"They say my songs are much too slow..."Doom metal is a subgenre of Heavy Metal that emerged in the late seventies/early eighties. It's slow, dark, depressing and pessimistic, and is characterised by a thicker guitar sound than other genres of metal. The music and lyrics are meant to evoke a sense of dread. A simpler description of doom metal: a genre consisting of metal bands that looked at Black Sabbath, thought "Hey, that's pretty doomy, but we can do better!", and subsequently took the doomy metal of Sabbath to its logical extreme. Hence, doom metal. The genre technically started right at the beginning of metal, with the aforementioned Black Sabbath, who are near universally considered the first true metal band. Another classic metal band, Pentagram, was also a key part of doom metal, though the genre was not truly formed until a tiny bit later on, with several other influential bands including Saint Vitus, Pagan Altar, Trouble, and Witchfinder General. Possibly the most influential of doom metal bands was Candlemass, who released their debut album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus in 1986. It was this album that marked doom metal as a genre to be reckoned with. Alongside the Black Sabbath track Hand of Doom, It's also possibly where the name of the genre came from ("Doomicus Metallicus" = "Doom Metal"; "Hand of Doom" = "Doom Metal"). During the eighties, doom metal was a woefully overlooked and deeply underground subgenre, metal being dominated commercially by Hair Metal and in the less-underground-than-doom-metal underground by Thrash Metal. In fact, it's not at all impossible to find some fans who believe that doom metal is an entirely recent phenomenon. At the beginning of the nineties, the band Cathedral released their debut album Forest of Equilibrium, which fused doom metal with more aesthetics from extreme metal, making doom slower and heavier. Cathedral themselves later moved onto a more uptempo, groove-oriented style, but their early material resulted in doom metal gaining more recognition. By now, there were a couple of doom metal subgenres: "epic doom", which fused traditional doom with operatic vocals and (often) Heavy Mithril; and "sludge metal", which fused doom with Hardcore Punk and in some cases southern rock, and started off in New Orleans. In the early-to-mid nineties, doom metal diversified, and quite a few new subgenres were created, including "stoner metal", "death/doom", "black doom", "funeral doom" and "drone doom". Around the time Nu Metal was mainstream, the stoner metal band Electric Wizard released Dopethrone, which is regarded as one of the seminal doom metal albums and one of the heaviest metal albums of all time, bringing to doom a new audience obsessed with heaviness in metal. Another form of doom, known as "post-metal" or "atmospheric sludge metal", combined sludge metal with Post Rock. Certain post-metal bands, such as Isis, Neurosis and Pelican, have gained recognition in the metal scene, but this success has been met with backlash from certain people, who refer to it as "hipster metal" (and, for some reason, lump them in with Mastodon, who are not a post-metal band despite taking influences from sludge metal). It is, however, debatable whether post-metal even qualifies as a doom metal subgenre (or even a metal subgenre at that), and most doom purists are likely to consider it as merely "heavy post-rock", claiming that these bands take very little influence from the doom style. There's also Gothic Metal, a subgenre of metal that evolved from death/doom thanks to three British death/doom bands, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema, known as the "Peaceville Trio" due to all three bands being signed to Peaceville Records. Some gothic metal bands also count as doom, but overall, gothic metal is not a subgenre of doom, despite evolving from it. Although doom is not well-known in the mainstream, it's had quite a history. Despite the fact that doom and doom related metal has led to the rise of such genres as Heavy Metal, Grunge to an extent, Sludge Metal, Gothic Metal, Stoner Rock, and others, doom metal itself has never truly broken into the mainstream and it remains overshadowed by genres such as Deathcore, Alternative Metal, and djent. Many claim that the reason doom has never achieved anything resembling mainstream attention—save a few acts such as Alice in Chains—is because of its speed, or lack thereof (most people attribute heavy metal with blinding speed, something doom metal avoids). In fact, many songs glorifying heavy metal, especially those from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal-era, reinforce this notion that heavy metal can only be fast. Once more, doom metal is showing itself to influence newer eras of rock, especially in the form of the New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal, which is a recent subgenre of metal that focuses almost entirely on the musical styles of proto-metal to early '80s metal with some emphasis on the Sabbathian side of metal, particular in bands such as Witchcult and Wolfmother. The most basic of doom metal can be no more complex than simply taking any average "fast" metal song and slowing it down considerably. This has led to something of an YouTube phenomenon involving slowing down songs from otherwise speed, thrash, death, or black metal bands up to 50 to 500%, tempo or speed wise, via digital alteration software, thus giving said songs a strong doom metal feel (with a near unavoidable side effect of the vocalist sounding like a stoned demon.) However, purer forms of doom make use of the term doom and apply it to their lyrics and sound in order to create moods of hopelessness and depression. Instrumentally, doom tends to not be any different from regular metal. However, in subgenres, such as funeral doom keyboards, organs, and other instruments (such as gongs) can be used to thicken the overall atmosphere. It's also common to use death growls and choruses. In traditional doom and stoner doom alike, blues signatures and Blues Rock and Psychedelic Rock features are regularly applied. As a result, psychedelic blues rock bands from the 1960s and 1970s are often called out as being major influences of stoner doom. In musical style, most doom bands aspire to sound like Black Sabbath, particularly the early Ozzy Osborne era- circa 1969-1973. This has been most accomplished by the aforementioned stoner doom bands mainly due to the psychedelic nature of Black Sabbath during that time. Riffs, especially box riffs and blues riffs, are also extremely prevalent throughout doom metal as another side-effect of being Black Sabbath inspired.
— Saint Vitus, Born Too Late
List of doom bands, categorised by subgenre: Traditional Doom and Epic Doom
Technically they are different subgenres, however the distinction is frequently very hard to grasp, so they've been lumped in together. (A basic guide: traditional doom = Saint Vitus, epic doom = Candlemass.)
As mentioned above, sludge metal is doom fused with hardcore punk, possibly with southern rock influences. Sludge metal is typically aggressive and abrasive, often featuring shouted vocals, heavily distorted instruments, sharply contrasting tempos and lots of noise & feedback. Later gave rise to the post-metal genre.
Stoner metal, also known as "stoner rock" and "desert rock", is essentially doom fused with Psychedelic Rock. It is characterised by often being bass-heavy and making much use of guitar/bass effects such as fuzz, phaser or flanger. The main stoner metal scene is in the Palm Desert. There is a difference between stoner metal and stoner rock (stoner rock is more groove-oriented, stoner metal is slower and heavier), but there's enough overlap that bands of both genres can be listed here.
As described above, this is what happens when sludge metal is fused with post-rock. Also known as "atmospheric sludge metal". The term "post-metal" is sometimes (though less frequently) used as a much broader term for metal bands with post-rock tendencies, eg. Sunn O))), Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room.
A fusion of doom metal and drone music, also taking influence from ambient and minimalist music. Typically, the electric guitar is performed with a large amount of reverb or audio feedback, while vocals, if present, are usually growled or screamed. Songs often lack beat or rhythm in the traditional sense and are typically very long. The genre was started by the band Earth, though the most well-known drone doom band is Sunn O))), who modelled themselves after Earth (their name is even a reference to Earth, as well as to the Sunn amplifier brand). This genre could be described as doom taken Up to Eleven; it's minimalistic and brutal, and extremely creepy.*
See Death Metal for description and list of bands. Funeral Doom
Evolving from death/doom (particularly due to the death/doom band Disembowelment), funeral doom can be described as "death/doom Up to Eleven". Taking some cues from dark ambient, it is played at a very slow tempo (even for doom), and places an emphasis on evoking a sense of emptiness and despair. Typically, electric guitars are heavily distorted and keyboards or synthesizers are used to create a "dreamlike" atmosphere. Vocals consist of mournful chants or growls and are often in the background. Needless to say, it's among the scariest and most depressing music ever created.
Doom fused with Black Metal. Typically, vocals are in the form of high-pitched shrieks and guitars are played with much distortion, which is common in black metal. But the music is played at a slow tempo with a much 'thicker' guitar sound, which is common in doom metal. Lyrics often involve themes of nature, nihilism and depression. Often overlaps with Depressive/Suicidal Black Metal.
Doom metal displays the following tropes: