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by Chuck Eddy

February 1, 2011

Cheat Sheet: Doom Metal

by Chuck Eddy  |  February 1, 2011

Heavy metal, descended as it was from the deep and dark despair of mid-'60s garage-verging-on-psych bands like The Yardbirds, initially sounded doomy more often than not. Since Black Sabbath only had a couple of fast songs, and since so many of the genre's great early '70s bands (Uriah Heep, Sir Lord Baltimore, etc.) were more or less variations on the Sabbath template, there wasn't much need to distinguish "doom metal" in the old days. But as tempos picked up and thrashed out (say, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple to Ted Nugent and Aerosmith to Van Halen and Motorhead to Metallica and Slayer), slowness went out of style; by the '80s, doom-ridden bands like Saint Vitus, Trouble, and Pentagram were unfashionable anomalies and needed a genre designation of their own. Hence, doom metal, which has since subdivided on its own into substyles as varied as stoner rock (meat-eating bands who worship green herbs and wish they were born in the '70s so they could get played in Camaros) and dark metal (bands from the coldest corners of Europe who get depressed a lot and dream of being Joy Division or the Swans), not to mention countless other shades of sludge, drone and ambient dirge. Herewith, a rundown of some representative and recommended albums from all corners of the frown-soaked doom universe.

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