|Cultural origins||Early 1990s, Seattle, Washington|
|Typical instruments||Electric guitar, bass guitar|
Drone metal or drone doomis a style of heavy metal that melds the slow tempos and heaviness of doom metal with the long-duration tones of drone music. Drone metal is sometimes associated with post-metal or experimental metal.
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.
Doom metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much "thicker" or "heavier" sound than other heavy metal genres. Both the music and the lyrics intend to evoke a sense of despair, dread, and impending doom. The genre is strongly influenced by the early work of Black Sabbath, who formed a prototype for doom metal with songs such as "Black Sabbath", "Children of the Grave", "Electric Funeral" and "Into the Void". During the first half of the 1980s, a number of bands from England, the United States and Sweden defined doom metal as a distinct genre.
Drone music, drone-based music, or simply drone, is a subgenre of minimal music that emphasizes the use of sustained sounds, notes, or tone clusters – called drones. It is typically characterized by lengthy audio programs with relatively slight harmonic variations throughout each piece. La Monte Young, one of its 1960s originators, defined it in 2000 as "the sustained tone branch of minimalism".
Typically, the electric guitar is performed with a large amount of reverb or audio feedbackwhile vocals, if present, are usually growled or screamed. Songs often lack beat or rhythm in the traditional sense and are typically very long. The experience of a drone metal performance has been compared by novelist John Wray in The New York Times to listening to an Indian raga in the middle of an earthquake. Wray also states, "It's hard to imagine any music being heavier or, for that matter, very much slower." A pioneer band of drone metal called Sunn O))) has indicated a kinship with sound sculpture. Jan Tumlir indicates a "sustained infra-sound rumble of sub-bass—so-called brown noise".
A death growl is a vocal style usually employed by death metal singers but also used in other heavy metal styles, such as metalcore. Death growls are sometimes criticized for their "ugliness". However, the harshness of death growls is in keeping with death metal's abrasive music style and often dark and obscene subject matter. The progressively more forceful enunciation of metal vocals has been noted from heavy metal to thrash metal to death metal.
John Henderson, better known by his pen name John Wray, is a novelist and regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine. Born in Washington, D.C., of an American father and Austrian mother, he is a citizen of both countries. He grew up in Buffalo, New York, attended the Nichols School for his high school education, and then graduated from Oberlin College, majoring in Biology. He dropped out of graduate school twice: first from New York University’s M.F.A. program in poetry, where he won an Academy of American Poets Prize, and then, a few years later, from Columbia University’s fiction program. He currently lives in Mexico City.
A raga or raag is a melodic framework for improvisation akin to a melodic mode in Indian classical music. While the rāga is a remarkable and central feature of the classical music tradition, it has no direct translation to concepts in the classical European music tradition. Each rāga is an array of melodic structures with musical motifs, considered in the Indian tradition to have the ability to "colour the mind" and affect the emotions of the audience.
Stephen O'Malley from Sunn O))) collaborated on an installation with artist Banks Violette, who has likened drone metal to the work of Donald Judd.Tumlir locates a precedent in Robert Rauschenberg. Violette points out, however, that drone metal is "as much a physiological phenomenon as an acoustic one", with an attendant physicality. O'Malley has also mentioned an appreciation for Cormac McCarthy and Richard Serra. Rhys Chatham's Essentialist included projections by Robert Longo. Jim Jarmusch's 2009 film The Limits of Control features music by a number of drone metal groups. Jarmusch said, "I love these kind of visual landscapes they make, and they really inspired things for me for my film ..., because when I write I'm listening to things that inspire me in the direction of whatever world I'm imagining. Boris and Sunn O))) and Earth were really instrumental in me just finding a place in my head."
Stephen O'Malley is a guitarist, producer, composer, and visual artist from Seattle, Washington who has conceptualized and participated in numerous drone doom, death/doom, and experimental music groups, most notably Sunn O))).
Sunn O))) is an American experimental metal band from Seattle, Washington, that formed in 1998. The band is known for an extremely heavy sound that blends diverse genres including drone, black metal, dark ambient, and noise rock, and for very loud live performances. Supported by a varying cast of collaborators, the band was formed by two core members: Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson.
Banks Violette is an artist based in New York.
Drone metal was first established by Earth,a group from Olympia, Washington, formed in 1989, which has been described as "minimalist post-grunge". Earth took inspiration from the sludge metal of Melvins and the minimalist music of La Monte Young, among other sources. Stephen O'Malley's group Burning Witch, formed five years later, also in Seattle, continued in this tradition, incorporating unusual vocals and bursts of audio feedback. The group initially recorded for the prominent powerviolence label Slap-a-Ham. O'Malley's subsequent group, Sunn O))), initially formed as a tribute to Earth, is most responsible for the contemporary prominence of the drone metal style. Godflesh is also a stated influence on many groups. Boris, from Tokyo, also developed a style of drone metal, parallel with the Seattle groups, as did Corrupted, from Osaka.
Earth is an American musical group based in Olympia, Washington, formed in 1989 and led by the guitarist Dylan Carlson. Earth's music is nearly all instrumental, and can be divided into two distinct stages. Their early work is characterized by distortion, droning, minimalism, and lengthy, repetitive song structures. The band's later output reduces the distortion while incorporating elements of country, jazz rock, and folk. Earth is recognized as a pioneer of drone metal, with the band's Earth 2 being regarded as a milestone of the genre.
Olympia is the capital of the U.S. state of Washington and the county seat of Thurston County. European settlers claimed the area in 1846, with the Treaty of Medicine Creek initiated in 1854, and the Treaty of Olympia initiated in January 1856.
Post-grunge is a rock music subgenre that emerged in the 1990s. Originally, the term was used almost pejoratively to label bands such as Bush, Candlebox and Collective Soul that emulated the original sound of grunge.
Nadja (Toronto), Locrian(US), Jesu (UK), Black Boned Angel (Wellington, New Zealand), Khanate (New York City), Ocean (Portland, Maine), Growing (New York City), KTL (Washington/London), Ascend and Eagle Twin (USA), Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine (Nottingham, England), Conan (Liverpool, England) and Moss (Southampton, England) are prominent drone metal groups that formed in the early 21st century. Noise musicians, such as Kevin Drumm and Oren Ambarchi, have also worked in the style. Rhys Chatham's Essentialist project is a contribution to drone metal by an elder composer, attempting to "arrive at an a priori essence of heavy metal, reducing it to a basic chord progression".
Nadja is a duo of Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff. Nadja began in 2003 as a solo project for Baker to explore the heavier/noisier side of his experimental/ambient music performed mainly on the electric guitar. In 2005 Buckareff joined in order to make the project more than just a studio endeavour and to allow Nadja to perform live.
Locrian is an experimental music/drone rock band which formed in Chicago, Illinois, United States in late 2005 and is currently based in Chicago and Baltimore, Maryland. The band features Terence Hannum, Steven Hess, and André Foisy. The group incorporates influences from multiple genres including ambient, black metal, noise, drone, industrial, and electronics, and cite One Eyed God Prophecy, Uranus, Yes, Genesis, Brian Eno, and Robert Fripp as influences. Locrian lyrics and artwork evoke dystopic and apocalyptic imagery. Over their ten-year history, Locrian have released six studio albums, three collaborative albums, and numerous limited edition releases.
Jesu is a British experimental band formed in 2003 by Justin Broadrick following the 2002 breakup of his band Godflesh. It is named after the last song on Hymns, the final album of Godflesh's initial run. Jesu's sound is heavily layered and textured, incorporating a diverse mix of influences. Broadrick himself has stated that "...it's very loosely speaking pop/rock/metal/electronica ... I'm intentionally writing what I consider to be coherent "pop" songs".
Avant-garde metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music loosely defined by use of experimentation and innovative, avant-garde elements, including non-standard and unconventional sounds, instruments, song structures, playing styles, and vocal techniques. Avant-garde metal is influenced by progressive rock and extreme metal, particularly death metal, and is closely related to progressive metal. Some local scenes include Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, and Seattle in the United States, Oslo in Norway, and Tokyo in Japan.
Southern Lord is an American heavy metal record label that was founded in 1998 by Greg Anderson. Initially, Southern Lord specialized in what could broadly be classified as experimental metal, particularly the slow-moving doom metal, stoner rock, and drone metal subgenres. Some of the more notable artists on the label include Baptists, Earth, Om, Goatsnake, Khanate, Obliterations, Pelican, Sleep and Sunn O))), among others. More recently, the label expanded its line-up to include artists from the black metal subgenre, including releases by Twilight, Wolves in the Throne Room, Xasthur, and Striborg. They have also released albums by hardcore punk and crust punk bands like Burning Love, Agrimonia, and Wolfbrigade.
Attila Csihar, also sometimes known as Void, is a Hungarian extreme metal vocalist, best known for his vocal work in Norwegian black metal band Mayhem and American drone-doom project Sunn O))). Author Ian Christe describes his vocals as "operatic."
Oren Ambarchi is an Australian musician. He is a multi-instrumentalist who plays mainly electric guitar and percussion.
Burning Witch was an American doom metal band from Seattle, Washington, active between 1995 and 1998. Aside from EPs and split releases, the band released a compilation album called Crippled Lucifer, which had songs of their early EPs.
Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine is an English drone doom supergroup, formed in 2001 with musicians from other metal bands.
Boris is a Japanese experimental band formed in 1992 in Tokyo and composed of drummer Atsuo Mizuno, guitarist/bassist Takeshi Ohtani and guitarist/keyboardist Wata. All three members participate in vocal performance. The band is named after a song of the same name on the Melvins' 1991 album Bullhead. Their debut album Absolutego was released in 1996 on their own record label Fangs Anal Satan, followed by 24 more studio albums on various labels around the world.
Black One is the fifth album by Sunn O))). It is a combination of both experimental and traditional Sunn O))), utilizing many guest musicians, including black metal musicians Malefic and Wrest from Xasthur and Leviathan, respectively. The band supposedly also went so far as to lock the claustrophobic Malefic in a casket to record the vocals on "Báthory Erzsébet".
Dronevil is the eighth studio album by the Japanese experimental band Boris. It is a double album: the first LP, Drone, showcases a more ambient sound, while the second LP, Evil, is and showcases a heavy guitar-oriented doom metal sound. Though the two sides can be heard separately, the original intention is for both to be played simultaneously.
Sun Baked Snow Cave is a collaborative album between Japanese experimental doom band Boris and Japanese noise musician Merzbow. The album consists of a single track that clocks in at over an hour in length. The album artwork was done by Sunn O))) member and regular Hydra Head designer Stephen O'Malley.
Greg Anderson is an American musician, a co-founder of Southern Lord Records. He is the guitarist of stoner doom band Goatsnake, but is also well known for his collaborations with Stephen O'Malley.
Altar is a collaboration album between experimental music groups Boris and Sunn O))), released on October 31, 2006 through Southern Lord Records (SUNN62). A limited two-CD edition was released on October 23 via Southern Lord with a 28-minute bonus track with Sunn O))), Boris, and Dylan Carlson, titled "Her Lips Were Wet with Venom". Inoxia Records released their own two-CD version in 2006 which features a bonus track on the first disc, "The Sinking Belle ", and also features "Her Lips Were Wet with Venom" on disc 2. The triple-vinyl edition by Southern Lord contains all of the songs from their two-CD edition, additional pictures, and liner notes by Kim Thayil. The Daymare 3LP version was released March 23, 2007 and features a bonus track not found on any other version of this release: "The Sinking Belle ".
Burial Chamber Trio is a drone metal band consisting of American guitarist/bassist Greg Anderson, Hungarian vocalist Attila Csihar and Australian multi-instrumentalist Oren Ambarchi. These three musicians are also performing with Sunn O))).
Seldon Hunt (born 1969, in Melbourne and migrated to New York in 2006, is an artist best known for his photography and his graphic artwork for rock musicians.
Mamiffer is an American band based in Seattle, Washington. It started out as a solo project for former Pyramids and Everlovely Lightningheart member Faith Coloccia that later saw several session musicians and collaborators, most consistently Aaron Turner of Isis fame and who would later become Coloccia's husband. Turner and Coloccia also perform in House of Low Culture together. Mamiffer has released several albums, splits and collaborations through various record labels, most prominently through Turner's now-defunct Hydra Head Records and Turner and Coloccia's own SIGE Records. The band is known for its collaborations, including albums recorded with Locrian, Circle and Daniel Menche; and working with session/guest artists from bands including members of These Arms Are Snakes, Helms Alee, Sunn O))) and Wolves in the Throne Room.
Return to Annihilation is an album from the drone rock band Locrian. It was released on June 25, 2013 through Relapse Records.