Various Artists

Doom Capital: Maryland DC Heavy Rock Underground

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If a local music scene is truly hot, it can have an impact internationally. Detroit soul in the '60s, London punk in the late '70s, Prince's Minneapolis school of funk-rock in the '80s, Seattle grunge in the early '90s -- all of those local scenes ended up becoming influential in more than one country. But some local scenes remain a local secret, and that has pretty much been the case with the doom metal/stoner rock scene of Washington, D.C., and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs. Some well-known doom and stoner bands have come out of that area -- Spirit Caravan, for example -- but even so, the scene hasn't received a great deal of national or international acclaim. Assembled by Crucial Blast Records in 2004, Doom Capital: The Maryland/DC Heavy Rock Underground sheds some light on the scene and does so with interesting, if slightly uneven, results. Exactly when D.C.'s doom/stoner scene got started is open to debate; this compilation's informative liner notes assert that it began in the early '70s with a Black Sabbath-influenced outfit called Pentagram. Doom Capital, however, doesn't contain anything from the '70s; most of the bands on this CD were formed in the '90s or early 2000s -- and that is true of Countershaft and Black Manta as well as Carrion, Earthride, Life Beyond, King Valley, and Los Tres Pesados. All of the bands on Doom Capital have some type of Sabbath influence, which is almost obligatory in the doom/stoner/sludge field; other influences on these D.C.-area headbangers can range from Blue Cheer to Queens of the Stone Age. Not everything on Doom Capital is fantastic, but most of the material is at least decent -- and when this 65-minute disc has finished playing, one ends up with a generally favorable impression of the doom/stoner scene in and around the U.S. capital.

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