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90s Death-Doom: 5 Albums You NEED To Hear!

Death-doom; the bastard son of death and doom metal came of age in the 90s and these are 5 essential 90s death-doom albums you really need to hear….

Winter – Into Darkness (1990) [USA]

Winter – Into Darkness (2011, White, Vinyl) - Discogs

Into Darkness is the first and only full-length album from American death-doom band Winter and it remains one of the most singularly devastating metal albums in existence.

Winter were way ahead of their time as they took everything people thought they know about doom and contorted it into something unrecognisably bleak and sinister. With the advent of death metal’s supremacy looming large, Winter simply took the sub-genres overwhelming aggression and fashioned it to doom’s cataclysmic framework.

The result was music more depressingly apocalyptic than anyone had ever heard before….and the sounds that erupted from this fearsome three-piece were akin to an oncoming nuclear winter!

Asphyx – The Rack (1991) [Netherlands]

After leaving Pestilence in the early 1990s, Martin van Drunen joined Asphyx and a new Dutch giant of death metal (with more than a little doom added in for good measure) was born! 

By embracing death-doom, Asphyx‘s debut album, The Rack, may have taken a different approach to the more technically minded bands of the era… but they were no less ferocious because of it. 

Asphyx‘s d-beat approach to death metal wallowed in muck and favoured an economical delivery over all-out blasting. The result was an album that immediately stood out from the pack and with songs such as Vermin” and “Diabolical Existence” in its arsenal, The Rack was never going to fail.

Dark Millennium – Ashore The Celestial Burden (1992) [Germany]

Dark Millennium – Ashore The Celestial Burden (2015, Clear, Vinyl) - Discogs

Progressive death-doom is hardly a prolific sub genre (of a sub genre) but if kings of this particular niche sound need to be crowned, then Germanys’ Dark Millennium are surely contenders for the throne! 

Why? Because Dark Millennium’s Ashore The Celestial Burden is a staggering work of progressive death-doom that remains virtually peerless and if you haven’t heard it, you should do yourself a massive favour and resolve the situation post haste! 

A multi-faceted beast, Ashore The Celestial Burden is the kind of album that never becomes overly-familiar, such is its ability to surprise with each and every listen. As powerful when pummelling you senseless with its more traditional death metal moments as it is when allowing heavier than hell doom to take the fore, Dark Millennium‘s debut remains a magnum opus of progressively minded and utterly fearless metal. 

Decomposed – Hope Finally Died… (1993)

Decomposed - Hope Finally Died... | Références | Discogs

Possibly the most overlooked album in death-doom history – and UK metal in general – Decomposed‘s Hope Finally Died… deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as those seminal releases from the Peaceville three (Paradise LostMy Dying BrideAnathema) namely GothicTurn Loose The Swans and Serenades respectively.

Deceptively simple, the beauty of this staggering release lies not in its musicality, nor its vocal prowess or  even its songwriting nous. At face value, all these facets seem relatively generic but the true reason this savagely under-appreciated cornerstone of death-doom deserves higher praise, is down to the almost unparalleled way in which Decomposed blend the mournful melancholy of doom with the caustic and cathartic blur of death metal aggression; each song unearthing a new spin on an already standard formula and expertly fusing sorrowful soliloquy’s with neck-breaking riffs.

Whether primitive old-school death metal savagery or shuffling excursions into doom metal’s swampy territory peels your onions, Decomposed‘s one and only full length should be mandatory listening. Unearth its treasures and discover why Hope Finally Died… is not only a hidden gem butshould also be held in the same regard as the majority of death-doom’s so-called classics!

disEMBOWELMENT – Transcendence Into The Peripheral (1993) [Australia]

diSEMBOWELMENT – Transcendence Into The Peripheral (1993, CD) - Discogs

Australia’s disEMBOWELMENT may have released just one album but what a suffocatingly crushing death-doom masterclass that one album was! 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.

“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.

Predating funeral doom, Transcendence Into The Peripheral took a groundbreaking approach to extreme music, undoubtedly influenced by the experimentation of Celtic Frost – particularly on the off-kilter, female spoken word of “Nightside Of Eden” – and slowed down to a lumbering deathly crawl.

About Chris Jennings (1978 Articles)
I love metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

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