Reviewing the 5 Worst Rated Doom Albums
The number of Finnish bands will shock you! Actually, probably not.
The list of bad doom is different than the lists for progressive metal and atmospheric black metal in that there are fewer big names at the bottom of the pack. Maybe notable doom bands don’t make massive missteps as often as other genres, or the mediocrity floor is just higher. I only used albums with 50 ratings or more on rateyourmusic.com this time, if you’re concerned with methodology for some reason.
#5 Moss: Horrible Night
RYM Rating: 2.88 | Ratings: 110
Most of the critiques of this album seem to be statements that you could make about even the best stoner doom: It’s boring and repetitive. There’s too much droning fuzz. Their fingers don’t fing. While all of this is true, it’s far from the worst thing on this list. The clean vocals work about 25% of the time until it gets so off key that an obsessive janitor wouldn’t guess it on an ink blot test. This first track has a pretty good riff and some Pallbearer-esque qualities, but “Dark Lady” is 11 minutes of nearly nothing. Unless you are very entrenched in the nuances of stoner doom, you’ll probably be just slightly more bored listening to this as you would be with Dopesmoker, but also a little bit disgusted too. It very much follows in the footsteps of the bands that were doing this 10 years prior, but without any of the credit for originality. Here’s the best song, since the rest are so monotonous I can’t bring myself to feature them.
#4 Deinonychus: The Weeping of a Thousand Years
RYM Rating: 2.72 | Ratings: 57
If listening to someone wallowing in off-key heartbreak for over an hour is your thing, boy do I have the album for you. Some bands in this depressive subgenre have a knack for creating excellent slow melodies out of very simple note progressions, but the first 5 minutes of the intro proves that simple does not mean easy to write. Or perform. Of course, this is also accompanied by over-narration by a god-like deep echoing character and an even deeper modulated voice for, idk, satan or something. I’m not doing a lyric analysis when a good chunk of the non-narrated lyrics seem to be “WAAAAAAHHHHHH”. Oh yeah, don’t forget the extra cheezy synth chords for atmosphere with just grating attack modulation. This band apparently got less bad around the time they released an album called Mournument, but I think I’ll pass on checking that out. I couldn’t find the standalone track I wanted to feature here, so please skip to 25:10 and listen for a few minutes. The guitar cuts out at seemingly accidental times and notes seem to appear about a half second later than they should. It’s really funny. There are parts that some of you goth people might enjoy, but not many.
#3 Electric Wizard: Wizard Bloody Wizard
RYM Rating: 2.91 | Ratings: 776
Electric Wizard is certainly the highest profile band on the list and their most recent release seems to have been a big ol’ flop. I’m not super familiar with the band so I figured checking out Dopethrone, RYM’s #1 doom metal release of all time, would provide some context. Vicious vox, good leads, insane effects, fuzz galore: Textbook stoner doom. Wizard Bloody Wizard sounds like if a stoner cleaned up his house (a seemingly good idea) but then in doing so, realized he had no possessions. Or even a house. The riffs took about ten steps back in originality and are insistent on being boring as hell for far too long before doing something mildly cool. The vocals are lame and too high in the mix. A funny thing about context though, I think this album would have crushed if it was created in the time it is trying to emulate. It’s certainly the best album on this list, but the bands status, combined with unexpected change and a touch of mediocrity, tanked the ratings. When bands like Elder are modernizing and progressing the genre, this just seems safe and out of touch.
#2 Aarni: Tohcoth
RYM Rating: 2.76 | Ratings: 108
The best album cover on the list is also the strangest addition. Tohcoth is an avant-doom affair that, like most albums on these lists, seems to suffer from “disappointing follow-up” syndrome. It’s a tough album to describe since it seems to go in a different direction every 60 seconds; yet somehow in all that variance, it manages to be a dull slog. Like most one-man experimental albums, it lacks an editor that could have reigned in some of the brain-genius moments that seemed brilliant to only one person on the planet, like the out-of-the-box autotune on “The Sound of One I Opening”. I’m also struggling to pinpoint what it is I don’t like about this album because it’s literally everything. Every moment is stupid in a way that I can’t even find entertaining. I wish I had more to say but it just sucks real bad.
#1 Exoskeleton: Plutonian Herd
RYM Rating: 1.57 | Ratings: 306
What little that is left of my faith in humanity is begging me to hope this is a joke, but pretending it’s not for a moment, Plutonian Herd is a monumental artifact of bad art. The drumming is “toddler’s first-take” sloppy and I’m fairly certain the “guitar” is a fake as hell synth. The monotonous distortion layered upon chords that have no business being next to each other is pure comedy. The rare vocal occurrences seem to be spontaneous bursts of brain dead caveman glee that don’t interact with the “music” in any way. It’s incredibly dull. The best thing about this album is the small legion of people on RYM defending it because they believe people who don’t understand the genre are coming in without context and shitting on something they don’t understand. That’s some Level 100 contrarian shit. Yes, I made it through all 35 minutes and I can guarantee that everything you hear in this track is just repeated ten more times. It’s not unlistenable, but listening to this on purpose should be labelled as hate speech towards actual musicians.
Other Notable Losers:
- Von‘s Dark Gods Seven Billion Slaves should have made the list but I disqualified it for being more black than doom and having a suspicious review on DMU.
- If you allow RYM to include sub-genres, funeral doom band Until Death Overtakes Me shows up four times in the top 10.
- You have to scroll for a bit to find more albums with 100+ reviews, but Novembre’s debut is next. It’s really hard to find the whole album online, but the songs I could find don’t sound good.
- Forget what I said about best album art, this Surtur World of Doom cover wins. Too bad it had fewer than 50 ratings.