[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Cross Vault - The All-Consuming (Northern Silence)
If you can look past the nearly irredeemable bass tone on this record, you come away with a pretty solid melancholic Doom Metal album. Despite the ultra-trebly, super annoying bass being way too high in the mix, the German trio manage to conjure up some classic yet contemporary Doom on their second album. With plodding tempos, somber vocals and Pallbearer-esque chord progressions and dissonance, these guys check off all of the Doom requirements without sounding like a tired copy of every other Doom band, past and present. The acoustic moments are a nice touch, bringing an additional element to the table that goes overlooked too often on these heavy records. But man, that bass tone.
Mammoth Storm - Fornjot (Napalm)
This is a very solid debut full-length release from the Swedish trio featuring noted Draconian axe man Daniel Arvidsson. Playing Stoner/Doom Metal in the vein of High on Fire, the dudes deliver a punishing sound with massive, repetitious riffing and amazing guitar tones. The vocals are a bit too reminiscent of Matt Pike. That’s not a bad thing in itself, but we already have a Matt Pike. The longest two tracks, clocking in at over 11 and 13 minutes, bookend the album and are augmented by a few more tracks that would be considered epic under other circumstances and a short instrumental that provides more melody than the rest of the combined. While this isn’t exactly the second coming of Monolord, it’s another fantastic entry into the Swedish Doom catalog, keeping the country on pace with Russia in the race for the vaunted title of Kingdom of Doom.