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Doom Metal
"They say my songs are much too slow..."
Saint Vitus, Born Too Late

Doom metal is a subgenre of Heavy Metal that emerged in the late seventies/early eighties. It's often slow, dark, depressing and pessimistic, and is characterized by a thicker guitar sound than other genres of metal. The music and lyrics are usually meant to evoke a sense of dread, although more epic and "rocking" themes are far from uncommon.

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. It should be noted that several of the early traditional doom bands, as well as more recent bands following in their footsteps, often lack certain stereotypes associated with the genre. Some of the bands have faster paced songs, and a few were quite upbeat in tone, while still retaining the Sabbath influence. 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.

A new wave of retro-doom metal (sometimes known as "occult rock") started to gain popularity in 2011 and has remained popular since, encompassing such bands as Jex Thoth and Ghost, with a lot of these bands not intending to play any form of doom at all. This recent and increasingly popular wave of metal- drawing influence from 70s rock, sludge, stoner, and traditional metal- is now the closest thing to mainstream attention doom metal has yet to receive. Due to their wider appeal, some of these bands have been accused of being "hipster".

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 (for the most part) never truly broken into the mainstream and it remains overshadowed by genres such as Metalcore, Alternative Metal, and Death Metal. Many claim that the reason doom has been overlooked—save a few acts such as Alice in Chains and several of the more recent occult rock bands—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. Ironically, a lot of early and definitive doom albums were not very slow paced at all. Recently, doom metal has been showing itself to be an influence on newer eras of rock, particularly on the traditional metal revival scene and the retro-doom or "occult rock" movement. Following the success of Ghost, The Sword and Black Sabbath, doom finally began receiving more than just traces of mainstream attention, leading some to speculate that the genre may be becoming a new trend in metal.

The most basic forms 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. Musically, doom tends to not be very different from regular metal, though the riffing and vocal styles tend to be different. 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, moreso for the latter. 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, a lot of traditional 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. Despite being one of the many 'extreme metal' subgenres, doom metal is also one of the most diverse. While many doom bands and songs employ incredibly crushing guitars, apocalyptic attitudes, and demonic growled vocals, others might opt to sound like otherwise upbeat '70s rock with very gloomy lyrics. This is not including folk, industrial, avant-garde and electronic doom bands.

People who listen primarily to doom metal sometimes call themselves "doomsters".
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). This style is rooted in '70s rock and metal, and it becomes obvious in their presentation and sound; they sound as if punk never happened. For epic doom bands, some '80s metal, specifically the operatic vocals and gated drums, is mixed in.

Note: Doom metal and stoner rock/metal are used interchangeably by the press, so don't be surprised if these bands are labeled 'stoner rock/metal' in some circles.

Sludge Metal
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. In other words, it's grunge's truest successor. Later gave rise to the post-metal genre.

Stoner Metal
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 and fully rooted in '70s psychedelia, stoner metal is slower and heavier and a tad more oriented towards hardcore punk ala sludge metal), but there's enough overlap that bands of both genres can be listed here.

Note: Stoner rock/metal and doom metal are used interchangeably by the press, so don't be surprised if these bands are labeled 'doom metal' in some circles.

Post-Metal
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.
See also the Black Metal page for bands that fuse post-metal and Black Metal (listed under "Post-Black Metal and Blackened Shoegaze", although these are two distinct styles).

Drone Doom or Drone Metal
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; the more noise-influenced acts frequently include tape loops or harsh noise samples as well. 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 modeled 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.note 

Death/Doom Metal
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.

Black Doom or Blackened Doom
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, but the more sludge-leaning acts usually switch that out for hatred, self-loathing, and misanthropy. Often overlaps with Depressive/Suicidal Black Metal.

If you're wondering why there isn't a list for death/doom, it's because that list is already present on the Death Metal page.

Doom metal displays the following tropes:

  • Author Appeal: As with every genre as massive as this, there are bound to be repeated ideas in the lyrics that are linked to something the lyricist likes.
    • Stoner Metal: Weed, obviously, and deserts.
    • Sludge Metal: Hatred and misanthropy.
    • Traditional/Epic: Occult and satanism.
    • Funeral Doom: Hopelessness and existentialism.
  • Brown Note: Drone Doom and Sludge Metal in particular are often drenched in feedback, leading to this trope.
  • Christian Rock: Surprisingly, Doom Metal seems to tolerate Christian bands far more than certain other genres do, possibly because quite a few of the genre's founding bands (e.g. Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Candlemass, and Trouble) qualify as this or Not Christian Rock.
  • Darker and Edgier: Black Sabbath Darker and Edgier, to be exact. For an in-subgenre example, funeral doom is the Darker and Edgier version of death/doom, with a lot more keyboards and a more obvious air of depressiveness.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Funeral doom.
    • Shows up sometimes in other subgenres as well. Warning's Watching from a Distance is an excellent example of this. It almost sounds like what would have happened if Joy Division played doom metal.
  • Drone of Dread: Drone metal is all about this, but it also shows up in other subgenres.
  • Epic Rocking: Due to the fact that this genre is all about being slow and doomy, it's Justified.
  • Genre Roulette: Some experimental rock/metal bands loosely associated with doom, like Boris and Melvins, are prone to this.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Quite common, especially in drone, funeral doom and sludge.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: 6 for stoner metal, 7-8 normally, 8-9 for sludge, 10-11 for death/doom, funeral doom, and drone doom.
  • Spin-Off: Gothic Metal and Funeral Doom from Death/Doom; Post-Metal from Sludge.
  • Trope Maker: The actual creation of doom metal as a genre can be blamed on a few bands, including Saint Vitus, Candlemass, Trouble and Witchfinder General. Sludge, meanwhile, can generally be pinpointed to Black Flag (My War has been massively influential to the genre), Melvins, and Flipper.
  • Ur Example: Black Sabbath, if you consider them part of the genre. Blue Cheer is an even earlier example, though it's debatable whether they're even a metal band. Flower Travellin' Band is another one, but they're closer to being an Ur Example of stoner rather than doom.
  • Watch It Stoned: With doom metal being a subgenre of Black Sabbath worshippers, it's no surprise that a lot of them take a fuckload of drugs. Stoner metal is the "purest" form of this.
    • However, it should be noted that there are some doom bands you really shouldn't listen to while stoned. We mean it.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Subverted: it is often made on drugs.


Technical Death MetalMusic/Heavy MetalFolk Metal
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alternative title(s): Sludge Metal; Stoner Metal
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