Doom - Total Doom
Peaceville Records
Crust Punk
37 songs (1:08:25)
Release year: 1989
Peaceville Records
Reviewed by Kyle
Archive review

Crust punk is a genre that I’m truly surprised many metal fans don’t associate themselves with; one could say crust is the genre that is most stylistically similar to metal with its harsh vocals, dark chord progressions, and thrashing drum style. After all, crust is essentially a combination of the hardcore punk attitude and the aggressive tendencies of metal. So, to bring more attention to this highly underrated genre, I bring to you a review of one of the most essential and worthwhile albums of the genre: Total Doom, from the early U.K. crust outfit Doom. This is actually a combination of three albums (though most reviews and descriptions online would lead you to believe that it’s only two): The Police Bastard EP, Doom’s side of the Doom / No Security split LP Bury the Debt, Not the Dead, and the War Crimes full length LP. Together, these total into a 37 track compilation album that, at over an hour in length, is a value that no crust fan can go wrong with, and that remarkably doesn’t grow old quickly, even when you take into consideration that all these songs are very simple and similar to one another.

Before I begin talking about the album itself, I’ll give a brief outline of Doom’s sound: Take a hardcore punk band, like Discharge, and throw in some drunken, guttural vocals, a distorted bass, and a death metal edge, and you have Doom in a nutshell. This music sure as hell isn’t pretty, but boy is it intense, and it’s highly likely that metal fans would enjoy it more than punk fans would. Total Doom begins with the Police Bastard EP, and despite it being the shortest album here, is still my favorite of the three; there’s a reason for it being the second-best selling crust EP of all time behind Aus Rotten’s Fuck Nazi Sympathy. Not only does it have the best sound quality, but it is also is the most diverse, with the quick thrash / death attack of Diseased and the cacophony of grindcore precursor Circles. But Means to an End is THE highlight of Police Bastard, and quite possibly my favorite Doom track ever. With its slow, ominous start that gradually increases speed, its fast-paced middle section with clean-spoken vocals (they’re not exactly sung), and a driving outro that returns to the original riff with added classic punk chanting, it’s not only one of the longest songs Doom has recorded, but also one of the most diverse.

After six songs, Total Doom moves on to the Bury the Debt, Not the Dead split LP, which boasts a slightly inferior production, but is still very solid overall. If you’re looking for straightforward speed and adrenaline, than this part of the album is for you. Nearly every song opts for a double-time drumming style, and tracks like the extremely-short-yet-blisteringly-quick Life in Freedom should be enough to make even the purist of thrash fanatics crack a smile of approval. After the ten tracks that make up this section of the album have passed by, a noticeable shift for the raw occurs as the War Crimes LP arrives, taking up over half of the disc with its 21 song tracklist. While both Police Bastard and Bury the Debt… were recorded in ’89, War Crimes was recorded a year earlier, and it certainly shows. The songs here are wholly inferior to the 16 that came before, both in songwriting, which isn’t nearly as tight or diverse, and in the production, which sounds about as clear as your standard black metal demo. There are no real standout songs here; only bare-bones crust punk, and a lot of it. Is War Crimes a worthwhile listen? If you enjoy the rest of the disc as much as I did, then that’s an absolute yes. The slower, sloppier songs actually lend the album a bit of unexpected variety, but if poor production isn’t your thing, then you may want to steer clear of Total Doom.

Despite the raw sound and occasional monotony (and really, doesn’t the entire crust genre suffer from this?), Total Doom is an essential collection for both devoted Doom fans and crust punk newbies. If you buy it, you’ll not only have a great collection of songs, but also a nice, collectible digipak to hold them in, complete with a brief history of the band printed on one of the fold-out panels. It’s not only an amazing value, but also a perfect starting point for anyone interested in crust and its infamous history.

Killing Songs :
All are similar, but all are great.
Kyle quoted no quote
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:02 am
View and Post comments