5 Essential 90’s Funeral Doom Metal Albums
When doom metal is too fast for you…. it’s to funeral doom you turn!
Presented in alphabetical order as opposed to any kind of ranking….
disEMBOWELMENT – Transcendence Into The Peripheral (1993) [Australia]
Practically predating funeral doom, disEMBOWELMENT‘s Transcendence Into The Peripheral took a groundbreaking approach to extreme music and slowed everything down to a lumbering deathly crawl.
“The Tree of Life and Death” remains one of the quintessential death/doom anthems; oppressive, dissonant, unnerving and back-breakingly heavy in the truest sense of the word. The clatter of “Your Prophetic Throne Of Irony” then added some truly bleak black metal into the industrialised machine – akin to the raw avant-garde nature of Beherit‘s seminal Drawing Down The Moon – adding further layers to disEmbowelment’s oppressive sound. Finally, “Cerulean Transience of All My Imagined Shores” was 100% funeral doom; sombre, poignant, melancholy and perhaps prescient of the bands direction had they followed up this ‘one and done’ masterpiece.
Transcendence Into The Peripheral took the bleak slothful riffing of classic doom and immersed it in the sickly putrid filth of death metal; the combination proving difficult to swallow with its bleak and sorrowful bitter aftertaste…. and with it, a new sub-genre was born.
Esoteric – The Pernicious Enigma (1997) [UK]
Two hours of horrifying funeral doom may sound like the ultimate nightmare but Esoteric’s sophomore album is so claustrophobically, hellishly and diabolically enchanting that it simply must be heard and remains one of the most compelling recordings in British doom metal history.
Released in 1997, these blackened, avant-garde, Brummie experimentalists redefined funeral doom with an unmistakable use of samples – buried deep in their murky low-end sound – to add bottomless layers to their dark and depressing sound.
Breaking this epic down into ‘must-hear’ tracks is fruitless, The Pernicious Enigma needs to be experienced as it was intended and absorbed whole. Our advice, take at least two weeks off work and immerse yourself in this grand and ambitious work of art, you may feel like ending it all by the time you’ve absorbed the entirety of this 2-disc record but at least you’ll be feeling something!
Today’s often vacuous excuse for modern metal doesn’t do that now does it!
Funeral – Tragedies (1995) [Norway]
Suffocatingly sombre and without hope, Tragedies was an album born to soundtrack the darkest of times.
This debut full-length album from Norway’s Funeral was somehow an anomaly in a scene that was still in its infancy, with its highly melodic nature, ethereal female vocals and gothic opulence counterbalancing the often 100% death/doom nature of its peers. Still resolutely funeral doom in concept – and as bleak as they come – Tragedies spoke to those of us dealing with unbearable grief like no other album before it (and possibly since) and i’s melancholy
Depressing and cathartic in equal measure, the fragility of the human spirit has never been better represented than on this minor masterpiece.
Skepticism – Stormcrowfleet (1995) [Finland]
Both mesmerisingly and achingly beautiful in a way that only fans of funeral doom will fully understand, this genre-defining debut from Finland’s Skepticism is as beautifully mournful today as it was nearly 30 years ago.
From lumbering beats, crushingly bleak riffs and baritone growls come moments of tranquil semi-acoustic beauty, with Skepticism’s funeral march rhythms seamlessly merging with the near silence and sombre reflection of a wake.
The very nature of this controlled and mannered beast seems to inform a sense of stripped down necessity in Skepticism’s performance, with an overarching sense of purity and the deftness of human touch adding layers to the whole experience.
Thergothon – Stream From The Heavens (1994) [Finland]
Thergothon were a highly influential Finnish doom metal band who practically single-handedly pioneered the funeral doom sub-genre.
Unnervingly raw and hideously bleak, their sound was painfully slow, sloth-like even, barely able to heave its leaden weight from one song to the next andStream from the Heavens remains a catastrophic combination of crushing, plodding riffs accentuated by lead vocalist Niko Sirkiä’s death grunts (a vocal reminiscent of someone gargling concrete) and atmospherics that dripped with dread and despair.
On the odd occasion, often just before the point at which you are ready to end it all, Thergothon would throw some ambient noise into the mix, momentarily lifting you from your depression before rapidly reverting back to their signature, apocalyptic, sound; plunging you straight back into the abyss as the funeraldirge riffs engulf you once more.
Devastatingly depressing and not an easy listen but a unique, defining moment in doom metal history nonetheless.
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