So, you want to get into metal? Not so fast, junior. Not only must you answer "questions three," but you must listen to the best genre of metal, one that's currently enjoying a renaissance. Didn't know there were multiple genres of metal? Oh, fictitious-kid-we-made-up-for-this-article, you're so ignorant.
Doom metal. It's so damn dark that it's played SLOW. Who can handle such a slow grind? True metalheads and baristas. Excuse the pun. When you're as metal as we are, you hardly have time for "jokes." Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the top five doom metal bands that we're happy to follow into the darkness.
Ghost is a Swedish band that is currently taking the metal world by storm. Famed for its hypnotizing stage show, frontman Papa Emeritus wears full Pope regalia and sings prog rock-tinged, doom-inspired (note that we didn't say this was specifically "doom") metal. On the strength of one album and a haunting live cover of The Beatles "Here Comes The Sun" (watch here), the band has amassed a huge cult following in less time than other bands take to choose what to wear in the morning. Even members of Metallica have been spotted recently donning Ghost T-shirts at various recent gigs. Did we mention that nobody in the band has a name?
Related: If Ghost lifts your skirt, check out Celtic Frost--vocalist Tom Fischer shares a similar otherworldly quality with Papa Emeritus.
Boris is a Japanese band that decided it didn't fit into the Japanese hard-core punk scene and branched out into some of the most brutal yet sonically brilliant doom metal this side of, well, anywhere. What sets Boris apart is its ability to find a melodic element in the middle of a sonic burst, as showcased on their breakthrough 2005 album Pink. While most doom metal finds its roots in Black Sabbath and more fantasy-based bands like Celtic Frost, Boris finds it sound somewhere between American hard-core bands like Hüsker Dü and British shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine.
Related: If you like Boris, check out Sunn O))). They play just as hard, with a more psychedelic drone influence.
Do you like Queens Of The Stone Age? Great. Go back one step and you'll find Kyuss, Josh Homme's first band that formed in late '80s Palm Desert, California. They achieved a distinctive sound by playing their guitars through bass amplifiers and performed countless free shows across the Southern California desert using generators to power the sound equipment. Kyuss exemplifies stoner metal, a more punk influenced variation on doom metal. While certain metalheads will get their panties in a twist over the definition between stoner and doom metal, we're going out on a limb and saying Kyuss's c-l-a-s-s-i-c album Welcome To Sky Valley is up there with at least two of the first four Black Sabbath albums. It's that good.
Related: While Kyuss has some of the catchiest songs on record, Electric Wizard's frankly brilliant "Dopethrone" LP is as close to the Beatles' "Revolver" as stoner/doom metal will get.
Windhand, a new band from Virginia, is tearing the roofs of venues with their live gigs. They're THAT loud. While the five members look like the elder siblings in a '90s sitcom, their sound is out of this world: classic doom coupled with female vocals combined with some of the sickest hooks this side of a pirate convention. Ask your Ouija board if they're playing your town soon, and hope the planchette points to "Yes."
Remember that indie band Pinback? It had a good little run. The singer has now started a project called Goblin Cock, a tongue-in-cheek doom metal project that lives up to lofty expectations. With songs about "Sesame Street" characters and liner notes written in runes, some metal purists won't care for them. However, the fivesome's first album, Bagged & Boarded, is a great entry point into the genre. And it doesn't sound a thing like Pinback.
Related: Pelican is as obtuse as doom metal can get. If you can appreciate the slapstick doom metal of Goblin Cock, you may appreciate the more cerebral metal of Pelican.