"I can't even play the songs I'm writing": Introducing Camel Of Doom

Camel Of Doom in a psychedelic field
The drugs are kicking in\u2026 do not adjust your mindset

Booming and dooming out of Shipley, West Yorkshire, Camel Of Doom may sound like they’re named after a shit Power Rangers baddie, but they are packing riffs big and brutal enough to level a Megazord. What’s even more amazing about these UK crushers, whose clobbering, psych-laden noise recalls everything from Godflesh and Neurosis to Ufomammut and Yob, is that their impressive racket is all the brainchild of one man – former Esoteric member Kris Clayton, who has helmed this ship since he was just 13 years old.

“This band has mostly operated as just me!” he laughs. “Ben Nield joined us on drums last year, but I’ve actually known him a very long time. He’s from the same town, but he’s older than me and he’s pointed me in the direction of lots of bands that ended up shaping the later sound of Camel Of Doom, which is cool.”

As Kris explains, his motivation to keep Camel Of Doom going over the years has come from his experience within an aesthetically different and yet ethically similar music scene. “I used to live in Stoke-On-Trent, and the venue I worked at was very DIY, and full of lefty punky types,” he explains. “I was very influenced by that in the way I approached things.”

While drummer Ben mainly hails from Manchester now – “That might explain why we get a much better reception there!” – Camel Of Doom have been making waves in the underground right across the UK, and fourth album Terrestrial – recently reissued after an initial run as a limited release – is absolutely filled with the kind of rumbling low-end and ambient soundscapes that should unite fans of bands as varied as Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. In fact, even Kris has trouble trying to work out exactly where the band fit.

“I usually describe us as ‘psychedelic progressive doom’ these days,” he chuckles. “We’re influenced by Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, Neurosis, Esoteric, Black Sabbath, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Meshuggah, Rush… we’ve always been psychedelic and doomy to varying degrees but the proggier elements have increased with each release, and continue to do so to this day. The new stuff I am writing is so prog I can’t even play half of it yet!”

While the nature of Camel Of Doom’s music means they’re never going to be headlining arenas, Kris has his ambitions for the band pretty set.

“It’d be nice to be recognised to the point whereby mentioning the name resulted in, ‘Oh yeah, good band!’ rather than, ‘What a stupid name!’ Other than that, I am, and always have been writing music for myself to enjoy. Anything on top of that is a bonus, really!”

TERRESTRIAL IS OUT NOW VIA SOLITUDE.