearly flew under the radar this year with Ectoplasm, a haunting death-doom extravaganza. The album, which sounds almost as if it were recorded deep in the bowels of some massive cave a mile below the surface of the Earth, has all the hallmarks of the genre. Tortuously slow and long songs, that stark, single-note guitar harmony over walls of crashing doom noise, and guttural vocals, though the band isn't afraid to shift it up and even hit full headbanging tempos on occasion. Treat yourself? Hell no. Suffer Yourself, bastard!

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Here we have another band that's roughly 50% doom and 50% black metal - but don't claim you're getting tired of that formula before you've heard Yhdarl's appallingly raw and piercing rendition of the blackened doom sound. Inhuman wails and growls pepper the pungent air rising above riffs that remain chilling whether torn to shreds with tremolo-picking or depressingly mourned at a snail's pace. If this is only a prelude, then Yhdarl's next offering must be truly legendary.

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Write-in votes

Décembre Noir - Forsaken Earth
Darkher - Realms
Dead Congregation - Sombre Doom
Doomed - Anna
GGU:LL - Dwaling
Hanging Garden - Hereafter [EP]
Herem - III
Horse Latitudes - Primal Gnosis
Inverloch - Distance I Collapse
Quercus - Heart With Bread
Somnus Aeternus - Exulansis
Svlfvr - Shamanic Lvnar Cvlt
Swallow The Sun - Songs From The North I, II, & III
Treurwilg - Departure