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 Caravan, Wretched, 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.
Tags: Earthride, Internal Void, Maryland doom, Pentagram, Revelation, The Obsessed