2017 had a whole wealth of solid releases in the doom metal (and doom-adjacent) genre. The scene is alive and thriving. It only feels right to round up all of my favorite releases of the year. The key word there is favorite. I did not sweep all across Bandcamp listening to every doom metal album out there, so I by no means am an authority on this subject. I wouldn’t be surprised if I come across an awesome album from 2017 I missed right after I finish this article. But I did listen to a lot of albums, so here are a handful that I think are worth checking out, from both big bands in the genre, as well as obscure ones. In no particular order (for the most part)…
Avatarium – Hurricanes & Halos
Sweden’s Avatarium uleashed their third full-length, Hurricanes and Halos, and it did not disappoint. The operatic and epic elements make this record sound extremely cinematic. Their intricate songwriting abilities cannot be overstated, with imaginative lyrics and a plethora of catchy melodies. Read my full review here.
Favorite Track: “Medusa Child”
Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
Chelsea Wolfe‘s Hiss Spun perfectly blends doom metal, industrial metal, and a touch of folk with a through line of absolute dread. Her angelic voice mixed with downtrodden, dirty guitars as well as cold synths create a soundscape of post-apocalyptic proportions. I really dig the melancholy vibes on every track, which is of course her signature sound.
Favorite Track: “Particle Flux”
Lunar Funeral – Sex on a Grave
Hailing from Russia, Lunar Funeral put out an excellent record, Sex on a Grave that I stumbled upon earlier this year. Full of reverb and bluesiness, I was hooked on this record with only the first few notes. Seriously, the opening track, “Indian’s Death” alone makes it worthy of being on this list. It’s so badass, I can imagine a really cool build up to a western gunslinger duel with this song playing.
Favorite Track: “Indian’s Death”
Mephistofeles – ( ( ( I ‘ M H E R O I N ) ) )
Argentina’s Mephistofeles put out a really kick-ass record this year, ( ( ( I ‘ M H E R O I N ) ) ). While the group doesn’t do a lot to make themselves unique (sometimes the Electric Wizard worship can get out of hand), god damn do they have a myriad of catchy hooks and licks. I really dig the really dark, lo-fi old school organ they have at the beginning of end of certain songs. They have a certain retro doom vibe that they stick to and it works so well.
Favorite Track: “The Rogue”
Monolord – Rust
Monolord is quite possibly the heaviest doom metal band in the game right now. In their new album, Rust, they explore new aural territory by adding some different elements to the mix, but continue their tidal wave-conjuring riffage. They have a hypnotic vibe that is inescapable. Read my full review here.
Favorite Track: “Dear Lucifer”
The Mad Doctors – No Waves, Just Sharks
I’ve been getting into contemporary surf rock recently, and man is it a fun niche. The Mad Doctors‘ No Waves, Just Sharks represents that movement excellently and has a hard surf vibe with some punk and doom over-and under-tones. You gotta love the fake film samples weaved throughout. This is just a straight-up fun record.
Favorite Track: “Lord of Garbage”
Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard
Electric Wizard‘s Wizard Blood Wizard is their best release in a while. They definitely went for a heavily retro-influenced ’70s bluesy doom sound with this one, as opposed to their fuzzy-overdrive noisy sound of before. This new (or old to be honest) sound has divided fans, but I think it’s paid off really well. All six tracks feel very distinct and still have that ’70s schlocky horror vibe. Plenty of tasty riffs to dig your teeth into.
Favorite Track: “Necromania”
Alunah – Solennial
Birmingham, England’s Alunah‘s latest album is chock full of pendulum-swinging riffs as well as plenty solemn moments to create ample contrast, all guided by Sophie Day‘s elongated vocal melodies. It’s unfortunate that this will be her last record with the group too, as she left the band shortly after the release of this album. But damn can Alunah write a song. Read my full review here.
Favorite Track: “Fire of Thornborough Henge”
Ruby the Hatchet – Planetary Space Child
While I don’t number these, Ruby the Hatchet‘s Planetary Space Child is my favorite album of the year. Their last album, Valley of the Snake was my favorite of 2015, so clearly lightning has struck twice. They are the best modern psych rock band out there now. The cosmic power of their riffs, vocal melodies, and illustrious soundscape cannot be understated. Read my full review here.
Favorite Track: “Killer”
It’s funny, while writing this, I’ve been listening to songs here and there from each record, but I want to just sit down and listen to the whole albums! Hopefully you discovered some new tunes!