With the recent releases of Indian's Guiltless and Witch Mountain's South of Salem I thought this would be a good time to give you the scoop on some of the free doom(or at least, doom-y) metal I've been downloading from Bandcamp. As you may know, Bandcamp is an incredible resource for wasting time and a surprising amount of unsigned bands that use the site are very talented. So without further ado, here's a list of doom bands/albums that you can scoop up with no damage to either your wallet or your conscience.
Dirty Knobs-Field Recordings From the Edge of Hell
Would you consider yourself a fan of avant-garde music? Maybe one who enjoys music that's somewhat intense, a bit off the beaten path? Well check this shit out, dude: Field Recordings From the Edge of Hell is Sunn O))) meets Arnold Schonberg meets My Bloody Valentine meets Skinny Puppy meets Nurse With Wound in an instrumental wall of sound that's as psychedelic and horrifying as it is beautiful. And how long is it, might you ask?
This is men-from-the-boys material, folks, and if you think you're up to it the baseline price is only one dollar. Grab your nuts and pony up a buck for one of the most singular musical experiences you'll ever hear. It's a more-than-fair cost to hear evolution in the making.
Arms of Ra-Arms of Ra
Now this is the kind of thing I was really looking for when I first set out on my doomquest. Arms of Ra have made an E.P. that's as intense as it is sonically interesting, mixing the fury and at times even the technical elements of the Dilinger Escape Plan with the bold, sweeping riffs of early Isis. The guitarwork is as sharp as a knife and the rhythm section, though layered, slow and sludgy, betray a captivating complexity upon multiple listenings. Arms of Ra is a promising young band with the potential to uproot most of their contemporaries with the threat of a full length release. Most excellent.
KOLOSS-END OF THE CHAYOT
END OF THE CHAYOT (and yes, the album and band name is in all-caps) makes a pretty compelling case for why some people don't like post-metal. If you've heard a Neurosis album, or even a Mouth of the Architect album, you've heard more captivating versions of the songs KOLOSS attempts to carbon-copy. Some vaguely interesting guitar work can't make up for the fact that this band adds nothing to a scene that in many ways is rightfully accused of borrowing too much from itself. Weak.
Wizard Eye-Orbital Rites
Wizard Eye makes the exact type of music you'd expect a band called Wizard Eye to make, by which I mean it's extremely goofy and pretty kickass. The vocals sound way too close to Phil Ansemlo for comfort and in truth there's not much here you haven't heard before if you have even a casual relationship with stoner doom, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't fuckin' kick on several occasions and that it wasn't a pretty fun listen. Don't expect to have your mind blown and you might come out the end of this album having had a pretty swell time.
Cleansing the Damned-Cleansing the Damned
A little bit industrial, a little bit doom and a lot okay, Cleansing the Damned is an album that often comes out a bit cornier than it does despairing or scary. The growled vocals have absolutely no heft and the lyrics aren't so much tortured as they are wimpy. The best parts of this release are the total left turns, like the song "Stimuli", which is more or less a spoken-word piece set over a gnarly riff and a drum loop, and the closing, eleven minute instrumental. The mechanical parts work better than the death parts, and I think if this guy (as this is a one-man operation) focuses more on his industrial stuff his future releases will turn out a lot better. He's a good technician but can't pull off the emotional highs needed to drag us into his world.
Agalloch is listed on Wikipedia as being "doom", and while I find that patently absurd I guess that if Agalloch can be considered to have doom elements Tempest can too. Passages is an intriguing mix of black metal vocals and huge, swirling riffs that come roaring out the gates with refreshing intensity. This is a band that was born to make a 15-minute opus, but the crust punk trappings on some of the songs, while great for energy, hold Tempest back from being the epic endeavor they should be. For a debut E.P., though? Pretty frickin' great.
Are you an artist who uses Bandcamp? Do you release your stuff for cheap, free or Name Your Price? No matter the genre, send me an email and I'll do my best to give you a review worthy of the time you spent making and distributing your work for little cost. If you're a Bandcamp artist who'd like to see your music reviewed on Styrofoam Boots, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll give your stuff a listen.