Muscle & Marrow, 2016
The first time I read the term 'doom folk', I needed to know more. No other genre's in need of a shot in the arm more than folk. While folk has continued to produce top caliber artists in various degrees of purity, it's entirely too predictable. Folk never challenges you. It's almost yacht rock at this point: beautiful but toothless (and just as prone to misguided grooming habits). Perfectly suited for 70s AM radio.
Wedding folk to sludge metal is genius, not the least because it probably fails to connect with fans from either camp. The distance between these diametric styles is a chasm, leaving little reference for how Muscle & Marrow should navigate in any given moment. Charting their way, they've created a record of powerful extremes. Songs that whisper can easily lean into a squall. Moments of austere beauty are interrupted by waves distortion. They'll invert everything, letting a guitar chime while the organ leads a threatening advance. Through it all, they manage to capture and maintain an oppressively confessional mood, aptly befitting the title: doom folk.