Mizmor‘s stunning new album, Wit’s End, is out tomorrow on Gilead Media: the record is a massive statement of droning, blackened, doomy death intent, led by sole member A.L.N. To help try to make sense of all the despair, we caught up with the man to find out what five heavy albums changed his life; read on to find out what extreme doom platters—and one very unexpected curveball—A.L.N. chose.
Burning Witch – Crippled Lucifer (1998)
To this day, though incepted in the ’90s, no band is heavier and eviler sounding than Burning Witch. I remember the first time I heard them. I was at the Burial Grounds (Salem, OR) with Paul Riedl and Kyle Watson and they put on “History of Hell.” I was immediately lured in and repulsed simultaneously. To my dwindling Christian guilt it felt wrong, but I had to hear more. The greatest doom band of all time.
Wolves in the Throne Room – Two Hunters (2007)
This was my gateway into black metal and I am still blown away by this record. On Two Hunters, WIITR masterfully walks the line of sad/intense and pretty/inspiring, which is what I look for in black metal. Too far in either direction and I fall off. I love the grandiose narrative of this long-form album and how the melancholic melodies keep the listener from soaring too high.
Hell – I (2009)
MSW really changed the doom game with his debut Hell record. Though we both sought to push the bounds of heavy as our old band Sorceress was falling apart, MSW perfectly epitomized the low, slow sonic level I was itching to hear. Getting to do vocals on half the songs on this record was such a privilege; I really feel we made an album that sounds like wandering the landscapes of Hell itself. I am forever inspired by his songwriting and musicianship.
Thou – Peasant (2008)
Thou was the first band I ever heard that clothed the unrelenting brutality of sludge-doom with the sad, pretty chords of black metal. Instead of power chords and pentatonic riffing, they give you the nuance and emotion of dissonance and suffering. This gave me a glimpse of how to blend my two favorite sub-genres in a tasteful way.
Enya – Amarantine (2005)
I like metal because it’s sad. At the end of the day, that’s what is really happening for me: I like sad music. Be it metal, rock, blues, reggae, classical, ambient, whatever: if it’s sad, it resonates with me. Enya was an early example of this in my life. To me, her music sounds like giving something up; there’s a bittersweetness to it reminiscent of love and loss. It is somber and contemplative and as a kid I sought to make music like that (and still do).