Various Artists – Doom Mix Vol. IV

6.22.20 by Ryan Masteller

Isn’t it usually around the time of the fourth installment that franchises start to see a dip in quality? “Indiana Jones,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Halloween,” the Pearl Jam discography – nothing good lasts. Yet here we are, four years into the annual “Doom Mix” series from LA vampires Doom Trip Records, who, like clockwork, are celebrating the annual occurrence with a fourth cassette tape of the best the label has to offer. If you ask me, I’d say they’re playing with (gun)fire, spinning the chamber of their revolver in the Russian roulette game of quality musicianship, placing the barrel against their temple, and pulling the trigger.

I’m as terrified as you are.

But I’m also wildly intrigued, because the first three installments never suggested that quality would EVER be a problem, and, thus, the trigger clicks harmlessly and everybody goes back to what they were doing for another year. And here’s the real secret: there were never any bullets in the gun in the first place! It’s all quality, all the time for these Doom Trippers, and now that we’ve got that all out of the way it’s time to celebrate with sixteen more tracks of “freaking awesome.”

And they pretty much started this the way I would have started it if they had asked me my opinion on the tracklist. “Well, Doom Trip, I know this is a big ask, and I feel silly for even suggesting it, but is there any way you could start it with some Fire-Toolz? Angel Marcloid’s a pretty big deal right now, so that would be a guaranteed entry point for the uninitiated. Me? I’d be all over it. Then follow that up with some NMESH. (I know, right? Dreaming!)” 

So “Doom Trip IV” starts off with some new Fire-Toolz and some new NMESH, just like nobody asked me but should’ve. So I can’t stay mad at Doom Trip, because, in the end, I got my way, and isn’t that just how it should be? “Volume IV” keeps rolling with new faces and old, but all of them welcome presences among themselves. Want the alums? You’ve got Pale Spring (watch out for “DUSK,” super soon!), Mukqs, Diamondstein and Sangam, Rangers, and Heejin Jang. Dntel’s up in here, Tamborello in the house! (Sorry.) Personal faves of mine Ki Oni and KWJAZ show up. N00bs include Infinity Knives (ft. Bobbi Rush and Tyler Moonlight), maral ft. A.B.E., Cruel Diagonals, Lighght, Nordra, and Pauline Lay. 

So as usual, come for what you expect and get blown away by somebody you’ve never heard before. (Plus the Mukqs track here is kinda techno-y, which is awesome.)

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, did we break the curse of the fourth installment with “Doom Trip IV”? I think the answer is a resounding yes. Plus this tape’s dropping just in time for the summer, if you wanna blast it out your car stereo. (Which would be weird, I think, given the subdued nature of some of these tracks. Not that you’re going anywhere anyway with the COVID, unless you’re in Tennessee or Georgia or some other place where nobody cares whether people live or die.)

Good luck conjuring this already-sold-out nugget from the label! Use your dark magic on Discogs instead, or the black market.

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