metal music radar

The DOOM METAL Radar (Episode #1/2019)

The world of Doom Metal always gives beautiful surprises. And even in the short space of time of the first four weeks of the year, we could appreciate excellent records from well established bands, but also intriguing albums coming from emerging formations.

This article presents the most relevant doom metal releases in a period of time which basically cover the entire month of January 2019. I’ve selected six different albums from the totality of those published so far, they really give a good indication of what’s new in doom metal.

Geographically speaking, we have three bands based in the USA (The Sabbathian, A Pale Horse Named Death and Hollow Leg), two in Germany (Othuum and Nailed to Obscurity), one in Finland (Swallow the Sun). Curiously, there is still no significant release from Great Britain. We’ll see what happens in the coming months.

Enjoy this selection of albums, there is also a lot of good music to listen to. And stay tuned for the future releases of the DOOM RADAR!

“Latum Alterum”, by The Sabbathian

One of the best doom metal albums which I had the opportunity to hear in January comes from a band that I discovered only in recent times, despite they’re active since almost six years. They are called The Sabbathian, and they are a duo of musicians consisting of American multi-instrumentalist Chad Davis and Norwegian singer Anette Uvaas Gulbrandsen.

The Sabbathian’s debut LP, named Latum Alterum, is built upon a solid foundation of occult doom metal but it incorporates many other elements from other genres such as sacred music, gothic and black metal. The result is absolutely enchanting, at times hypnotic. This is absolutely one of those records that gave me much more than what I expected at the beginning.

I’ve published a dedicated review of the album, you can read it from here.

“The Astral Horror”, by Othuum

Named after one of H.P. Lovecraft’s “Great Old Ones” (Othuum, a.k.a. The Oceanic Horror), this quartet of German doom metalheads are active since 2016 but made their debut only in 2019 with a solid and intriguing album called The Astral Horror. With lyrics evidently inspired by Lovecraft’s stories and divinities, the band plays a style of epic doom metal that’s absolutely nice to hear and which tries to twist and tighten itself around the listener as the malicious tentacles of the alien entities that populate Lovecraft’s novels. The Astral Orror consists of a short intro and five long songs in which the band tries to combine the heaviness of doom with a strong melodic component, with results that are generally positive.

From a musical point of view, all the basic ingredients of the genre have been dosed with balance and passion, but at a global level, the album lacks the intensity and that sense of anxiety and impending terror that I would have expected from this kind of record. Starting from all the good things that they have shown in this debut LP, for example, the excellent riffs, Othuum should now focus on improving the emotional content of their songs, which seem at times a little “cold”. I believe that there is a lot of potential in this formation, and maybe with just a better production and a few crucial interventions on their sound and on the vocals, they can achieve a tangible improvement in the quality of their music.

In summary: The Astral Horror is a very promising debut from a band which shows clear skills and talents (Infernal Tentacle Wars is a very good song, just to make an example). I hope that a major record will note them and will contribute to improving the impact of their music.

“When a Shadow is Forced into the Light”, by Swallow the Sun

A major release that we were expecting in the first weeks of the year was the new album by Swallow the Sun, the six-piece Finnish formation that has become one of the most important representatives of that particular genre of music which blends together doom and melodic death metal. And their new album, called When a Shadow Is Forced into the Light, effectively confirmed the expectations.

The LP is impregnated by sadness and melancholy, but the atmospheres never become excessively oppressive. In this respect, the band has really achieved an impressive maturity in songwriting: they really know how to build up and dissolve the tension, and how to balance melancholic and energetic moments so that the songs remain always equilibrated and enjoyable to hear.

I’ve published a dedicated review of the album, you can read it from here.

“Black Frost”, by Nailed to Obscurity

Although being actually on the border between doom and death metal, I can’t forget in this review to mention the new record from the German band Nailed to Obscurity. Their latest album, called Black Frost, is characterized by a style that aims to combine the obsessiveness and slowness of doom with the articulated constructions of death metal, with a final touch given by the introduction of melodic and gothic components. The alternation between doom and death is also emphasized by the use of clean voices together with growls.

Black Frost is a solid and particular album, with a couple of very good songs. I liked, in particular, the two tracks named The Aberrant Host and Feardom. Perhaps the continued shift between doom and death is the reason why sometimes their music seems to lose some focus, but in any case, Black Frost remains a good entry in the discography of the band, which have now arrived at the fourth LP since their formation in 2005.

“Civilizations”, by Hollow Leg

Nowadays doom metal is often found in conjunction with other genres of music and it shouldn’t be a surprise that many albums of this list cannot be defined purely “doom”. This was the case of Nailed to Obscurity’s Black Frost, and this is also the case of a couple of other records that were released in January 2019 and that I’m going to present in the final part of this article.

Civilizations, which is the fourth album from Florida-based metal quartet Hollow Leg, it’s located exactly in the middle between doom and sludge, and indeed it gets a mention in the articles related to both the genres.

Despite having all the characteristics that we would expect from an album of this category (low-tuned guitars, “thick” riffs, slow tempos, harsh vocals), Civilization is a record that struggles to remain in the listener’s memory, and this is a problem that somehow affected also the previous releases of the band.

“When the World Becomes Undone”, by A Pale Horse Named Death

Last, but not least, I have the possibility to introduce in this article one of the best LPs that were released in the first weeks of 2019. I’m referring to the new record from A Pale Horse Named Death, the band founded by ex-Type O Negative and ex – Life of Agony drummer Sal Abruscato. The album, named When the World Becomes Undone, continues along the same path that was already delineated by the band’s two previous records, which is centred on the idea of mixing doom with gothic and grunge.

I’ve published a full review of the album, that was also included among the prestigious category of the Best New Albums. My recommendation is for you to read it and listen to all the beautiful songs that are featured in the album.

2 comments on “The DOOM METAL Radar (Episode #1/2019)

  1. Pingback: The MELODEATH Radar (Episode #1/2019) – S.B.G.

  2. Pingback: The GOTHIC MUSIC Radar (Episode #1/2019) – S.B.G.

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