The clue's in the name: we here at Louder are particularly partial to bands who have no fear in turning things up as far as they can go and taking their sounds to extremes. So, when the time came to compile the quintessential list of the world's most bone-shaking bands, we knew exactly where to turn. Enter "anti-riff" doom mongers Morag Tong, whose brutal wall of sound sprawl takes its cues from everyone from Sunn O))) and Sleep to Pink Floyd and My Bloody Valentine.
To celebrate the announcement of their debut album, Last Knell Of Om, due on May 18, the band join us to guide us through the loudest bands to ever have graced our planet. Be sure to check out brand new track We Answer at the bottom of the page.
10. Electric Wizard
Lewis (guitar): "There’s not much to be said about this band that hasn’t been done to death already, but nothing will ever change the fact that Dopethrone redefined stoner doom. I’ve listened to that record countless times and never skipped a track. Their live show is still unbelievably loud, with monstrous low end tones and a rib-shaking fuzz sound, the larger venues in recent years making it ever more intense."
Adam (drums, vocals): "I saw Monolithian opening Temples festival a few years ago, and as soon as they started I knew it was going to be a good weekend. I couldn't believe the amount of power and aggression coming out of two people, their sound absolutely rumbled my guts and I had the phrase ‘kill yourself in a sea of trees, far out so no one will find you’ stuck in my head for a month afterwards. Dark."
Lewis: "If Eric Clapton had a love affair with a family of airhorns, the result would be Kadavar. Their sound is classic as it comes, and to get that rich, saturated sound out of those ancient amplifiers you need to crank them as loud as they’ll go, all the time. They are fucking deafening. It’s lovely."
7) Cannibal Corpse
James (bass): "A bit of a different choice compared to most of the others here, but Cannibal Corpse haven’t been a death metal mainstay for the last 30 years without playing pounding live shows the whole way. The intensely technical riffs, crushed guitar tones and tight kick drum sound pushed to the limit of the venue’s PA made seeing them as a teenager equal parts awe and actual fear."
Adam: "Few bands manage to combine heavy, crushing distortion with beautiful soundscapes in the same way Nadja do. I'm a fan of all their music, from the fuzzed-up, droning, hour long beauty of Thaumogenesis to their new album of acoustic versions, Stripped. To really hear Nadja’s incredible wall of sound heaviness, listen to When I See The Sun Always Shines On TV, an album of covers from the likes of The Cure, Slayer and A-ha. If you can take already great and varied songs and cover them in an original, heavy and overwhelming pretty way, you've done something special."
Lewis: "There aren’t many that come close to such an overwhelmingly dense sound, and hearing Cough’s chest-warbling dulcet tones through a criminally oversized PA made a huge impact on me. It’s slow, riffy doom like a lot of what’s out there right now, but with a thickness that absolutely swamps you when it gets to gig volume."
Alex (guitar): "You know what you’re getting into when a band have an album called Amplifier Worship. I have an unhealthy love for everything this band do, that sound of old Roland Space Echo units fed through vintage tube amps just really does it for me. Boris’ combination of ambience and crushing heaviness is something that’s best experienced at maximum volume and they know it, the amount of air moved around by those amp stacks makes their live shows as much about the physical feel as they are about the sound."
Adam: "Earth are an obvious choice. Pioneers of drone, they've influenced pretty much every heavy, slow band on the scene. I love that their old stuff can be so crushing, low and bleak, making it hard to pick out notes in the squalls of feedback. Conversely, the newer Earth sound is a beautiful, jazzy and sometimes even uplifting loudness. Still slow as hell though. Seeing them live is intense."
2) Napalm Death
Alex: "Not that this band needs any explanation, but their importance in the history of heavy music can’t be understated. It’s loud, it’s aggressive and I want it in my ears. They were supposed to play a show at the V&A a few years ago that was meant to destroy the PA speakers, but it was called off over concerns of structural damage. Any band that has their gig cancelled for fear of bringing the building down deserves a place on this list."
1) Sunn O)))
James: "I was able to see their show at the Barbican in London recently and it was by far the loudest performance I’ve ever experienced, I was genuinely shaken and slightly nauseated when it was over. It was more theatre than your typical gig, the wall of sound being a totally enveloping presence for the entire hour and a half. They publish all their stage setups online so have a look and the insane backline if you need any convincing that a band with no drummer and no distortion pedals can be the loudest thing on earth."
Morag Tong's debut album, Last Knell Of Om, will be released on May 18. You can check out a brand new track from the album below: