You are about to experience one of the strangest meetings ever convened — a joining of […] the most unusual people on Earth! Sit quietly in the shadows of this clandestine conference and observe it well! For from it shall soon be born … The DOOM PATROL (Arnold Drake)
Welcome to Doom Charts, representing some of the finest bloggers, radio and podcasters and album reviewers from the doom-stoner underground around the globe. Each month, our critics submit their picks for the best new doom-sludge metal and stoner-psychedelic rock albums. The results are compiled and tabulated into the chart below. This is a one-stop shop for the best new albums in the world.
- WHITE DWARF – ‘ISM Demo’
Swedish fuzz rock, like sex, defies the law of diminishing returns. My Scandinavian friends tell me that Swedish babies are born with guitars in their hands (Those poor Swedish mothers). Swedish babies don’t have umbilical cords, they have patch chords. The Swedish curriculum consists of the three R’s: reading, writing and rocking out. Anyways, the discovery of this White Dwarf in the northern climes of the planet Earth was a pleasant surprise and totally won’t destroy us all. GET IT
- SHEPHERD – ‘Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’
“Shepherd’s release is one of the best debut albums of 2015. It’s already gaining some major buzz within the Sludge/Stoner Metal world. What’s not to love about it? ‘Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’ plays out like a weird and wonderful hybrid of Noise, Grunge, Stoner, Doom and Sludge Metal riffs. Shepherd feel they were brought up in the legendary Seattle Grunge scene instead of coming from India. From the opening seconds of Snake Pit you know you’re in for a heavy and wild time. Shepherd has combined classic Melvins style humour with hard-hitting riffs. They’ve released a stunning debut that plays out like a warning shot to the doom-stoner world that a truly great band has arrived. Start looking over your shoulders as Shepherd is coming for you all.” GET IT– Steve Howe (The Sludgelord)
- SATURNDUST – s/t
“Brazilian band Saturndust first captured my attention a year ago with the St Vitus like tones on the Sons of Water EP, and I realised then that the band was a bit special. The album Saturndust has confirmed what I originally thought. Aided by crystal clear production,each track leaves you both crushed and mesmerised. A stoner/doom masterpiece.” GET IT– Steve Woodier (Pull The Legs Off The Spider, Tear The Wings Off The Fly)
- BATHSHEBA – ‘The Sleepless Gods 10” EP’
This is how I like my doom, slow and sweaty. When I listen to doom I want to be reminded of the inevitable futility of all human pursuit, to be crushed under the weight of the purposeless of it all. This double sided EP (from Svart Records) is my de-motivational music. GET IT
- ABRAHMA – ‘Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird’
The “de facto torchbearers for the French heavy underground scene,” Abrahma is keeping Small Stone Records at the forefront of the worldwide heavy movement during what has been trying times. Psychedelic nearly to a fault and uncompromisingly idiosyncratic, Abrahma is here to blow minds, then read the brain splatter like tea leaves, presumably to divine the future so that they can go ahead and define it once again. GET IT
- WEEDPECKER – ‘II’
After their widely loved debut album back in 2013, the Polish guys in Weedpecker are back with their aptly titled sophomore album ‘II”. It’s more of their same psyched out stoner rock, just with the band having a couple more years of experience under their belt. Mixing expansive soundscape sections with massive fuzz riffs that come out of nowhere and overpower everything else that was going on. It’s like dropping an acid bomb on a peaceful woodland meadow when some of these riffs fall into the mix, I’m not talking the Alien blood sort of acid either. The melodic and often reverb saturated vocals don’t do anything but emphasize the psychedelic vibe at times, even lending a darker atmosphere to some tracks like “The Vibe”. All in all, it’s a damn fine second album, a place where some bands do not fare so well. GET IT – Dermie Skipper (Ride With the Devil)
- HYPERWÜLFF – ‘Volume 1: Erion Speaks’
Hyperwülff’s Volume One: Erion Speaks is a captivating debut album, distorted guitar layers and scorching percussions give birth to 8 magnetic tracks concentrated with a savage flavour in which 2 wolves sink you among obscure and foggy star battles. GET IT – Mari Knox Knox (Doomabbestia)
- WEEDEATER – ‘Goliathan’
The new record Goliathan is as heavy as they come and as sluggish and methodical as we have come to love. And with the southern or Dixie touches they bring to the backyard barbecue there is a little bit of smoky air between those bayou sounds as well. Smoky air, Weedeater, Hehe. GET IT–Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
- ELDER – ‘Lore’
The Massachusetts trio hits us with swirling stoner metal, touched by holy psychedelics and brushed off with some sludge that all seem to shimmer and shine like pure gold. It is progressive and it is fuzz. But perhaps even more importantly, the album is one entire long tension arc that makes you forget all about time and place. Epic!” GET IT–Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
- UFOMAMMUT – ‘Ecate’
Ecate, or Hecate is the title of the 7th studio record of the legendary Italian psychedelic-doom band. Anyone who has delved into mythologies and ancient religions knows that Hecate is the goddess of magic, theurgy, necromancy, and apparitions. She is the goddess of crossroads, thresholds, and transitions – the guard of the gates between worlds. Not only that, but Hecate even connects the past, present, and future. A more appropriate name could not be offered for this record. Ufomammut connects on this 46-minute record all aspects from the last 16 years of their musical career from Godlike Snake (2000) to the Oro (2012) records.” GET IT–Doombeard (DoomBeardZine)
- UNDERSMILE – ‘Anhedonia’
Undersmile masters both the alluring and the melancholic vocalities that bring you to a whirling black abyss like hypnotic sirens chants, riding contemplative riffs and atmospheric yet metal tonalities. GET IT – Mari Knox Knox (Doomabbestia)
- DEMON EYE – ‘Tempora Infernalia’
From the very first track on Demon Eye’s sophomore record, you know you’re in for something out of the ordinary. Beautifully recorded, Pentagram and Deep Purple-influenced, up-tempo retro occult, doom, and heavy metal! Enough adjectives for ya? Well, the Raleigh, North Carolina trio live up to each and every one of them. We’ll be talking about this album well into the year. GET IT– Billy Goate (Doomed & Stoned)
- SATURNALIA TEMPLE – ‘To The Other’
The Upsalla band describes their latest ritual offering this way: “A dark Swedish forest at night, while out of the body.” Couldn’t have said it better. GET IT
- HORSE LUNG – ‘Gethsemane Haze’
After the warning shot of their demo in 2014, Horse Lung from Canada return with their first full length album called “Gethsemane Haze”. This means that for the next 53 minutes from the moment you’ll press the “play” button, your speakers will be filled with massive stoner doom tunes and your neighbors will admire the low end of your stereo. Here Horse Lung refined their demo material and added two more tracks. The result is a killer instrumental album that you will appreciate from the very first note. The guitar tone is fuzzed out as it should be, and the riffs are mainly laid back pentatonic monoliths, that would make Sleep proud of their Canadian sons. There will be no surprise if “Gethsemane Haze” appears in a lot of top 10 lists by the end of 2015. GET IT – Vasilis Durden (All the Heavy Lifting)
- GRUSOM – s/t
Blues rock sparks, vintage stoner nuances and psychedelic rock magic are all combined into a wondrous heavy blues feast by the very promising band namedGrusom. Their self titled debut full length due out next July by Kozmik Artifactz abounts with heavy rock honesty and it graciously grants us powerful moments of psych-blues and retro rock bliss. Astonishing. GET IT. – Phantasmagoria (Phantasmagoria)
- BRUME – ‘Donkey’
Brume’s sound is to doom what fart jokes are to comedy: a classic, a guaranteed crowd pleaser. This is not a put down. Some of the more high-minded connoisseurs out there might be “so over it,” but for those with a sense of tumor it will never get old. Tumor, get it … GET IT.
- MONOLORD – ‘Vænir’
They climb higher this month even though the competition is fierce. With their second album Vænir, the Swedish trio Monolord continue that doom trek through the meandering psychedelic landscape. Packing multiple punches in their grimy and extremely thick grooves they aim to crush all opposition this time around. With their very own majestic rhythms they stomp on the terra, not aiming to leave an wavering imprint, but to make lasting impression on all that stand before them. And surely one can argue that everyone can pound and destroy with overtones of distortion and bass; but what if we declare that the soundscapes provided by that spaced out guitar are the heaviest of all? GET IT– Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
- CAVE OF SWIMMERS – ‘Reflection’
This power duo will no doubt pummel your mind with its eclectic reflection of opera-esque vocals, proggy weirdness and straight up monster riffs. Sounds a lot bigger than just two dudes originally from Venezuela. Or does it? GET IT– Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect)
- VALKYRIE – ‘Shadows’
Valkyrie return from a 7 year absence with their latest album – Shadows – and what an album to come back with. Okay, so they may have released a split single with Earthling back in 2012, but it’s ‘Shadows’ which cements their return to the Doom/Heavy Rock world.
‘Shadows’ offers the classic twin guitar sound that Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden perfected, but gives the twin guitar sound a more refined Doom/Stoner Metal makeover. If you dig Baroness, Thin Lizzy and The Sword then Valkyrie should satisfy the massive hunger you have for epic riffs as the album is full of them. This is another contender for album of the year for me.
Even though the riffs are fantastic, it’s the lyrics and vocals that make this album as you can’t but help singing along. I was blown away on first listen and it still excites me every time I listen to it. Standout tracks – Golden Age, Temple and Shadow Of Reality make this a must have album. Sure the album pays homage to their musical heroes a little too close at times but Valkyrie are a fucking brilliant band in their own right. This album is a future classic in my eyes in the years to come. GET IT – Steve Howe (The Sludgelord)
- LIBIDO FUZZ – ‘Kaleido Lumo Age’
This is what I want from my psychedelic rock. If you’re going to be psychedelic, be psychedelic all the way. These guys wear the busy shirts and do the whole thing. No half measures here. This is music to freak out by. GET IT.
- ACID KING – ‘Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere’
“Acid King return with the comeback album of the year.Middle Of Nowhere, Centre of Everywheresees the band more moodier and focused than ever before. From the opening space rock driven riffs of Intro you know Acid King are here to unleash 10 years’ worth of heavy Stoner greatness upon us. Wait until Lori sings. Wow. Majestic as ever. This album is the real deal. Embrace the riffs. Embrace the legend of Acid King before Outro sadly ends this heavy as hell trip.” GET IT – Steve Howe (The Sludgelord)
- ARENNA – ‘Given to Emptiness’
The first time I listened to Given to Emptiness by Spanish five piece Arenna it was on headphones at work, it passed me by without much thought or engagement. A week later I gave it another listen and immediately followed it with a third and fourth run through. It’s not that the album is a ‘grower’ but more that it can be listened to on multiple levels – at work, fangin’ down the highway or stoned on the couch. It doesn’t demand attention but has plenty of complexity if you listen for it. Arenna’s previous album Beats of Olarizu precedes Emptiness by four years and shows up the progression in the band’s sound, writing and production. In Emptiness they have rolled back the bottom end and the overall heaviness in favour of a more accessible tone which suits the intricately structured songs. The opening track Butes draws similarities to Truckfighters whilst Chroma aligns with Colour Haze and neither influence is proflligate or dissolute. Drums For Sitting Bull is the highlight of the album and marks a distinct alt-grunge sound akin to Screaming Trees that weaves its way among all of the tracks. GET IT – Cam (Motherslug)
- THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX – ‘Gravitron’
If I can get personal for a minute here, this is been one of my favorite albums of the year. Make that of the past three years. There’s no fucking around on this record, it’s just rock n roll at a steady clip with big hooks that stick. Leave it to the veterans to show the world how it’s done. GET IT.
- GOATSNAKE – ‘Black Age Blues’
If you’ve been around the stoner and doom thing and paying attention for a while then you were probably expecting big things from this record and Goatsnake delivers absolutely. If a better song than “Elevated Man” emerges this year then I’ll consider my ears to have been blessed. Goatsnake is another veteran band that keeps things uncomplicated and delivers with strong hooks. GET IT.
- DOPETHRONE – ‘Hochelaga’
Seven filthy, evil, dirty tracks. The venomous vocal spit and low, slow bluesy doom claw riffs are infectious – you’ll be spinning that volume to the right and hitting this up for repeated listens. In short, Dopethrone have delivered one of the best albums of 2015 to date, and arguably their best so far. Crank this! – GET IT – Clint (Hand of Doom Radio)
Contributors to The May Doom Chart:
A.S. Van Dorston (Fast n’ Bulbous); Bill Goodman (The Evil Engineer); Billy Goate (Doomed & Stoned); Blasting D (Blasting Days); Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect); Cam Crichton (Motherslug); Clint (Hand of Doom Radio); Doktor420 (Stoner HiVe); Doombeard (DoomBeardZine); Double A Doom (The Sludgelord); Emmit (wonderock.com); Gram Pola (Dirty Denim); Lucas Klaukein (Stoner HiVe, The Sludgelord, You May Be Dead & Dreaming); Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe); Lyk (Phantasmagoria); Mari Knox Knox (Doommabbestia); Melissa (Doomed & Stoned); Mr. Fuzz (More Fuzz); Pat Harrington (The Electric Beard of Doom); Paul Rote (Doomed & Stoned); Rod Reinhardt (Captain Beyond Zen); Skip (Ride With the Devil); Soggy Bob (Soggy Bog of Doom); Steve Howe (The Sludgelord); Steve Miller (Vertical Chamber Apparatus); Steve Woodier (Pull The Legs Off The Spider, Tear The Wings Off The Fly); Tony Maim (Stoner HiVe); Ulla Roschat (Wicked Lady); and Vasilis Durden (All the Heavy Lifting).
This June 2015 edition of The Doom Chart edited by LK Ultra.