Year end ‘best of’ list are ten-a-penny so, here at Worship Metal, we’ve delved a little deeper into metal’s fertile scene and coughed up a few classics from the world of death/doom.
Unleash the niche!
Asphyx – Necroceros [Netherlands]
Released: January 22nd 2021 via Century Media Records
Dutch death metal nobility Asphyx returned with album number 10 at the start of the year and Necroceros was a sure-fire reminder that OSDM will never, ever die!
Worshippers of Asphyx‘s superlative back catalogue (us included) surely delighted in full-throttle ragers such as opening track “The Sole Cure is Death”. With time seemingly standing still as the band unleashed early 90’s death metal riffs backed by Martin van Drunen’s instantly recognisable rasp, it was the Bolt Thrower meets Candlemass nature of much of Necroceros which appealed the most; with Asphyx ably dishing out a masterclass in death/doom as if the last 30 years never happened.
Nostalgic, neanderthal and as nasty as fuck!
Burial – Inner Gateways to the Slumbering Equilibrium at the Center of Cosmos [Italy]
Released: October 29th, 2021 vi Everlasting Spew Records
The ever-reliable Everlasting spew records latched onto a sure-fire winner with Burial’s cosmic-infused debut, Inner Gateways to the Slumbering Equilibrium at the Center of Cosmos.
Thinking big is always a good thing and these death/dooming Italians were thinking massive with Inner Gateways to the Slumbering Equilibrium at the Center of Cosmos. From concept to execution (to album title!), Burial‘s slower movements crushed with a merciless intensity while their moments of convulsive speed – particularly on the thunderous “Halls Of The Formless Unraveler” – tapped into a power far beyond our own earthly plain.
Fans of Spectral Voice, Mortiferum (more on them later), Krypts, and dISEMBOWELMENT will appreciate the sheer artistry of Burial‘s hideously evocative debut release. Anyone who doesn’t fall into that category will have missed out on an undisputed highlight of 2021!
Worm – Foreverglade [USA]
Released: October 22nd, 2021 via 20 Buck Spin
Worm‘s ironically swift journey from black metal to funeral death/doom has been an interesting one and with 2019’s Gloomlord pricking the ears of the death/doom initiated, it was left to this years Foreverglade to cement their place as firm favourites of the scene.
Heavy on the synths and heavy on the stately pace of prime funeral doom, Worm‘s ability to create a morbid atmosphere amidst the misery and malcontent of chugging riffs, mournful moans and guttural growls was virtually unparalleled in 2021.
Jarring transitions from doom to death were largely avoided as Worm went about fine-tuning their sound and settling on an atmosphere of both otherworldly grandeur and the stench of the primordial swamp.
Mortiferum – Preserved In Torment [USA]
Released: November 5th, 2021 via Profound Lore Records
Now here’s a band who have mastered the art of expertly combining the dread and lumbering gait of doom with the aural violence and cacophonous clatter of old-school death metal!
With 2019’s Disgorged From Psychotic Depths announcing Mortiferum‘s arrival with considerable force it was a joy (perhaps the wrong choice of word!) to discover Preserved In Torment topped it in virtually every way.
Filthier, rowdier, doomier and just more damn effective, Preserved In Torment seamlessly merged the two disparate styles of death and doom in one coherent mass of often Incantation-esque splendour. If you thought Mortiferum were good at this shit before, you ain’t heard nuthin’ yet!
1914 – Where Fear and Weapons Meet [Ukraine]
Released: October 22nd, 2021 via Napalm Records
1914‘s much anticipated follow-up to 2018’s The Blind Leading The Blind, found these heavy-hitting Ukranian’s unleashing a tirade of blackened death/doom horrors, with atmosphere, aesthetic and the abject pain of war perfectly aligned!
While previous albums were hardly reticent in their aural description’s of The Great War, everything about Where Fear and Weapons Meet was somehow bigger. From the symphonic elements which took on Septic Flesh levels of grandeur (“FN .380 ACP#19074”), to heightened black metal elements (“Don’t Tread on Me (Harlem Hellfighters”) and Bolt Thrower-esque bludgeoning’s (“Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal)”), 1914 were operating at peak performance and transporting us back to the dirt, death and disease of “The war to end all wars”.
Expertly weaving historical fact, immersive story-telling, raw emotion and unbridled heaviness, Where Fear and Weapons Meet was an unmitigated triumph from one of extreme metal’s most fertile bands…..and it was our favourite death/doom album of 2021.
Those were our favourite death/doom albums of 2021….if we forgot your favourite, pop it in the comments below and we’ll have a nice civilised chat about it.
Note: As good as Hooded Menace‘s The Tritonus Bell was, by drawing on an ever more ‘classic metal’ sound and obvious nods to King Diamond, it felt too far removed from death/doom to warrant inclusion here.