The History Of Doom Metal Part Two: Extreme Doom

Written by: Aristarchos
Published: 25.12.2012
From Pittsburgh, USA, the band Dream Death would be the first band to mix death metal and doom metal, creating a genre often referred to as death doom metal (or sometimes doom death metal; some people make distinction between these two genres depending on whether they had a bigger element of death or of doom metal, the genre that is most significantly is often written to right), a genre that would come to include many bands, and later evolve into the sub-genres gothic doom and funeral doom. This article will tell the history of those sub-genres, as well as the sub-genre black doom (or blackened doom as it is sometimes referred to as).

The most influential band for the extreme doom metal genre is arguably Celtic Frost, the band that was formed from the ashes of also influential proto-black metallers Hellhammer. Celtic Frost didn't exactly play a form of doom metal, at least not until their 2006 release Monotheist. Rather they played some kind of slower thrash, and is also the first band to often be referred to as avant-garde metal (especially for their 1987 album Into The Pandemonium). They had an enormously impact on the black and death metal genres, and later also on the gothic and symphonic metal genres. All (or at least almost all) of the early black and death doom bands had a sound with obvious influences from Hellhammer and early Celtic Frost. Much more could be said about this band, but since they weren't really doom I will not dig deeper into their history here, and instead focus on the early death doom scene.

Dream Death was formed in 1985, released two demos in 1986, and album-debuted with their album Journey Into Mystery in 1987. Dream Death is one of the few death doom bands that also have a significantly element of thrash, and is therefore sometimes referred to as thrash doom, or death thrash doom. Journey Into Mystery would become their only album until they were transformed into the more traditional doom metal band Penance. Penance would come to release six albums before they split in 2004. In 2011 Dream Death re-formed, and a new album is planned for release in 2013.

Another early death doom band was Goatlord. They were also Americans, and formed in 1985. They didn't release any album until 1991 and Reflections Of The Solstice, but released two demos in 1987 resp. 1988. Their first demo is described as a mix of sludge and death metal, but the second demo is slower and from then their sound could be described as black death doom metal, and therefore they could be seen as the first black doom band. Goatlord came to release one more album, simply called Goatlord, in 1992, before their split in 1997. Goatlord is often very overlooked when talking about extreme doom, but both their two albums are, in my opinion, great, and recommended for both fans of black and death doom. In 2007 a third album with songs recorded in the early 90's was released.

The Netherlands also had an early death doom scene. These bands include Sempiternal Deathreign (formed in 1986, released the album The Spooky Gloom in 1989), Delirium (formed in 1988, released the album Zzooouhh in 1990) and Necro Schizma (formed in 1989, only released demos, but their 1989 demo Erupted Evil was officially re-released in 2001). All of these bands were, just like in the cases of Dream Death and Goatlord, strongly influenced by Hellhammer and early Celtic Frost. Necro Schizma played a very slow form of doom metal and is sometimes mentioned as a predecessor to funeral doom. None of these early Dutch bands would come to release more than one album.

The most well-known doom band from the Netherlands is The Gathering. Formed in 1989, they were probably the first band to use the "beauty and the beast"-sound, containing a male growling and a female singing beautiful, used first time on their first demo An Imaginary Symphony in 1990 (pre-dating Paradise Lost's Gothic). Two years later, in 1992, they released their first album Always…. After another release they left the doom metal genre for a more atmospheric sound, often described as gothic metal, on their 1995 album Mandylion, which was their first album only containing female vocals. Mandylion became their breakthrough, and seems to be their most popular album. After one more album they left the entire metal genre.

Also from the Netherlands, Asphyx (containing the former Pestilence-vocalist Martin Van Drunen) could also be mentioned. They were formed in 1987, released their first demo in 1988 and their first album, The Rack, in 1991. Asphyx was more of a death metal band with doom metal influences, rather than the other way around. The same could be said about the American Autopsy.

Autopsy was formed in 1987 and released their debut album Severed Survival in 1989. Severed Survival would have a huge impact on the death metal genre, not least on the Swedish death metal scene. But when talking doom it is their second album Mental Funeral, released in 1991, which would be their most influential.

Many death metal bands would follow in a slower direction. My personal favourite is Icelandic Sororicide, who only released one album, The Entity from 1991, but they are more slow death metal than death doom, although sometimes labelled death doom. I'm only mentioning them because I love them so much, and want to take every chance I get to recommend them.

Back to more pure death doom. American Winter, formed in 1988, would release one of the more influential albums for death doom metal, Into Darkness, in 1990 (released some months earlier than Paradise Lost's debut). Into Darkness is a very cold and dark album, and less melodic than the more famous bands that would soon follow in the genre. Sadly, the band split in 1992, before releasing any more albums, but they would also release an EP in 1994, and had previously released a demo in 1989.

When talking about early death doom, there are three bands that probably first come to peoples minds: Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema. These three bands are usually together referred to as the "Peaceville Trio", since all three acts were on Peaceville Records at that time. All of them are also British.

Paradise Lost was formed in 1988, and released their first album Lost Paradise in 1990. Lost Paradise was mainly a death metal album with a doom element. On their second album Gothic, released in 1991, they started experimenting more with keyboards and some female vocals. Sisters Of Mercy has been mentioned as their main influence for this change, and their death metal element was lessened since their debut. This album had a huge influence for the gothic metal genre. Releasing one more album, Shades Of God in 1992, in the doom genre, Paradise Lost changed their style on their 1993 release Icon to a more pure gothic metallic sound, continuing this direction on their later albums, with less weight for every album on their next three albums, although they would regain some weight later.

My Dying Bride was formed in 1990. They released their debut EP Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium in 1991 and their debut album As The Flower Withers in 1992, which was in a death doom style. With their next album, Turn Loose The Swans from 1993, My Dying Bride included a violin player, something unusual at that time, but it would come to influence many gothic metal bands later on. "The Angel And The Dark River" from 1995 was a departure from their death metal influences, but still very doomy, often described as gothic doom. Out of the bands in the Peaceville Trio My Dying Bride is the band that have stayed closest to their original sound, never leaving the doom metal genre, with their 1998 album 34.788%... Complete as their only true experiment.

Anathema was formed in 1990 (as Pagan Angel). They debuted in 1992 with an EP, The Crestfallen, and 1993 with their first album Serenades, which was very death doom oriented. Their second album The Silent Enigma, was released in 1995, and was still very doomy, but with less death metal influences. The Silent Enigma has a very emotive and beautiful atmosphere. In 1996 Anathema left the death doom genre with their release Eternity, and turned to a more atmospheric Pink Floyd-influenced sound. Continuing this direction and leaving metal more and more for every release, their two following albums, Alternative 4 (1998) and Judgement (1999), still remains their most popular albums, although personally I prefer The Silent Enigma.

Now I will move over to the Swedish scene. In Sweden there popped up two bands with their own unique sounds that fits in in the doom genre: Tiamat and Katatonia.

Tiamat was formed in 1987 as Treblinka. Their first two albums were essentially death metal albums, although quite odd for being death metal, and especially the second had a clear influence from doom. With their third album, Clouds, released in 1992, they changed towards a more death doom metallic direction. After that, with Wildhoney from 1994, they started mixing in more psychedelic and progressive influences into their sound. Pink Floyd has been mentioned as a big influence. Wildhoney still remains their most popular album. After that album they changed to a more pure gothic metal sound with less weight. With their 2008 album, Amanethes, they returned to a heavier sound, and that album is my personal favourite by them, along with their debut.

Katatonia was formed in 1991. Their debut EP, Jhva Elohim Meth... The Revival, released in 1992, is one of the first releases in the black doom genre. It was followed by the album Dance Of December Souls the next year. With their 1996 album Brave Murder Day, they changed to a more death doom direction (Dance Of December Souls is sometimes referred to as death doom too, but also contains a clearly element of black metal). Later they left the death element and, just like Tiamat, turned more to a gothic metal sound, but still retaining some of their doom elements.

Other early Swedish bands in the gothic metal genre include Cemetary and Lake Of Tears. The former started as a highly recommended death metal band, slowly turning to a more gothic direction, also including some elements of doom.

As you have seen, most of the bands that would be influential for gothic metal started more or less as death metal bands, but there is one special exception to this. Coming from the hardcore band Carnivore, vocalist and bassist Peter Steele formed the band Type O Negative in 1989. Debuting in 1991 with Slow, Deep And Hard, Type O Negative created a really unique sound with Peter Steele's vampyric vocals, the gloomy atmospheric keyboards, some industrial influences, some influences left from hardcore, and of course doom. On their 1993 release Bloody Kisses Type O Negative continued this direction, although with a little less aggression. Bloody Kisses is probably the most commercially successful album in the doom genre, except for Black Sabbath's album, selling platinum in the USA. Bloody Kisses is also what I guess is their most popular album, and also, along with their debut, my personal favourite album by them. After four more albums, Peter Steele sadly passed away in 2010 because of heart failure. The band disbanded, with two members starting the group A Pale Horse Named Death, continuing in the style of Type O Negative.

In Norway Theatre Of Tragedy took the beauty and the beast sound further than anyone before, and was the first band to use it on an entire album. Formed in 1993, they debuted in 1995 with Theatre Of Tragedy, which, along with their following two albums, are their most popular ones. On their fourth album, Theatre Of Tragedy moved away to a more industrial sound. Theatre Of Tragedy was followed in the beauty and the beast sound by other Norweigian bands like Tristania and The Sins Of Thy Beloved and also Swedish Draconian.

A band that took it another step further was Norweigian The 3rd And The Mortal. Formed in 1992 and debuting in 1994 with Tears Laid In Earth, they pre-dated The Gathering in using only female vocals. With their very atmospheric form of doom metal, they would come to influence many later bands. On their next album, Painting On Glass from 1996, The 3rd And The Mortal would take a more experimental direction, and after that album they switched to non-metal.

A band that would come to be influential for the black doom genre is Bethlehem. Formed in 1991, they debuted in 1994 with their album Dark Metal. Dark Metal would give name to a new genre, which I don't think has gotten any real definition yet, and is therefore quite useless for describing music. It looks like people are throwing in anything that can't be described by the conventional genres under that tag. Bethlehem was the first metal band (to my knowledge) to use suicidal lyrics, something that would come to influence many later bands in the depressive black metal genre. Bethlehem is still active and has released six albums so far.

Another early black doom metal band is Finnish Barathrum. They were formed in 1990 and debuted in 1994 with the album Hailstorm, although they had released several demos since 1991, and are still active. Deinonychus was also quite early, formed in 1992 and debuted in 1995. More modern bands in the genre include Dolorian, Forgotten Tomb and Woods Of Ypres. Sometimes German Empyrium is labelled as (folk) black doom metal too, but they could probably best be described as mainly a folk metal band or a folk/doom metal band, but with some elements of black and symphonic metal. Uaral also mixes folk and doom metal. Agalloch is sometimes described as folk/black/doom metal too, but personally I call them more atmospheric folk metal.

After talking about bands mixing doom with death, black and (in the case of Dream Death) thrash metal, what more could be mixed with doom? Yes, grindcore. The mix sounds contradictory, but it is exactly what Disembowelment (often written as diSEMBOWELMENT) did. Disembowelment was formed in 1989. They only came to release one album, Transcendence Into The Peripheral, released in 1993, before they split, but had previously released two demos (the first in 1990) and one EP, Dusk, from 1992. Disembowelment's sound is slow doom metal with some fast grinding passages, which is why they are sometimes labelled as doom grind, but often referred to as doom death. They also came to have a big influence on the funeral doom metal genre; a genre that started in Finland and is often described as the slowest and heaviest form of metal, often combined with dreamy atmospheres made by keyboards.

The first doom metal band from Finland (at least that I know of) was Unholy. They weren't exactly funeral doom, but had a big influence on that genre. Unholy was formed in 1988 under the name Holy Hell. As Holy Hell they released one demo Kill Jesus from 1989, that is often described as black doom, and Holy Hell is therefore one of the first bands belonging to that genre. As Unholy, they would come to release one EP in 1991, and totally four albums. The first album, From The Shadows, was released in 1993. Its sound is very slow death doom metal, played in a unique way. On this site Unholy are labelled only as doom metal, but their music has nothing to do with traditional doom. It isn't really reminiscent of any other death doom band either. Personally I would call their music something like proto-funeral doom or just extreme doom, but I prefer them over any funeral doom band, and perhaps even over any other extreme doom band. Unholy's next release, The Second Ring Of Power, is also a highly recommended album. On their third album, Rapture, they experimented more, and this album is sometimes called avant-garde doom and isn't as heavy as its two predecessors, but in my opinion it's also great. Unholy split in 2002.

The first band that is usually called funeral doom is Thergothon. Thergothon was formed in 1989, released two demos in 1991 and one album, Stream From the Heavens, in 1994; an album that is quite famous for its poor production, but has also been hugely influential for the genre. At the time the album was released, the band had already split.

Thergothon was followed by Norweigian Funeral and Finnish Skepticism in the funeral doom genre. Both bands were formed in 1991 and full length debuted in 1995. The latter band's debut, Stormcrowfleet, is what I consider the genre's major work. Skepticism is much more easy-listening than Thergothon. Other bands that would follow in the genre include Evoken, Esoteric, Shape Of Despair and Ahab. There are some discussions about which band really deserves to be called funeral doom. Still no funeral doom band have gained any commercial success, probably the genre is too slow for that.

Another Finnish band that also sometimes is described as doom is Amorphis, or at least their second album Tales From The Thousand Lakes from 1994 (often considered as their best album and a hugely influential album for Finnish metal), but personally I think that album is more melodic death metal than death doom, although it contains some doom influences. Their debut also included some doom influences, but not equally significantly as on its follower. Anyway, Amorphis left both the death and doom genres for a more progressive direction after that album.

Other early doom death metal bands that deserve to be briefly mentioned are American Novembers Doom (formed in 1989, debuted in 1995) and Italian Novembre (formed in 1990, debuted in 1994). Both bands are still active.

In the 2000's a wave of many new bands arrived playing what is often described as melodic death doom metal. These bands include Saturnus (they were formed already in 1991 and debuted in 1996), Swallow The Sun, Rapture, Slumber and Daylight Dies.

The next part of the history of doom metal will deal with the history of the sludge, post, stoner and drone metal genres...


 
Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.




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Aristarchos - 31.12.2012 at 21:43  
Written by Guest on 29.12.2012 at 22:08

Once again, loved the article but again i haven't checked the pre peaceville 3 bands you mentioned.. Going to the roots of doom is now my top priority come 2013.

Thanks again! I'm glad I can help other people look out new bands. Now I feel it has really been worth taking my time to write these articles. Out of the early bands mentioned here Goatlord is my personal favourite.
NocturnalStalker - 02.01.2013 at 06:58  
Thanks for the interesting article once again. Surely I already know most of the bands but I was able to discover some new names (especially old bands). Looking forward to the next article.
Bad English - 02.01.2013 at 14:56  
One of rare articles who gives history lessions whit underground, most of others would say MDB, PL, Anathema etc, non even remeber those bands, to be honesty I dont remeber my self, even I have listened those underground, but before I read it I didnt know you will mention those....and beauty and the beast 3th and the mortal - tears lied on earth can be doomy to and for me The Gathering I like only one album ...... and you forgot talk about Swedish band Runemagic what was DM leither DM whit doom infuence and The Funeral Orchestra , Eqvinox ov the Gods also is good Swe doom but not extreme
Aristarchos - 04.01.2013 at 14:16  
Written by NocturnalStalker on 02.01.2013 at 06:58

Thanks for the interesting article once again. Surely I already know most of the bands but I was able to discover some new names (especially old bands). Looking forward to the next article.

thanks
Aristarchos - 04.01.2013 at 14:23  
Written by Bad English on 02.01.2013 at 14:56

...... and you forgot talk about Swedish band Runemagic what was DM leither DM whit doom infuence and The Funeral Orchestra , Eqvinox ov the Gods also is good Swe doom but not extreme

I can not mention all bands. With Runemagick I think of them more as a death metal with doom influences rather than the other way, and I don't consider them as an important band. They released their first album in 1998. With The Funeral Orchestra, Equinox ov the Gods I haven't listened to them, but they are underground bands and not important. I know I mentioned a band like Cemetary, who is quite underground too, and only on the border to doom, but they were at least early (released their debut in 1992), and the main reason I mentioned them was that I love them so much.
Bad English - 04.01.2013 at 14:27  
Written by Aristarchos on 04.01.2013 at 14:23

Written by Bad English on 02.01.2013 at 14:56

...... and you forgot talk about Swedish band Runemagic what was DM leither DM whit doom infuence and The Funeral Orchestra , Eqvinox ov the Gods also is good Swe doom but not extreme

I can not mention all bands. With Runemagick I think of them more as a death metal with doom influences rather than the other way, and I don't consider them as an important band. They released their first album in 1998. With The Funeral Orchestra, Equinox ov the Gods I haven't listened to them, but they are underground bands and not important. I know I mentioned a band like Cemetary, who is quite underground too, and only on the border to doom, but they were at least early (released their debut in 1992), and the main reason I mentioned them was that I love them so much.


well Runemagic was death metal leither they becaise death metal whit doom elements and IMO band start earlyer I dont know but its good peace
The FUneral Orchestra is good FD metal, dunno it was my fac FD band some time ago, and Qquinox ov the Gods well its not extreme, it shood be in prev part more, vocals is soft
Marcel Hubregtse - 04.01.2013 at 14:35  
I agree with Aristarchos, all those bands you mentioned K7, are NOT important for the evolution of extreme doom. If he mentions them he might as well mention every single extreme doom band on the face of the earth
Aristarchos - 07.01.2013 at 13:19  
Written by Bad English on 02.01.2013 at 14:56

for me The Gathering I like only one album

Which The Gathering album do you like?
Bad English - 07.01.2013 at 14:05  
Written by Aristarchos on 07.01.2013 at 13:19

Written by Bad English on 02.01.2013 at 14:56

for me The Gathering I like only one album

Which The Gathering album do you like?


only opening album

Marcel wel maybe not but for weduish scene those bands are
Marcel Hubregtse - 07.01.2013 at 14:12  
Written by Bad English on 07.01.2013 at 14:05


Marcel wel maybe not but for weduish scene those bands are


NO, those bands also aren't important for how the Swedish extreme doom developed.
Bad English - 07.01.2013 at 14:15  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 07.01.2013 at 14:12

Written by Bad English on 07.01.2013 at 14:05


Marcel wel maybe not but for weduish scene those bands are


NO, those bands also aren't important for how the Swedish extreme doom developed.


Runemagic is, band has some 8 albums and band isnt underground , or I am stupid
Marcel Hubregtse - 07.01.2013 at 14:19  
Written by Bad English on 07.01.2013 at 14:15

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 07.01.2013 at 14:12

Written by Bad English on 07.01.2013 at 14:05


Marcel wel maybe not but for weduish scene those bands are


NO, those bands also aren't important for how the Swedish extreme doom developed.


Runemagic is, band has some 8 albums and band isnt underground , or I am stupid


they mostly played death metal only last couple of albums were doom death but they totally didn't have any influence on how extreme doom developend in Sweden, they were trend followers not trend setters. Yes they are quite underground but that does not make them important in the development of a genre. They started playing doom death when loads of bands already played it.
Aristarchos - 10.01.2013 at 13:38  
Written by Bad English on 07.01.2013 at 14:05

Written by Aristarchos on 07.01.2013 at 13:19

Written by Bad English on 02.01.2013 at 14:56

for me The Gathering I like only one album

Which The Gathering album do you like?


only opening album

Personally I have never been a fan of The Gathering, but I have perhaps never given the debut a fair chance because of their later albums.
Marcel Hubregtse - 10.01.2013 at 14:18  
Written by Aristarchos on 10.01.2013 at 13:38


Personally I have never been a fan of The Gathering, but I have perhaps never given the debut a fair chance because of their later albums.


totally diferent music, so give the debut a chance, although it does sound typical of that era,
Aristarchos - 09.03.2013 at 16:59  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 10.01.2013 at 14:18

Written by Aristarchos on 10.01.2013 at 13:38


Personally I have never been a fan of The Gathering, but I have perhaps never given the debut a fair chance because of their later albums.


totally diferent music, so give the debut a chance, although it does sound typical of that era,

I have given it a second chance now, but still not a fan. In doom I prefer trad doom over death doom. Otherwise I prefer slower death like Sororicide and Cemetary over death doom. Cemetary's second album Godless beauty, which is my favourite, could be called death doom though, and is therefore my favourite death doom album. It has a dark and depressive atmosphere, but also has some great melodies, especially in And Julie Is No More, but never gets too melodic. As mentioned in the article I also enjoy Goatlord - Reflections Of The Solstice and Unholy - The Second Ring Of Power.
Aristarchos - 18.03.2013 at 18:13  
I could also mention I enjoy early Type O Negative in gothic doom and first 3rd And The Mortal in atmospheric doom very much.
Jimbul2 - 27.03.2013 at 20:36  
Thank you so much for recommending Sororicide, I went to check them out and now I am hooked. And thank you for putting down all this work for people to enjoy.
Aristarchos - 02.04.2013 at 12:35  
Written by Guest on 27.03.2013 at 20:36

Thank you so much for recommending Sororicide, I went to check them out and now I am hooked. And thank you for putting down all this work for people to enjoy.

Thanks! I'm glad someone else than me enjoy Sororicide.
Jimbul2 - 28.05.2013 at 10:03  
I just realized that you probably live less than 2 hours from me.
Aristarchos - 10.07.2013 at 10:03  
Written by Guest on 28.05.2013 at 10:03

I just realized that you probably live less than 2 hours from me.

So where in Sweden do you live?
Jimbul2 - 10.07.2013 at 11:50  
Written by Aristarchos on 10.07.2013 at 10:03

Written by Guest on 28.05.2013 at 10:03

I just realized that you probably live less than 2 hours from me.

So where in Sweden do you live?

I live close to Borås and Göteborg.
Aristarchos - 23.12.2013 at 21:36  
Written by Bad English on 02.01.2013 at 14:56

...... and you forgot talk about Swedish band Runemagic what was DM leither DM whit doom infuence and The Funeral Orchestra , Eqvinox ov the Gods also is good Swe doom but not extreme

I have checked out The Funeral Orchestra and Equinox ov the gods, and I liked both of them. Thanks for the recommendations.
ManiacBlasphemer - 23.05.2014 at 15:10  
Among more contemporary funeral doom bands I would go with Omit (with a female at vox) and Remembrance (again with a female vocalist). Other noteworthy extreme doom bands: Doom:VS, Estatic Fear (a marriage of gothic, symphonic and doom sounds with extensive usage of violin a'la My Dying Bride), Octavia Sperati (which gave the current The Gathering vocalist), Wine From Tears (in the vein of Swallow The Sun), Lycanthia (gothic doom with a tinge of death metal), Ashes You Leave (one of the first death/doom bands from Croatia, if not one of the first metal bands given by this country, formed in 1995, they evolved to a more gothic/doom sound with Fire) and The Foreshadowing (standard gothic doom but with only male vocals, their debut being a must listen).

Great and very detailed article. Keep it up.

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