These obviously won't ruin your day. Chances are if you are into these styles you'll love this selection. No stylistic borders, but I'm limiting myself to one album per band. These aren't necessarily my favorite albums by these bands, but they are the one's I think fit the best.
Ævangelist - De Masticatione Mortuorum In Tumulis This album slowly creeps into your ears via a short ambient intro, and builds into a cacophonous swirling procession of ravaging tremolo picked guitars and blasting drums that give no room for light. Tempo changes and short more ambient driven sections provide this album with enough versatility to make it constantly enjoyable.
Abruptum - Potestates Apocalypsis Abruptum are no strangers to the art of suffering. Having been around for over 20 years, this band has always made a form of eerie and ear piercing drone/dark ambient which tremors in the background of your speakers. As it hovers there, building with a monumentally slow pace, the tracks seem to jump. They screech at you, like nails on a chalkboard, and then recede again. You aren't safe. The atmosphere only gets darker and darker, and by the end Abruptum have you trembling in fear, but wanting more.
Abyssal - Novit Enim Dominus Qui Sunt Eius This is a sonic assault. A massive beating that penetrates your ear canal and uses your ear drum as a punching bag. Dissonant riffs and insanely deep vocals that lie behind the wall of violent savagery. Pulsing in and out of upbeat blasting sections and more drawn out tremolo picked guitar riffs, this is an album that will hook you in, tear you down, and submit you to it's torture through it's entirety.
Aderlating - Spear Of Gold And Seraphim Bone Part One Mories is the single musician nearest and dearest to my heart, and if he heard me say that he'd probably rip it out and use it as his next album cover. Aderlating is one of his less known bands, features ominous ambient backings which seem to quiver in fear as distant drums arduously pound away, slowly approaching you. As it gets nearer and nearer, you see the horde. It's shrouded by a blackened fog, and growls out in rage underneath the chaotic percussion which is only getting louder and louder. The intensity continues growing as it slowly engulfs everything in sight, and by the end of this horrifying journey, everything is black.
Alkerdeel - Morinde Everything about this album is ugly. From the cover to the grime covered riffs. Ugly chord progressions that alternate between a slow procession and blasting mayhem ring through your ears for the duration of this beast. The vocals seem to be one with the mix, and blend into the hideous tone of the guitar with seamless perfection. Morinde drags on and blasts through your ears for 42 minutes of sludge infested and blackened doom.
Antediluvian - λόγος λόγος, or Logos when using the Latin alphabet, is a savage procession of evil and hellfire. Completely dismal and disorienting tones guide the down-tuned, tremolo picked guitar riffs through this burning forest. Everything swirls together with such painful torment, it's amazing these musicians managed to record such a frightening piece of art. This is a mostly fast paced chaotic slab of evil death metal.
Aosoth - IV: An Arrow In Heart Here we have an excellent slab of black metal which clearly holds heavy influences with Deathspell Omega. The riffs are mostly tremolo picked patterns of tonal clashes over consistently pounding drums. It varies from mid-paced to full out blasting blaster blasty blast beats. There's nothing too special about Aosoth, but they succeed with flying colors in creating a dense and rich atmosphere of despair.
Arizmenda - Within The Vacuum Of Infinity... Take acid and sit in a cave. That will probably evoke the same feeling as this psychedelic influenced black metal masterpiece does. The vocals lie subdued beneath an infernal torrent of riffing mayhem. As this album pounds on it sends you into a euphoric trance, but never let's go of the dark and dismal atmosphere it creates.
Bethlehem - Dark Metal An empty, hollow, and cold experience. Bethlehem pound along with reasonably high-tempo riffs that plunge abruptly into slow moving doom oriented sections that drag on and ring out. A raw and old school feel is achieved through reverberated guitars that don't focus too heavily on the bass end for a boost, but rather rip along in layers to create a dense and suffocating atmosphere. Vocals rip the music to shreds, with high pitched shrieks akin to many other black metal bands during the uptempo sections, and deep gut-wrenching gutturals accompanying the doom oriented sections.
Blut Aus Nord - MoRT Hollow. This music does not evoke emotional response, but rather sucks all life out of your body and leaves a hollow shell in its place. Riffs that follow no logic plod along while disjointed and quizzical leads ring above with seemingly no direction other than an end. This is not an album for everyone. This is not accessible, but rather completely inaccessible, and it's absolutely marvelous.
Catacombs - In The Depths Of R'lyeh Reverberated guitars echoing through the halls which lead to your demise. This album opens in such a way that perfectly sets the mood. Throughout this experience, you are subjected to painful chromatic guitar lines and pounding rhythms that ever so slowly beat on with unbelievable weight. Vocals that sound as if they dwell within an abyss somewhere below the surface of the earth, and rise out of the ground with terrifying force.
Coffinworm - IV.I.VIII Coffinworm's sophomore release, IV.I.VIII, features music even more crushing and vile than their debut. It starts by immediately pummeling you to the ground with a shriek and blasted guitar lines which clash in a manner so cruel it creates a sound of sheer horror. Feedback and dissonance appear in massive number throughout this album, which smashes it's way through your face, without pausing, for a full 40 minutes, before it finally releases you.
Dark Tribe - In Jeraspunta - Die Rückkehr Der Tollwütigen Bestie The instant you click play, the insanity begins. Razor sharp riffs tear you to shreds as this chaotic journey flies along with high speeds. The chord progressions layered on top of each other with massive force create a dense and terrifying atmosphere of pure blackness, and only to add on top of that, demented vocals shriek on and on with intense energy.
Darkspace - Dark Space III Don't let your astronaut friends hear this album, they'll likely quit their jobs. From the first minute of this album one might expect a standard dark ambient album, but you are quickly proven wrong as the vocalist rips through your speakers with a mortifying scream. The instrumentation comes in with equal force, and blasts away with no hope for nearly the whole album. Peppered with some tasty more drawn out sections that are laden with ambient influences, this album is sure to take you on a trip through the horrors of space.
De Magia Veterum - The Deification Chaos. Savagery. Pure insanity. These are terms I would use to describe The Deification. At first it may sound like a mess of instrumentation and shocking vocals, but give it a minute and it all falls into place. Suddenly the chaotic distorted guitars form haunting melodies that pile on top of one another forming a wall of shear terror. Mories' vocals only further accentuate this terror as his shrieks blast through this wondrous wall of noise and pile drive you into the dust.
Dead Congregation - Graves Of The Archangels Graves Of The Archangels sounds like an old school death metal album that had the evil knob turned up. This album shreds along with very precise and very rapid guitar riffs which jump in and out of alternating lines in any given single riff. The drumming is precise as well, blasting away with ease at absurdly high tempos. The vocalist has fantastic low gutturals, but nothing you haven't heard before. This album doesn't break down barriers, it simply takes something that was good (old school death metal) and makes it a bit darker (read; better).
Deathspell Omega - Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum Disorienting riffs fly by as savage drums beat you into submission. Beauty is achieved on this album, through an incredibly dense and dark atmosphere created through layered dissonance. Drums provide endless fills to aggregate the madness, and the only chances you get to breath within the massing of dissonant chaos, are horrifying and eerie ambient sections. In addition to these ambient sections, a few more drawn out guitar-driven intros and outros exist to assist in the atmosphere building.
Diamanda Galás - The Litanies Of Satan I don't even know where to begin with this. On the surface, one could call it an experiment in avantgarde vocal performances, but it is so much more. It is dark and schizophrenic at times, and at the other it is outright horrifying. There are elements of industrial, dark ambient, classical, and so much more laying beneath the stinking masterpiece that is The Litanies of Satan. There is nothing quite like this, and really the only way to understand what it is, is to experience it for yourself.
Dolorian - When All The Laughter Has Gone Slow echoing sounds of a dystopian society echo throughout this album. Vocals subdued under the malicious riffs and slowly pounding drums emerge through the fog and are the cherry on top of this dark ice cream sundae (I probably could have picked a more appropriate analogy). The formula is simple, and something we've seen before, but the execution takes this album and holds it a mile above the rest.
Dragged Into Sunlight - Hatred For Mankind I said Alkerdeel were ugly, well Dragged Into Sunlight are something beyond ugly. A monster so vile that it simply oozes filth. The tone of the guitars is razor sharp yet manages to blast through your speakers with massive force. Sound clips from movies are scattered throughout the album and add to the eerie atmosphere the music creates.
Elend - A World In Their Screams Those familiar with this album will know exactly why it makes an appearance on this list. Our good friend Joe (username !J.O.O.E.!) once described this (on facebook) as being more frightening sounding than any metal band could ever hope to achieve. Joe was entirely correct. Elend play a neoclassical form of symphonic music, and this particular album provides us with compositions that defy anything I once believed orchestral music could accomplish. Chaotic, at times somber and mournful, but through and through a dark and pitch black journey.
Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry Blood Geometry is a bleak, slow moving, monolithic monster. Here we find an album that pushes on for over two hours, and in this large chunk of your day, you are constantly rewarded with repetitious and slow moving riffs that fling you to the floor and beat you while you're down. Melancholy finds you through the form of ambiance and more blackened sections, but this hope is only relative, as the entire album is a purely dismal effort.
Empathie - :Z:Z:Z: This is an album that sounds utterly disconnected with reality. Ambiance and noise lead into riffs that (very) slowly pound along with the weight of the earth, and vomitive vocals that ring through your ears as the noise in the background slowly quavers in a wavelike formation. This is repetitive and hopeless. No unnecessary melodies or harmonies, simply unforgiving desolation.
Esoteric - The Pernicious Enigma The Pernicious Enigma is unforgiving. A horrifying trip through the twisted mind of Greg Chandler. Easily Esoteric's most vile and disturbing album from this funeral doom outfit. Gone are the emotive somber clean sections from their later work, and gone is any semblance of hope. This is a crushing monolithic effort that is sure to leave you an empty shell. Also it's two hours long... woot!
Eyehategod - Take As Needed For Pain Eyehategod probably hate life. What we have here is a drugged up ode to the hatred of humanity. It's ugly, it's fun, and overall, it's plain wrong. It feels dark in a way different than any of the other albums on this list. This album can be fun, and it's ideal for a lazy Sunday afternoon, but the mere fact that it's so drenched in anger and hatred creates an atmosphere so dark and dense that it's difficult to overcome. Sitting through the whole 50 minutes will give you a new outlook on life, and if it left a strong enough impression, you'll promptly go punch your grandmother in the face, steal her car, and crash it into an orphanage, but only while blaring this album one last time.
Funeralium - Deceived Idealism Funeralium play a sort of doom that is so oppressive and heavy it is quite frightening at times (well, if you're new to the genre it will be, I just find it awesome). It's slow, it's dense, and it's simply smothered in layers of agony. The guitars plod along, occasionally sustaining notes into feedback as the vocalist shreds through your ears. At times the band moves to a more upbeat tempo, but only to further extenuate the pain they are conveying, seeing the vocalist switch to a higher pitched shriek over a much "groovier" guitar line.
Ghast - May The Curse Bind Fast pace guitar riffs cycle in and out of harmonic minor keys, chromatic scales, and generally evil sounding chord progressions. The drums blast away with no real technicality, but simply add to the effect of the repetition as the music penetrates you and begins to feel very natural. But once comfort finds you, Ghast change up the style, and may switch to a slower more consistent riffing progression, or turn on turbo-drive. High pitched vocals moan out from behind the torrent, and tie together the dark and dismal vibe this album brings to the table.
Gnaw Their Tongues - Eschatological Scatology A layer of filth and noise resides above savage guitar riffs and subtle orchestral elements which all morphs together to form the monster that is Eschatological Scatology. The pained vocals of a musical genius shriek in the background under the wall of noise and echo throughout the album with horrifying torment. This is not my favorite album from the mastermind Mories', but it is his work which best represents elements of darkness and torture. A black metal album that sounds as if it was recorded in a morgue.
Grave Miasma - Odori Sepulcrorum Few bands can manage to recreate the glorious sound of early 90''s death metal, but Grave Miasma have done just that. The guitar tone just reeks in a style very reminiscent of early Entombed, and the vocals echo out seemingly into a catacomb of pure darkness. High speed, tremolo picked guitar lines combined with these amazing vocals and ungodly drumming create an atmosphere so thick and rotten that it is absolutely wonderful.
Lord Mantis - Pervertor Lord Mantis are oppressive and filthy. Many bands that attempt this form of noisy disjuncted blackened sludge end up with a muddy pile of incoherent nonsense, but Pervertor is a masterpiece in the art of grime. Vocals that sound like the screams of a man whose throat has been cut, screaming for help, shriek out above hard-hitting guitar lines that one can't help but groove along to. Despite being ugly, and even dissonant at times, Pervertor still manages to weave its' way into your skull, and remain resting on your brain for the remainder of the day, as you are tormented by this Vile Divinity.
Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao Ordo Ad Chao is unlike anything you've ever heard. Black metal at heart, but it is something so much more. Unprecedentedly dark, the notes ring together creating a dense atmosphere of puzzling chaos. A more typical chord progression may come into play, but Mayhem quickly swipe it away, and change the direction to something different. Atilla sounds completely deranged. On top of the strange instrumentation, he provides a versatile vocal performance ranging from more standard black metal vocals to grotesque low moans that give off the sound that he is suffering immensely.
Mitochondrion - Parasignosis Parasignosis is a massive wrecking ball. You know it's coming, but you don't know when it will hit, and when it does, it completely demolishes you. Thundering riffs pound through this album in a disjunct fashion, and puzzle you as it consistently beats you into submission. Dense, thick, and horrifying layers suffocate you in a black abyss of malice and hate. Thundering drums blast out for the entirety of this album, and form a whirlwind of torment to assist in your beating.
Nasheim - Solens Vemod Nasheim are much more mellow than the majority of the bands on this list. They play a form of atmospheric black metal that I simply adore. It's very somber, and quite depressive at times, but unlike most other black metal bands of this style, Nasheim create a world so dismal it feels utterly hopeless. The melodies repeat until they are drilled into your brain, just in time for the band to add another layer of sorrow on to this marvelous album.
New Risen Throne - Crossing The Withered Regions A void. Pulsing quiet drones echo in the background. An incomprehensible muttering accompanies the somber echoing of ambiance as various sounds rattle throughout this landscape. A synth being played at maybe one note every couple of seconds pulsates in large drawn out crescendos and forces your head to swirl in the formation these tones manifest.
N.K.V.D. - Vlast The production on Vlast is really what qualifies it for appearing on this list. The fuzzy guitars shriek out in dissonant mayhem, over a full yet subdued drum track that is constantly blasting away in the background. On top of this lay down some vocals that range from audible and discernible to completely washed away by this assault on your ears.
Owl - Owl Owl were clearly aiming for a more accessible Portal style when they began recording this album. It's mid-paced for most of the time, and one can seem to get into a groove when listening to it. It's thick atmosphere is almost comforting at times, just before they decide to switch it up and create disjuncted "melodies" layered over nearly mismatched drum patterns and dense vocal lines that echo out much like before.
P.H.O.B.O.S. - Atonal Hypermnesia Atonal Hypermnesia sounds like Blut Aus Nord being played at a dismally slow pace... under water. This is an industrial doom album that sounds completely inhuman. Dissonant riffs creep along with oppressive massiveness creating a cold, cold atmosphere.
Portal - Seepia Portal are the masters of anti-death metal. Their style includes riffs that pound out with shear dissonant mayhem, bashing the high speed, tremolo picked riffs into your brain until you are inevitably insane. The drumming will blast on consistently for a short period of time, but constant breaks and brief time signature changes manage to create an entirely quizzical experience when observing the drums. There is no follow-able melody in Portal's music. In fact, there is often a lack of a clear distinction of any true notes, and the guitars will sound as though they've been replaced with chainsaws.
Primitive Man - Scorn I can't think of a better title for this album than "Scorn". Primitive Man give us a lesson in brutality with this release, with the vocals, guitar, bass, and drums amalgamating to something so simply crushing, I'm hard-pressed to find a heavier album. The gritty guitar tones are reminiscent of bands such as Alkerdeel while the song structure finds itself being a bit more simple. The band regularly switches between snail-paced sections of blasting anger, and high-tempo sections of raw energy and hatred. And with all of this put together, along with the vocals shrieking and ripping through your speakers with unbelievable force, you get one grimy slab of nearly unbeatable sludge/doom that is certain to get stuck in your head.
Profetus - ...To Open The Passages In Dusk Bleak. Crushing riffs played at the speed of a dead snail (so slower than a snail) are accompanied by a seemingly reverberated organ to give that perfect graveyard feel. Repetition and a lack of any real climax make this album a very sobering experience, and one that always leaves me dumbstruck. Completely wipes your mind, and replaces your brain with that of a dead corpse.
Robedoor - Rancor Keeper Rancor Keeper creates a landscape. The slowly trembling ambient sounds give birth to a world of blackness. The droning swells build up at a monumentally slow pace, and often cut off into more hopeless feeling pits of sustained notes from a guitar that ring into oblivion, possibly sinking further into the depths of the abyss this album has created. When you reach the bottom, ghastly wails cry out from the depths of the drones, with an undeniably inhuman sound.
Skullflower - Pure Imperial Reform Noisy savage lines of ravaging feedback and over-driven bass pound through your speakers for 40 minutes. Random sound clips including screeching guitars and the odd percussive element spice up this massively intense noise piece to keep it interesting. As this drones on you are slowly sucked in and begin noticing little aspects under the wall of noise. It begins to feel natural, and not just like a bunch of chaos. It finally begins to make sense, and once you are finally comfortable, it ends.
Terra Tenebrosa - The Tunnels The Tunnels is a puzzling journey. This is an album that I can only view as a whole, rather than observe the individual instruments. Everything morphs together to create massive swells of crushing musical power. The vocals don't serve as a means to tell a story, or relate a political opinion, but rather to accentuate the underlying riffs and beats which pound in and out of ambient interludes.
The Axis Of Perdition - Deleted Scenes From The Transition Hospital The scene is set in a mental hospital. The lights shut out and the patients begin to emerge from their rooms. Then chaos ensues. This is how I view this album, which is in essence, the musical equivalent of a horror movie. Bleak and dismal ambiance gives way to high speed savage chaos in the form of expertly crafted industrial black metal. An album rivaled nearly by none within its style.
The Ruins Of Beverast - Rain Upon The Impure Von Meilenwald made no efforts to polish this album. It is raw and it is dark. The guitars rip along with typical black metal speed, but slow down and repeat notes for a few minutes on end in some instances to create a more desolate atmosphere. Blasting drums accompany the riffs and shred away at your flesh until they reach the bone, at which point the music screeches to a crawl, sending you into a trance with hypnotic and ominous melodies.
The Secret - Solve Et Coagula Vicious, grotesque, at times rather groove driven, and most of all filthy. The Secret bring forth with Solve Et Coagula a seamless mixture of sludge, grind, and black elements to create a rather short barrage of high speed riffs and throat tearing vocals. The intro track draws you in with a repeated and (relatively) slow tempo riff, but by the time the second track comes into play, your ears are assaulted with this filthy stinking pile of wonderful grotesqueness for the rest of the album.
Today Is The Day - Sadness Will Prevail This album is the soundtrack to insanity. High pitched shouts, melancholic clean vocals, over-driven shrieks, and all accompanied by schizophrenic instrumentation that holds no real style. Pianos and violins make appearances, but don't exactly give way to light or uplifting moments. Running for a full 2 hours, making it through this album is a trek, and one that if accomplished, will surely leave you in a confused state of mind for the rest of the day (or week....or life). Sadness Will Prevail is a horrifying journey.
Voice Transmissions With The Deceased - Voice Transmissions With The Deceased Voice Transmissions is a very minimalist-driven band. Only a few layers of dark ambient can be found here, but these layers work together in such a way that something very beautiful, and very horrifying is created. A very subdues bass lies in the background of this, which pulsates at a coma-like pace. On top of this are very quiet synth/piano/guitar layers which ever so slightly play depressing melodies in repetition until they are finally clear to you. The music is emotional yet bleak, and really, is unlike most drone/dark ambient you will find.
Wormphlegm - Tomb Of The Ancient King Nothing I've ever experienced can be compared against Wormphlegm. Stylistically, many bands may be similar, but Wormphlegm manage to harness the power of music, and turn this energy into purely vile and sinister tunes. Very repetitious throughout the album, the music drags along and slowly... so slowly... takes you on a journey through all of the horrors and malevolence of the world. Sliding guitar lines that slip down the neck into oblivion as drums smash their way into your skull with the same slow fashion. The vocals consist of deep, reverberated gutturals that are sure to sicken you, and in addition, some masterfully executed high shrieks that while sparse, are indeed a noteworthy quality. This is the single, most malicious sounding band to have ever existed, and I love it.
Worship - Last CD Before Doomsday Worship are infamous for this debut in the underground, as it is one of the single most devastatingly depressing releases of all time. By the end of this arduous journey through Mad Max's tormented mind, you will have lost all hope in humanity. The guitar echoes throughout this album with piercing melodies that slowly plunge in and out of a sea of despair, and with no end in sight, the vocals tear away at you until you're nothing more than a huddled mass of miserable flesh.
Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by Alex Fenger ]
Good list. Needs more doom I suppose though i dont have any exact suggestion. Check out Woods of Belial (Not exactly doom but very good Industrial Black/Doom) and Ramesses (super filthy and sludgy).
Both of those names sound familiar but I can't remember ever listening to them. Will definitely check both out.
Once I've completed the mini-reviews for all of the current albums I'm going to start adding more, so if I like those two they'll be making an appearance sometime in the future.
You have aevangelist, antedevulian and owl. So why not mitochondrion?
Well I was going to go up by increments of 5, but I guess I can go ahead and bump it up to 10 (so 40 total). I'll add Mitochondrion and Impetuous Ritual.
I need 3 more and then I'll write the reviews for the new ones.
Add x generic album! I cant believe x isn't here! You have awful taste!
-Every MS list ever
Not every list, but most of them have the same story, I agree somehow
So what? If an album is good, it's good, no matter how many times it is mentioned or how popular it is. Same goes for "unknown" albums of course. What does generic even mean in your opinion? Is an album like Blackwater Park generic because it's in many lists and has many votes? I'd say no, because it's actually the music that makes something generic, not popularity. On a list like this, it's also possible to have generic albums, so don't confuse it with popularity.
And for more generic albums, how about Anaal Nakrath's The Codex Necro, Total Self Hatred's Apocalypse In Your Heart and my previous suggestions so this doesn't become another one of those general idea turned black metal worshiping lists?
I had already 1+'ed the list, mostly because I really found it interesting to find N.K.V.D. - Vlast here. Nothing else seems trivial enough for me to point out, definitely a great list for anyone who demands the bleakest in vibe.