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Temple of Void are a formidable death-doom machine in their own right, but they're also experts on the genre they work within. Their fluency with all things low, slow and gloomy is obvious on their latest album, Summoning the Slayer (out June 3rd via Relapse Records), with their keen creative impulses for oppressive riffage, evil vocals and subtle flecks of melody shining through on standouts like "Deathtouch."
In honor of the record's release, we had guitarist Alex Awn and vocalist Mike Erdody pick who they believe are the 10 greatest doom bands in all of the genre's history. From the disgusting heaviness of the Japanese scuzz-lords in Corrupted to the spiraling beauty of the endlessly influential Candlemass, their choices cover all the bases of great doom both new and old. See their choices below.
Who says heavy doom has to mean distorted doom? 40 Watt Sun bring so much raw emotion to the table that's absolutely palpable. Patrick Walker's vocals drip with pain, loss, and regret with each syllable he sings. 40 Watt Sun is a band that is extremely freakin' slow, but never gets boring. I love the drumming on their albums, too. Of all the bands I've put forth, 40 Watt Sun is probably the heaviest to me. -Alex Awn
There are so many epic doom bands that easily could have made this list, such as Solitude Aeturnus, Solstice, or our contemporaries in Crypt Sermon. This can be attributed to the plodding passages, expressive guitar playing, and powerful vocals delivered with an operatic bravado that we've come to associate with traditional doom metal. Besides the heaviness, the one thing all epic doom has in common is that it draws influence in some way from the same well of souls that is Candlemass. They essentially wrote the book on it, and they've never lost that heaviness after all these years. -Mike Erdody
If heaviness is your main criteria for liking a doom band, then Japan's Corrupted absolutely need to be mentioned. As glacial as they are dense, they regularly deliver nasty, punishing doom about the bleakness of humanity that often flirts with Dopesmoker song lengths. Sometimes the aural barrage is relentless and feels like slowly being steamrolled, while other times it intermittently blindsides you between ghostly piano passages or minimalist droning ambience. -Mike Erdody
These guys essentially invented a sub-genre of their own. They birthed a thousand copycats and they all pale in comparison. Electric Wizard have such a dense, layered sound. It's super immersive. It's fuzzed-out and obviously worships at the altar of Sabbath, but they've made a career out of putting their own spin on what Sabbath started. Torchbearers of doom, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. -Alex Awn
There are honestly very few bands that everyone in Temple of Void all really dig. Paradise Lost is one of those rare bands. We all have different favorite albums of theirs (mine is Icon), which speaks to the strength of their catalog and consistent output over the decades. Paradise Lost are another band on the list who have an instantly recognizable sound, in this case thanks mostly to guitarist Gregor Mackintosh with his haunting and melancholic guitars leads and somber chord progressions. -Alex Awn
Whether it's his time in the early days of Death SS or his own mysterious and psyched-out solo work, Paul Chain is probably one of the most important figures in the development of the Italian Dark Sound. This is due to his heavy guitar riffing, spacey leads, and funereal organ pieces — with haunting vocals delivered in a cryptic language that lead the procession. -Mike Erdody
Reverend Bizarre released some of the best and heaviest doom of the early 2000s, only to end abruptly and be proceeded by a string of posthumous splits, EPs, and compilations. They were a band that wore their influences on their sleeves in a very genuine way and delivered doom that was dismally heavy and melancholic, but also catchy, full of Sabbathian grooves, and a subtle sense of humor beneath it all. -Mike Erdody
No list of heavy doom would be complete without a representative from the funeral doom sub-genre. And when it comes to funeral doom, Skepticism are the kings, in my opinion. The sheer slowness of their music is brutal in and of itself. They've a mediative and bulldozing band of oppressive doom dirges. -Alex Awn
Have you heard Realm of Ash and Blood by Solothus? Get on it! We watched them crush songs from their catalog fourteen days in a row in Europe. They killed every night and were a tough act to follow. They're just everything I want out of a modern death-doom band. Amazing production. Really unique guitar playing courtesy of guitarist Veli-Matti Karjalainen. Catchy songs. Great rhythms. Deep and expressive death vocals. Top class. -Alex Awn
Trouble simultaneously defined and defied the doom metal genre with their diversity, dynamics, and songwriting prowess. They distinguished themselves with their variety of tempos, Beatles-esque melodies, and consistently heavy riffing reinforced by the kind of dual guitar heroics that bring to mind Gorham/Robbo-era Thin Lizzy. Eric Wagner's voice was uniquely identifiable, and they had a lyrical heaviness that tread the fine line between hopefulness and plummeting downward into the bleakness of life, addiction, or the kind of mournful Christendom that could sit right alongside Black Sabbath's eponymous title track. -Mike Erdody