15 best atmospheric sludge metal bands

I’m not an expert in the sludge metal genre, but the subgenre of atmospheric sludge metal is a whole other story. The atmospheric subgenre takes the violent sludge sound in atmospheric, dynamic direction, often influenced by post rock and post metal. I like quite a few bands in the genre despite that some of them tend to sound the same. The influence from the first three bands I’m listing is strong, but there are still many other atmospheric sludge metal bands that are worth checking out.

The three mandatory atmospheric sludge metal bands

Cult of Luna

Origin: Sweden
Recommended album: “Salvation” (2004)

Swedish sludge metal band Cult of Luna has a long row of quality albums. My favorite is probably 2004’s “Salvation”, but you can’t really go wrong with any album. They are slightly more extreme than the other two mandatory bands. This is something I like about Cult of Luna; when they go heavy, it can really be absolutely crushing.

Cult of Luna official website ->
Cult of Luna on Facebook ->


ISIS

Origin: United States
Recommended album: “Panopticon” (2004)

Unlucky name assocations aside, ISIS was a fantastic band. “Panopticon” is the first album many atmospheric sludge metal fans name as an intro the genre. It’s well-deserved, because it really is a very good album. Actually, it’s even my favorite from the music genre. It carries a very cool post metal feel, while also going heavy and dynamic when needed. Extremely cool flow and rhythm section work.


Neurosis

Origin: United States
Recommended album: “A Sun that Never Sets” (2001)

Neurosis is a long-running band with an impressive discography, ranging from violent hardcore to post rock goodness. Dynamics and plenty of genuine emotion is always present in their music. You can’t really go wrong with them and they are absolutely mandatory.

Neurosis official website ->
Neurosis on Facebook ->

12 other good atmospheric sludge metal bands

A Storm of Light

Origin: United States
Recommended album: “As the Valley of Death Becomes Us Our Silver Memories Fade” (2011)

U.S. sludge band with a solid atmospheric clean vocal side. I haven’t listened to them that much overall, but the song “Collapse” really kicks ass.

Official A Storm of Light website ->


Amenra

Origin: Belgium
Recommended album: “Mass VI” (2017)

Amenra’s willingness to go for violent dynamics reminds me of Cult of Luna. It’s far from a carbon copy though, and the band has enough songwriting skills and atmosphere to stand on their own.

Amenra on Facebook ->


Callisto

Origin: Finland
Recommended album: “True Nature Unfolds” (2004)

Treading the line between atmospheric sludge and post metal, Finland’s Callisto released some cool material in the early 2000’s. I haven’t really followed the bands newer output. 2004’s “True Nature Unfolds” is certainly worth checking out.

Callisto on Facebook ->


Downfall of Gaia

Origin: Germany
Recommended album: “Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes” (2012)

These Germans are not afraid to go extreme and blast away. At the same time, the music is impressively atmospheric.

Downfall of Gaia on Facebook ->


Eyes of Fire

Origin: United States
Recommended album: “Ashes to Embers” (2004)

Contemporary atmospheric sludge metal with quite a peculiar sound. The songs are short and angsty and carry everything from numetal influences to nods from newer Anathema.


Ghost Brigade

Origin: Finland
Recommended album: “Guided by Fire” (2007)

Another contemporary take on sludge metal. Ghost Brigade mixes the sludge tendencies with melodic death metal, death/doom metal and other influences, creating a really appealing sound. Sadly, the band went on a likely permanent hiatus after four quality albums.

Junius – a different type of sludge band

Junius might be a bit too post rock and light to be considered an atmospheric sludge band, but the influences are certainly there. This is a band worth checking out, especially if you like the melancholic side of sludge. Junius is somewhere between sludge, doom, post rock, Katatonia and Deftones – blending plenty of my favorite styles into one attractive sound.

My review of “Reports from the Threshold of Death” ->

Kongh

Origin: Sweden
Recommended album: “Sole Creation” (2013)

The big gorilla on the “Sole Creation” album cover is fitting. Much of the album really sounds like a big brute walking around. Very heavy and also atmospheric with plenty of more traditional sludge metal in there as well.

Kongh on Facebook ->


Minsk

Origin: United States
Recommended album: “The Ritual Fires of Abandonment” (2007)

One of those bands that are always mentioned when discussing music that sounds like Neurosis. And why not? It’s quality atmospheric sludge metal.

Minsk on Facebook ->


Old Man Gloom

Origin: United States
Recommended album: “Christmas” (2004)

This ISIS-related side project has a lot of weird experimental stuff going on. It also has the song “Gift”, which is one of my favorite atmospheric sludge songs ever.

Soliloquium – progressive doom metal from Sweden

My band Soliloquium plays an eclectic style of doom metal that some fans of sludge might enjoy. It’s based in death/doom metal, but also incorporates melodic death metal, blackgaze, shoegaze, post rock and plenty of other influences. If you’re interested, please check out the tune “Catharsis” from the 2018 album “Contemplations” below!

More Soliloquium music on Bandcamp ->

Rosetta

Origin: United States
Recommended album: “Wake/Lift” (2007)

I’m not that into Rosetta, but the band’s long row of solid albums still make them an atmospheric sludge essential. Incorporates some cool post rock buildups and dynamics in their music.

Rosetta on Facebook ->


The Moth Gatherer

Origin: Sweden
Recommended album: “The Earth is the Sky” (2015)

Very underrated band from Sweden with a solid Cult of Luna influence. It ticks most boxes for me, being heavy and atmospheric as well as original enough.


The Ocean

Origin: Germany
Recommended album: “Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic” (2018)

Very good songwriters that know how to play noisy sludge just as well as tender melodies. The 2018 album drew me in, especially considering that the singer from my favorite band Katatonia appears on the track “Devonian: Nascent”.

The Ocean on Facebook ->


Soliloquium Swedish doom metal on Bandcamp

Read more:

Doom metal genre guide ->
10 essential death/doom metal albums ->
50 best melodic death metal bands ->
Soliloquium, Swedish doom metal ->


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