Where to Start: Maryland Doom in Five Easy Records

Maryland‘s is pretty much the style people mean when they say “traditional doom.” There are three things you want to know right away about the Maryland scene, and they are as follows: Pentagram, The Obsessed and Hellhound Records. With that as your starting point, you can’t really go wrong, but like any fertile bandscape, Maryland (and, by extension the D.C., or “Doom Capitol” scene) has much more to offer the curious listener than just its biggest bands.

In addition to the five albums I’m listing here, you might also want to check out material from Iron Man (Shadow Kingdom has a couple cool reissues and their latest album), Unorthodox, Against Nature, Spirit CaravanWretched, Place of Skulls, Nitroseed and many more. But, to get you introduced to the scene and some of its most influential and important acts, feel free to start with the following:

1. Pentagram, First Daze Here: You can get Relentless instead if you feel strongly about it, there are no shortage of reissues out there, but if you really want to understand Pentagram‘s influence, you need to go to their earliest recordings, and this Relapse compilation has them. American doom from the age of Sabbath. They laid the foundation.

2. The Obsessed, Lunar Womb: I picked Lunar Womb because MeteorCity reissued it a couple years back and it’s easy to come by. In this age of wonders, you could just as easily pick up The Church Within if you’re looking to spend a little more. The Obsessed is the band that first gave us guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, whose influence is paramount in modern doom. Currently on the road with the reunited Saint Vitus, he can also be heard in Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand and elsewhere.

3. Earthride, Taming of the Demons: Dave Sherman (formerly of Spirit Caravan) is holding down the old guard with this outfit that came from the ashes of his prior band, Wretched. 2002’s Taming of the Demons was released on Southern Lord, and it’s a great example of how classic doom translates to the present. Also a killer live band and huge supporters of the scene.

4. Internal Void, Unearthed: For Pentagram‘s 2004 outing, Show ’em How, three-fourths of Internal Void was the backing band, but their own material is far superior. Not one of the highest profile bands to be born in the Old Line State, but their sound is quintessential Maryland doom, and if you want to get a feel for what that means, Unearthed is a great way to go.

5. Revelation, Release: This was their reunion album after being broken up for 15 years. It was released in 2008 on Japan‘s Leaf Hound Records, but Shadow Kingdom issued it the next year in the States, so it’s readily available. Another great slab of traditional Maryland doom in the modern era. Revelation and the trio’s more laid back, less doomed alter-ego, Against Nature, also make everything they do available for free download via their own Bland Hand Records imprint.

Happy (and doomy) listening.

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8 Responses to “Where to Start: Maryland Doom in Five Easy Records”

  1. bleehhh says:

    Count me among those who prefer Relentless. Don’t get me wrong, First Daze Here Too(and First Daze Here, which I’ve yet to get) are great examples of vintage 70s metal, but the darker and thus doomier aspect of the music’s more emphasized with the Death Row lineup. Even knowing a little bit of someone not quite so dark like St. Vitus, I still think of Relentless as more doom-leaning.

  2. horseman says:

    Against Nature is AWESOME (revelation as well) and John Brenner is as great a guitar player as they come!!

  3. Mike says:

    I second that about Relentless. As far as doom goes, this is where you need to start with Pentagram. I meant to say something about this is your other where to start post.

    By the way, I am loving these. More of ’em would be cool. I like your writing so more features the better as far as I’m concerned. I get more out of these.

  4. Mike says:

    Number one is number one for a reason.

    I agree about The Obsessed, but really, once you digest Pentagram, search out all of Wino’s band where he was the principle songwriter. It spans old school Maryland doom to modern day stuff. Start with The Obsessed, then Spirit Caravan (The Last Embrace also out on Meteor City), and The Hidden Hand (The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote, on Southernlord) and his solo album.

    I have been on a HUGE Wino kick lately. His riffs are fabulous. I love his playing. And that tone. There are people who will spend their whole lives chasing after that tone.

    There are some cool early ‘80’s The Obsessed demos out there (the real roots), if you look hard enough as well as some kicks ass Spirit Caravan boots. Maybe I need to get swampy…

  5. greenskeeper says:

    Good call on Internal Void. That band is criminally overlooked when discussed in doom circles. Kelly Carmichael is a hell of a guitar player.

  6. Jungluthr says:

    What about George Brigman’s debut LP “Jungle Rot”? Also, Dead Meadow are from Maryland.

  7. Pigford says:

    I’m still cranking the Church Within a few times a year & that shit came out in 94….I like pretty much all of Wino’s music but that CD is just the shit

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