CVLT Nation’s Top Six Doom Albums of 2011

It’s hard to believe that after about 40 years of Doom Metal there are still releases that add something refreshing to this genre. But standing on the shoulders of giants like Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Sleep or Neurosis, current bands released some seriously amazing Doom records in 2011.

6. RED FANG – MURDER THE MOUNTAINS (Relapse)Red Fang - Murder the Mountains
Of all records on this list, RED FANG‘s Murder the Mountains is the most obvious party record. Perfect for the summer, perfect for BBQ, beer and bonghits, perfect for hang outs and headbanging. Huge riffs, great vocals and amazing solos make a more than decent Metal record. Add a Hammond organ and you’ll find yourself quitting your job and buying a motorcycle the next day. A great record and a worthy sixth position on this list! A full review of this record can be read here.

5. YOB – ATMA (Profound Lore)Yob - Atma
Riffs, riffs, riffs and even more riffs – that sums up YOB‘s latest release titled Atma pretty good. Five songs in over 55 minutes, Neurosis‘ Scott Kelly doing guest vocals, outstandig guitar solos, a roaring bass and mythical lyrics about life in its greater coherences delivered by the perfect voice of Mike Scheidt – listening closely to this record can set you in trance. My favourite track is Atma for sure – with Kelly’s vocals it is just the perfect Doom song. Read the full review by Ryan and get this record.

4. JESU – ASCENSION (Caldo Verde)Jesu - Ascension
There’s hardly any genre JESU hasn’t been assigned to: Doom, Shoegaze, Industrial, Postrock, even Pop – whatever you call it, Justin Broadrick’s project is an absolute sureshot when it comes down to beautiful, sad and floating music. Even more: JESU is nothing less but a reflection of a jaded, downtrodden and hopeless generation. Just look at the tired faces you see every morning in the streets on your way to work – Broadrick’s music seems preserve those faces forever. Read the full review here.

3. NOOTHGRUSH – LIVE FOR NOTHING (Southern Lord)Noothgrush - Live for Nothing
“Tonight we are very pleased to have with us: From the South Bay – NOOTHGRUSH” – so says a friendly voice at the beginning of this record. And we ARE pleased! Of course these aren’t really new recordings by one of the sickest, heaviest Doom bands ever. But Live for Nothing deliveres two radio shows in a raw but powerful sound played by NOOTHGRUSH in 1996 and 1999. Mastered by Brad Boatright (From Ashes Rise) this record proves why NOOTHGRUSH is such an important influence for literally countless of Doom, Stoner and Sludge bands around the planet. Hardly any bands were/are more pissed off than NOOTHGRUSH – try to prove me wrong. This record is a contemporary document. Full review by Sean can be read here.

2. RUSSIAN CIRCLES – EMPROS (Sargent House)Russian Circles - Embros
Of all Postrock bands RUSSIAN CIRCLES might be my favourite, because where others get lost in endless reverb orgies, RUSSIAN CIRCLES for damn sure know how to spell R-I-F-F. First track on Embros is the best proof, a heavy, pummeling and highly energetic monster of a song. Of course RUSSIAN CIRCLES still have lots of really athmospheric, very tense parts – but everytime you begin to feel comfortable, the next heavy riff hits you like a ton of bricks. Many bands just stick to the “quiet-loud-quiet” scheme, but RUSSIAN CIRCLES put a lot of twists and surprisig moments into their songs. All in all a heavy, thoughtful and simply outstanding record.

1. INDIAN – GUILTLESS (Relapse)Indian - Guiltless
Here it is: the Doom record of the year. INDIAN surely isn’t here to make friends, to sound pleasing or to be everybodys darling. Guiltless is the meanest, most fucked up, drugged out, uncomfortable, frightening and heaviest record I’ve heard this year and probably my whole life. Disharmonic riffs and a slowness that feels like being squeezed by a caterpillar reign this record. What distinguishes INDIAN from like minded bands like Grief: Beneath all the hate and despair spewn out they are still able to let small, tiny bits of melody creep in under the surface. Sure enough, you have to listen to Guiltless quite often until the distorted beauty burried beneath tons of noise finally begins to shine through. But it’s totally worth it. Check out Sean’s full review of this record.

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  • Joe

    Dood where’s the doom?? Just kidding… I really like seeing Atma, Guiltless and of course Ascension. Jesu is one of my favorite bands and I wish this album was covered more… All three of those albums are doom material. Jesu is like “dream doom metal” lol.
    Did you check out 40 Watt Sun? The Inside Room is incredible.
    I don’t understand with people liking Loss, that’s some seriously boring and generic funeral death doom.
    I don’t agree with Empros being on here, but Murder the Mountains is pretty close.
    Though sounds like these people need to take some Midol or something…
    Oh and high five for liking Ascension than The Book of Kings, that’s a pretty boring album, not bad, just bland. At least Ascension changed things up some for Jesu yet is still heavy.

    PS I have no life since I’m commenting on this, though I came across it recently.

  • Dear Doom Gestapo,

    I’m sorry to let you down. I know you spend hours and hours to divide Drone from Doom from Sludge from Stoner from Black Sabbath, and I put at least (!) three (!!!) albums on this list that just don’t match your high standards of Doom everybody kinda “knows” but can’t explain. Probably because they’re all just bullshit labels put onto bands and albums and music to sell some more of those super limited double lps? I don’t know. My bad I made a list of personal faves related to the genre instead of asking you beforehand if these bands are on the infamous Doom list. And I’m really sorry that I LIKE Jesu more than Mournful Congregation. Next year write down a list yourself and see if anybody cares.

    Yours truly,
    The Traitor Of Doom

    • taylor

      There isn’t one doom band on this list. Not just three. And it doesn’t take hours to distinguish doom from sludge and the other genres. Just listen to a Pentagram or St Vitus record and tell me that sounds like Russian Circles, Indian, Red Fang, or anything else on this list. Don’t get butthurt that you’re wrong.

  • j

    I like Loss, Mournful Congregation, Seidr, 40 Watt Sun, Corrupted…

  • I was surprised too when I saw Russian Circles in a Doom list. I think it’s not Doom, but more atmospheric sludge and even more post rock. but that’s true it’s getting hard to distinguish sludge to doom. so it’s not that crazy to put Russian Circles in Doom. That’s still a good list. the important part is that their are top metal albums of 2011. and their are (for the ones I know).

    What is crazy though, is to call their album “Embros” when it’s actually “Empros”. 🙂

    @John : Jesu is sooo fucking doom. (drone doom if you like, but then WHAT IS DOOM?? only black sabbath?)

    • they. not their. wtf. (I hate mistakes haha)

      • R.

        It’s very easy to distinguish sludge from doom.

  • This is missing so much actual amazing doom.
    40 Watt Sun
    Mournful Congregation
    The Wounded Kings

    I can see where dude is coming from, but if you’re gonna do a doom list, please do it right?

  • R.

    I also feel this list was a let down. As much as i agree these releases share some attributes with doom some just aren’t even close to the genre. There were several amazing doom albums released this year that weren’t mentioned that are certainly more deserving. Such as the new Loss, Esoteric, and Mournful Congregation albums. Not to mention the final chapter of Colosseum’s venture as a band.

  • WHAT? NO CORRUPTED? It’ll be on my list as well as the new Indian!

  • Chris Noir

    Everyone’s opinion is bound to be subjective – and when it comes down to attributions of bands to certain music genres even more so. I know that those three bands you’ve mentioned aren’t playing 100% Doom, but their music is using a lot of elements of this genre, so I think to label them as Doom isn’t wrong.

    Whatever it is anyway what the “Doom genre represents”. Show me the official Doom manifesto and I’ll redo this list according to its articles. Or the other way around: what do Indian and Yob have in common, what Yob and Red Fang haven’t?

  • John

    I don’t think the person who wrote this list, actually knows what Doom genre represents. Red Fang, nor Jesu, nor Russian Circles are doom bands, not even close… It’s like if you’d put Attack Attack! and Veil Brides into the best Heavy Metal albums of 2011.

    • Andy O

      Nitpickers gonna nitpick. These are all fantastic albums, regardless of genre.

      • R.

        Take into consideration this is the best “doom” albums of 2011.