The roots of doom metal can be traced back to the days of Black Sabbath’s early music. They were an English rock band, formed in 1968 in Birmingham. Their music is heavily inspired by blues. However their music created a doomy atmosphere with Tony Iommi’s loud guitar and the dark and pessimistic lyrics.
Their music greatly influenced the early heavy metal music and served as an inspiration for several doom metal bands. Black Sabbath and Pentagram composed this dark and heavy music in the early 1970s. They also gave some thrilling performances based on this music. It came to be known and referred to as ‘doom metal’ by critics, musicians, and fans in the 1980s.
The doom metal bands from the 1970s greatly influenced the heavy metal sub-genre’s development in the years that followed. One of the fusion genres called stoner metal was pioneered by the band ‘Blue Cheer’. They used guitar feedback and loud amplifiers, which was apparent in their debut album, Vincebus Eruptum.
A Welsh heavy metal band called ‘Budgie’ also produced songs that were among the loudest in those times. Although the lyrics lacked the pessimistic content, it stylistically influenced many different acts of doom metal. A Japanese band called Flower Travellin’ Band also had a great infuence on early doom metal.
This came from two of their albums, Satori and Kirikyogen. An important forerunner to doom metal is believed to be the self-titled debut of Bang in 1971. Other groups instrumental in the popularity of doom metal were Necromandus, Iron Claw, Leaf Hound, and Sir Lord Baltimore.
Doom metal as a distinct genre was formed in the early and mid-1980s. This was the result of some great contributions made by the bands from the United States and England. The album Death Penalty released in 1982 marked the debut of Witchfinder General, the English pioneers of doom metal. Two of the American pioneers also released their debut albums in 1984.
In the same year, an American band called Cirith Ungol released their second studio album titled King of the Dead. The album is regarded as an early influence on doom by many. The Swedish band Candlemass also proved to be highly influential with Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. It was released in 1986 and gave this heavy metal sub-genre its name.
The emergence of ‘death-doom’
The origins of death-doom, which is also written as ‘death/doom’ goes back to the mid-1980s. During this period, the early progenitors began mixing traditional doom metal with the sounds of death metal. As a result, death-doom emerged as a genre in the late 1980s.
It gained considerable popularity in the following decade. Early records by bands like Autopsy and Anathema in the 1990s included the most prominent elements of death-doom. The doom sound from the mid-1980s were combined with growling vocals, keyboards, violins, and female vocals.
It also led to the rise of funeral doom, which is a genre combining death-doom with funeral dirge music. Funeral doom uses heavily distorted electric guitars and keyboards or synthesizers to create a ‘dreamy’ atmosphere.