Denver has a rich tradition of metal and a thriving doom scene. Influenced by Black Sabbath and rock and roll’s slower side, doom revels in heaviness and bleak, introspective lyrics delivered mostly at a snail’s pace. Maybe it’s all the Mile High cannabis smoke or a response to this western city’s slower pace, but Denver is producing amazing doom bands in droves. Here’s a rundown of some of our favorite acts in 2017.
In the Company of Serpents
Denver doom duo In the Company of Serpents packs an unstoppable amount of power for a band that comprises just a guitarist and a drummer. Expect heavy, rolling sounds from these guys, as grand as the Rocky Mountains’ majesty. Their songs are all bone-crushingly heavy, and their lyrics pull from ancient mysticism.
If epic metal songs about wizards and dragons float your boat, Khemmis is for you. The four-piece plays not just doom, but straightforward rock and roll, as well. These musicians aren’t afraid to break out catchy riffs and hooks when creating their slow, heavy blend. Khemmis has gained national acclaim in recent years: It’s signed to 20 Buck Spin Records; its second release, Hunted, was Decibel magazine’s 2016 Album of the Year; and it’s playing Psycho Fest in Las Vegas this year.
One of the biggest breakout metal successes in Denver, the Munsens have completely taken the place by storm. Up until 2016, the group was somewhat disjointed, as some of its members lived across the country. While the musicians occasionally performed together, the band wasn’t really solidified as a Denver doom powerhouse. Now it’s crushing all the local shows and making Denverites rethink what it means to be slow, loud and heavy. Bringing incredible energy and soul to every recording and performance, the Munsens are making an impact, and doomheads can’t get enough.
Of Feather and Bone
While not traditionally doom, these guys play a blackened, crusty, grind-and-hardcore-influenced brand of death metal that has been known to slow to a creep while paying homage to sludge and blackened doom. The vibe of the city clearly rubs off on this trio, which keeps a lot of heavy reverb and delay on even its fast-paced death-metal songs. True to crust and sludge form, Of Feather and Bone cultivates a hopeless atmosphere.
Read on for more of Denver's best doom bands.
Primitive Man may be one of the most famous local doom bands on this list, as well as one of the loudest and heaviest. The self-described purveyors of death sludge and funeral punk are currently signed to Relapse Records. Even audiences used to loud bass and soul-crushing guitars need earplugs during a Primitive Man set.
Cloud Catcher takes on the rock-and-roll side of the doom spectrum, playing classically influenced tunes that would make Black Sabbath proud. Suitable as an opener for a Led Zeppelin cover band, yet heavy enough to bring down the roof for a bunch of stoned doomers at the hi-dive, Cloud Catcher makes doom for purists and shreds it every time.
Love Gang takes it a step further than Cloud Catcher, playing doom-tinged psych rock. Yes, there is organ, and, yes, there is flute. But don’t expect a break from neck-snapping head-banging. This act is still heavy as hell.
Call of the Void
Boulder act Call of the Void has been exploding worldwide. The band, signed to Relapse Records, plays sludge with a lot of hardcore and grind influence. While the music’s not always slow, it often is...and it’s always dark and crushing. There’s also a signature hopelessness present that will make even the perkiest Coloradan shake his fist at the unrelenting sun.
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Cult of the Lost Cause
This unique Denver group, signed to Sailor Records, takes doom in a post-metal direction, pulling from influences such as Pelican, Isis and Neurosis. Providing a needed break from the rest of the scene’s head-banging heaviness, Cult of the Lost Cause’s ambient, dark, slow sounds have been relaxing and inspiring fans since the act formed in 2010.
Although Blood Incantation plays old-school death metal through and through, it pulls a lot from the slow and the sludgy. Drawing on grim scenarios like the destruction of the universe, the bandmembers are all proficient shredders and noodlers who still pack a punch and dominate a room. These guys are not for the faint of heart — and they leave a lasting impression.