Saturday, April 21, 2012

Temple of DOOM

Here I sit in front of my computer, having been ultimately defeated on Record Store Day 2012. The 3 albums I was looking for (a reissue of the classic blues album by Skip James, Devil Got My Woman...along with a couple Ozzy releases) were nowhere to be found.

Frustrated, my journey home prompted me to listen to Pentagram's Relentless album. Its such a great doom-metal album, and instantly put me in a better mood. So in the effort of keeping my spirits high and maybe exposing a friend or two to some rockin' tunes...Welcome to the TEMPLE OF DOOM!!!

Doom metal can sometimes get a bad wrap, but there's a lot of good bands mixed within the herd. The problem is, much like many forms of heavy metal music, there's different kinds of doom. NWOBHM Doom. Stoner Doom. Sludge Doom. Funeral Doom. Blackened Doom. Death/Doom. Need I go on? There's the slow, boring monotone stuff that will put you to sleep. There's the Black Sabbath rip-off bands. But then there's bands like Pentagram, Trouble, St. Vitus and so forth. What I'm going to share with you are MY favorite doom/stoner rock bands. Hopefully you will enjoy the journey.

Let's start with a few tracks by Trouble. Trouble was an interesting band in the doom scene. They were openly Christian and had a lot of religious lyrics, but their style was very dark and heavy. Their beliefs never seemed to bother those metal fans who listened to all the satanic stuff, because Trouble simply kicked ass. Their vocalist (Eric Wagner) takes some getting used to. He's got a bit of a screaming wail that can be annoying to some, but epic to others. Give these tracks a try!

from Manic Frustration (1992)

from Plastic Green Head. (1995)

If you listened to all the tracks, you'll know that Trouble became more "stoner rock" and less "doom metal" as they progressed. They briefly flirted with a major label for their albums Trouble and Manic Frustration, but never quite earned their millions. They're still around today, but Eric Wagner is no longer their singer. The former lead singer of Warrior Soul (Kory Clarke) was their vocalist from 2008-2012, and now Kyle Thomas (the Alabama Thunderpussy guy) fronts the band. Still, nothing beats the Wagner years...and the fans know it!!

Up next for your education is Pagan Altar. This is a band that never made it big, commercially or otherwise. They recorded songs between 1978-1982, but they were never able to get a proper record deal. They released demos and such back in the day, but their material was never properly released until 1998. Here's a couple tracks for your enjoyment!

from Volume 1. (1998)

from Lords of Hypocrisy. (2004)

Pagan Altar reformed in 2004 and have been touring and recording ever since. They consider themselves to be a part of the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) scene, even though they didn't quite make a splash until much later. Pagan Altar prove that its never too late to rock!

Next up on the listening dock is Witchfinder General, another band that comes from the NWOBHM scene. Witchfinder General often gets dismissed because their singer tended to do a damn fine Ozzy impression on their earlier tracks. Their first album is definitely their best, and even if they did dip into Ozzy's pool every now and again, they still proved to be an excellent band in their own right. They only released two albums between 1982 and 1983. They reformed in 2008 and recorded an album, but that's about it for these guys. I never heard the newer album. Don't care. It's all about the first two!

from Death Penalty. (1982)

from Death Penalty. (1982)

from Friends of Hell. (1983)

That's all I have for you as far as a "history" lesson goes. The bands you just listened to are all classic, and there's plenty more where that came from. There's a couple of newer bands that I'd like to share with you as well, if you can spare the time. As doom metal progressed from the NWOBHM scene, it also branched out into "stoner doom." I'm going to focus on some stoner doom/rock bands, as they definitely keep the sound of old doom alive, yet keep it fresh enough for the next wave. And no, you don't have to be high to enjoy this music (although I'm sure it helps).

First up is Kyuss. This name may ring a bell for some. The band was on MTV a few times, and their guitarist (Josh Homme) went on to front the mega-popular band Queens of the Stone Age. Kyuss was a part of that early stoner rock scene with bands such as Fu Manchu and Monster Magnet. Kyuss was always set apart though, mainly because they were simply better than most of the other bands at the time.

from Blues for the Red Sun. (1992)

from Welcome to Sky Valley. (1994)

Kyuss reformed (sorta) in 2010 without Josh Homme, and have been calling themselves Kyuss Lives! However, Josh Homme recently filed a lawsuit against them all for trademark infringement and consumer fraud. The chances of a proper reunion are slim at best, but really...Josh Homme is a dick so who cares. Here's to the hope that Kyuss Lives! shall be victorious in court!

Up next from the "stoner doom" scene, we have Sleep. Sleep has gone down in history as a groundbreaking doom band, as they greatly influenced the metal scene of the 1990's. Sleep was a band that all the other metal bands at the time were fans of, even though most normal people didn't know who they were.

from Sleep's Holy Mountain. (1993)

Members of Sleep have gone on to heavy metal success with the band High On Fire, but I prefer the old stuff. High On Fire took what Sleep did to the next extreme. They're a lot heavier and definitely more metal than they are "stoner doom." Still a good band, but for me it's all about Sleep.

And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed your time in the Temple of Doom. The Vintage Warrior is always here and he takes requests, so never hesitate to ask for further jam sessions. Until then, lets let the masters take us out!

You just know he digs the Pagan Altar.


  1. I remember reading about Trouble in high school, around the time they were creating more of a "stoner rock" sound. From the articles in metal mags I read back then, "psychedelic" was a word that was thrown around to describe them, and I seem to recall hearing that they covered the "Porpoise Song" by the Monkees.

    I have never heard of Pagan Altar, I dig them! They sound like they were more from the early Sab era than from the NWOBHM.

    I like Witchfinder General, but I don't think the singer sounds that much like Ozzy. Remember that band Sheavy? THAT guy sounded like Ozzy!

    I've never heard Sleep either. Good fucking song! That shit has some mad riffs in it...

  2. Yeah the Monkee's cover is a solid track. I dunno why, bu I dig the hell out of Trouble.

    Pagan Altar is an odd beast. I can see why they never got a real record contract (the singer is a bit monotonous) but damn those are some good songs. I've got 3 of their albums, all fun.

    Sheavy! That song they did "Pictures of You" used to get confused as actually being a Sabbath or Ozzy song. This is the one band from the scene I just can't get into. I mean, why not just listen to Sabbath? But yeah, those first two WG albums rule. They're all about sex and drugs, and that's about it!

    Duuuuude. Sleeeeeeep. Do what you can to find the "Sleep's Holy Mountain" album, its great. Only reason I didn't post more songs is because I knew the blog was getting a bit long....

    Did you like Kyuss at all?