There are specific qualities that I appreciate in music that transcend genre. There's a physical sensation that a certain down-tuned chord progression creates along my spine--a sort of "icy hand of death" thing that makes my marrow resonate and sets up a thrumming beneath my sternum as if sinister doings are afoot. Early Black Sabbath provides precisely this kind of frisson. My daily subway commute takes on ominous significance with the sort of dirgey musical accompaniment provided by the inheritors of the Sabbath sound.
It's hard for me to prosthelytize for this band enough--their 2007 effort "Witchcult Today" is my current desert island album. For those who aren't fans already, I hope to convince you over the course of the next several words! If the fact that they sound like early Sabbath isn't enough for you, perhaps you'll be swayed by their sinister occult references. Or maybe you'd like to know that Rosalba Neri and Jess Franco are thanked in the liner notes of their latest album, "Black Masses." Hell, this band convinces me that maybe-just-maybe HP Lovecraft's fans aren't the worst thing to happen to his legacy. Listen to this fuzzed-out doom riff and DESPAIR:
Electric Wizard is currently on tour in Europe. If you're fortunate enough to attend one of these shows, please report back to me and drink the sweetness of my envious tears.
Toronto's Blood Ceremony amp up the prog-rock elements of the Sabbath sound, adding in flute trills and female vocals for a slightly sweeter take on the sinister. Drawing inspiration from the works of Aleister Crowley, Arthur Machen, and other late 19th/early 20th Century mystics, this band brings a psychedelic appeal to their tales of deviltry.
In the words of Tenebrous friend/mentor/artist/general person of excellence Joey Zone, "is there a better band name than ORANGE frikkin' GOBLIN?" Perhaps not (although Slambuki and Cadaviar are contenders, though their music is nowhere near as good). These guys lay down an intense riff with a groovy blues drive behind it that calls to mind Motörhead and sometimes even Southern Rock stalwarts Lynyrd Skynyrd (who doesn't love Skynard? LIARS, that is who). If Electric Wizard and Blood Ceremony call you to the Sabbath, Orange Goblin provides the afterparty. Orange Goblin is touring the US this spring/summer, and I'm going to assume my pals on this side of the Atlantic will be rushing off to buy tickets now.
Orange Goblin official website
A fantastic resource for more doom/sludge/psychedelic music reviews and interviews is Doommantia. The editors at that site are incredibly knowledgeable and cover downtuned excellence from around the globe. I've learned about a ton of excellent acts I'd never have been exposed to otherwise through this site, and I just can't recommend it highly enough!