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The Best Doom Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2021





How about some nice, organic doom'n'roll? With Alan Averill (Primordial) at the helm, Dread Sovereign play doom metal with a punk twist, conveyed through a raw DIY production. Excellent singing is to be expected, of course, and extensive atmospheric sections break off the doom-meets-rock'n'roll swagger, making Alchemical Warfare sound slightly out of time in just the right way. If you're thirsting for some classic doom with a rocking attitude and jammy live feel, Dread Sovereign have got you covered.

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For a band that hit the jackpot with choosing the doomiest possible band name and pioneering funeral doom in the mid-'90s, Funeral never really amassed as much attention as those facts would imply. A lot of the band's catalog is pretty middling, and Praesentialis In Aeternum comes after the longest pause between albums, so the odds were not in its favor. However, Praesentialis In Aeternum has the best vocalist that Funeral has ever had; the songwriting sports some symphonic elements while also bringing more death-doom to the fold to feel closer to the band's funeral doom heyday, and the drumming intensifies the mournful dirge feeling. In spite of all odds, the long break brought the best Funeral album in a long while.

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My, how you spoil us, Khemmis; one fantastic debut was enough to turn our heads, and then a brilliant follow-up was a lovely surprise, and a killer trilogy was just more than we deserved. But four albums in a row of trend-setting doom that stands head-and-shoulders above even the strongest practitioners of the new generation? That’s just cheating. Khemmis are really off on a streak set to define this era of doom for ages to come, and they mean to cover all the bases: they’ve got the sludgey side, the stoner side, the epic side, and the death-doom side all down pat, and Deceiver makes the best use yet of their steadily improving clean vocals (which were great to begin with). Doom is a broad genre, but Khemmis have clearly stated their intent to be the best at every permutation of it, and damned if they’re not doing exactly that.

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Kristina Esfandiari of King Woman (among many other projects) is one of the most unique voices in doom metal, and by unique I mean that it's the one element of King Woman's music that is the most "love it or hate it". It's a timbre that keeps growing on you with each listen. And with how huge the injections of shoegaze, alt rock, grunge, and indie were into the occult doom of Created In The Image Of Suffering, it all pretty much boils down to how appealing they are to the listener, because Celestial Blues does everything in its power to create a doom album that hits those exact sensibilities, all the while crooning and shouting and screaming and howling some biblical allegories through some celestial blues about Kris's personal experiences.

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Lucifer's Fall are a traditional, epic, raw, and heavy doom metal band, drawing influences from the music of Reverend Bizarre, Pentagram, and Saint Vitus. Eccentric vocals narrate Lovecraftian tales of horror and mystique, asking you to join the doom cult. Slow and meaty riffs transform octopedal copulation acts into musical notes, while the rhythm section drills into your skull and has sex with your brain. If you like doom metal of any kind, do not miss III - From The Deep.

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It is probably quite exhausting for artists hailing from Finland to play melodic death-doom metal and to be compared again and again with the spearheads of the genre from their own country, Swallow The Sun. But Marianas Rest truly do not have to hide from their famed compatriots, because the sextet from the seaport of Kotka does everything right on its third longplayer: Fata Morgana is stuffed with potential new favorite songs for fans of everything that blends intense Nordic melodeath with atmospheric doom metal. Supported by guest vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft (Cradle Of Filth) and cellist Timo Virkkala, who is already known from the previous album Ruins, the gentlemen around vocalist Jaakko Mäntymaa and keyboard artist Aapo Koivistos (Omnium Gatherum) have created eight haunting odes to the harsh Finnish winter landscape, but with a sense for just the right mix of metallic heaviness and gloomy melancholy that the great role models from Jyväskylä had unfortunately often lost in the past.

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Sinamort (not to be confused with Sinamore) are a Lithuanian band that have been around since 2015, but The Idle Veil is their first release, and it is one that really does feel like something that was carefully labored on for so long. Crafting a gloomy death-doom sound, Sinamort easily move through sections that build atmosphere, sections that feel gothic and melodramatic, and sections that put more emphasis on the "death" part of death-doom, letting the keys and the violin sprinkle just the right amount of nuance and making The Idle Veil an affair that feels both familiar and adventurous.

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A duo made up of Jason Köhnen (also known as Bong-Ra) and frequent Thy Catafalque collaborator Martina Veronika Horváth brings us a doom album. But as is expected from their experimental background, Forlorn takes the established formula of female-fronted gothic doom and reinvents it from a darkjazz perspective. Saxophones, church organs, violins, electronics. None of these are new ground in doom. But rearrange them in a certain way and you might unlock a side of doom that lay dormant. Herein lies the answer.

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Colorado’s finest doom/black/folk/whatever metal band return with an album that’s as hard to label as any of their other records. Eventide has a slower doom base, with trudging riffs and crawls dragging the songs along; however, on top of this base, there is Agalloch-like blackened folk in the form of the pained shrieks, sombre acoustics, and melodic tremolo, as well as snippets of post-rock, blackgaze, Opeth-style prog, and more, not to mention plenty of dynamic shifts, with soft breaks embedded within every track. Eventide is a successful fusion of doom, meloblack, and about a half-dozen other stylistic influences in an evocative and atmospheric package.

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The second album of Vouna, entitled Atropos, is funeral doom metal with elements of atmospheric black metal/blackgaze and ethereal goth. It is melancholic, melodic, lush, soothing, gloomy, dreary, and bleak, but not aggressive. Its pace is trudging but never monotonous and each song feels like it is moving forward; very slowly, but moving forward nonetheless. The songwriting is surprisingly interesting for the style, with different (and unrepeated) sections in each song. Atropos is one of the very few instances in which a funeral doom release has enough things going on to keep the listener engaged and doesn't rely solely on atmosphere, and this is why it should appeal to those who reject this style for sounding too repetitive and uneventful.

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