In a world filled with puppies, butterflies and rainbows there is also doom metal.
Doom metal is the sonic equivalent of novocaine mixed with methaqualone.
With its languid song tempos, sludgy sound, a dose of occultism and pessimistic lyrical content doom metal would have a profound effect on stoner metal, grunge, and drone metal.
Even some rap groups like Cypress Hill, Bone Thug-n-Harmony, Ho99o9 and Death Grips have some commonality with doom metal, (slower tempos, lyrical content, visual cues from horror movies).
While there are differences between the genres they do sleep under the same blanket.
Black Sabbath is generally credited with originating doom metal but like a contagion they soon infected other with the doom pathogen. Listen to Pentagram, Bedemon, Budgie, Sir Lord Baltimore, Buffalo, Bang, Necromandus, Lucifer’s Friend, Iron Claw and Leaf Hound.
If Black Sabbath are the grandfathers of doom Blue Cheer are probably great grandfathers. A lot of doom bands took pages from Blue Cheer’s blueprints such as the use of extended jams, fuzz tones and drug references.
Doom saw an underground surge during the ‘80s with the likes of Witchfinder General, Saint Vitus, Trouble, Candlemass, but was largely overshadowed punk, speed and thrash metal and synth pop.
By the time the ’90’s came around doom was effectively dead as a genre. Even though grunge reigned supreme in suburbs all over the world Seattle’s Melvins and doom’s Superman, Scott “Wino” Weinrich, helped to keep the world drenched in sonic sludge.
Embracing all things dour and gloomy Finland produced their own roster of doom metal bands including Reverend Bizarre, Minotauri, and Shape of Despair.
The 2000’s saw a resurgence of doom metal partly due to the popularity of Black Flag’s “My War” album and its influence on southern underground bands like Corrosion of Conformity, Exhorder, Eyehategod, Down, Crowbar, Acid Bath and Torche.
Today the are a variety of different flavors of doom and a wide range of subgenera.
I, for one, am happy to see a crop of new doom bands. You will never see doom metal in mass merchant outlets, or hear their songs used in a car commercial and that’s fine by me.
Rock is supposed to be an outsider music and while death metal and even black metal have gained a toehold in pop culture doom remains steadfastly immune to being injected into the mainstream.
Recently I talked to some one about guitarists and they asked me who I thought was my favorite guitarist was and in the spur of the moment I sputtered out the name Bill Frisell.
They stared at me blankly and said “Who?”
For every Jimi Hendrix there is a talented “nobody” just waiting to be discovered.
Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya: The godfather of the Indian slide guitar. Not only did Bhattacharya invent the instrument he was one of the instrument’s foremost players. Bhattacharya’s melody and rhythm verges on superhuman and fans of every genre should listen to him.
Pete Cosey: Cosey was a sessions guitarist for Chess Records and made his name backing the likes of Etta James, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf and, most notably, Miles Davis. Cosey’s fuzzed out funky mayhem can be heard on many records especially Herbie Hancock’s “Future Shock”.
Leslie Harvey: Harvey was the brilliant but ill-fated guitarist for the short-lived Scottish group Stone the Crows. If he hadn’t been accidently electrocuted I have little doubt he would have taken his place amongst the great UK guitarists like Paul Kossoff and Mick Taylor.
Eric Bell: Bell was the original guitarist for Thin Lizzy and was a seminal member of the band when they were still a trio. After leaving Lizzy, Bell joined the Noel Redding Band and recorded several solo records.
Jef Lee Johnson: I stumbled across Johnson on YouTube and was just floored by this guy’s immense talent. Powerful, sensitive, melodic, funky, tasteful the guy was the real deal. He was so good he may make you want to quit.
James Blood Ulmer: Is there a genre called “fee blues”? If not, there should be. James Ulmer fuses the free jazz elements of Ornette Coleman with the gut wrenching emotional impact of Skip James and has created something unique.
Tuck Andress: Andress is another guitarist that re-defines what is possible with a guitar. Tuck’s two-handed techniques would shame any practitioner of this approach but because he’s a “jazz player” he’s criminally overlooked.
St. Vincent: Annie Clark a.k.a. St. Vincent is a player that walks a precarious line. St. Vincent has somehow been able to find a middle ground between pop and avant-garde and is the fist woman to have a signature guitar from Music Man.
Kim Simmonds: Savoy Brown is one of those bands that should have been superstars but weren’t. For those that like the swamped out boogie vibe of Foghat, check out Savoy Brown’s excellent “Hellbound Train”.
Killick Hinds: Hinds is impossible to pigeonhole because he plays experimental acoustic music and he has the biggest pedalboard this side of Phil Keaggy. A bit of advanced warning, he’s not every one’s cup of tea. Some people may find him a bit off putting but you can’t fault him for thinking outside of the box.
Deborah Coleman: the napalm of blues.
Emily Remler: Modern electric jazz player.
Mary Osborne: An under appreciated jazz great.