You gotta look beyond the mainstream… the mainstream’ll drown you, you know? There’s always a pulse in the underground that I love. And the pulse in the underground is what keeps heavy metal alive. (Phil Anselmo)
This post is dedicated to The Black Captain (1972-2015)
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.
25. The Moth – And Then Rise
The Moth has delivered an album that outclasses the debut album in every respect. It seems The Moth have upped their game for this release as the album ventures into more progressive territory with elements of Thrash Metal appearing now and then.
The Moth venture further into murky fuzz laden territory as the music becomes a hypnotic whirlwind of emotion and violent moods. Check this out. An unmissable experience. ~Steve Howe (Outlaws Of The Sun)
24. Doctor Doom – The Seed We Have Sown
Looking for some serious seventies boogie? Looking to get your head right, to turn on and tune in? Then get yourself some prescribed medicine by Doctor Doom! On their new album This Seed We Have Sown they serve up some highly natural and cascading shuffle and groove. Their upbeat yet subdued offerings calms the spirit and warms the soul. This is psychedelic lounge music for all us heavy rock freaks that long for the long nights and for those desperate adventures. With Doctor Doom on your side, you will be getting it all and a whole lot more… ~ Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
23. With The Dead – With The Dead
Just when you think doom metal can’t get any darker, any meaner, any heavier, Lee Dorian – legendary vocalist from Coventry band Cathedral – decides to team up with two of his contemporaries: Tim Bagshaw (guitar/bass) and Mark Greening (drums) to make some noise. Their eponymous offering (released on Lee’s label, Rise Above Records) is quite monstrous.
It’s hard to put my awe into words. Just when you thought 2015 couldn’t get any better, with new releases from Acid King, High on Fire, Elder, Windhand, etc. , a record like this comes along that makes us reconsider our (at least mentally completed) Best of the Year lists. About the new project, Lee Dorian has stated: “There’s nothing to prove, but plenty to express. […] Instead of trying to compete with the people that have stabbed us in the back, expressing our disdain through music is a much more powerful response. There have been rough times in my personal life and some dour emotions needed to be exorcised.
So, yes, With The Dead is the perfect vehicle for these exorcisms to be performed.” And holy god do these fellows rage hard in these six tracks! You’ll be hard pressed to find heavier this year – or any other.
22. Mord ‘A’ Stigmata – Our Hearts Slow Down
With”Our Hearts Slow Down” Mord ‘A’ Stigmata, create moods that go from bleak and evil to gloomy and esoteric, steeped in atmospheres of utter darkness.
It’s basically black metal, but sometimes laced with gloey, sludgy doom, ambient post black metal, progressive pieces or whatever serves to create powerful, gripping, intoxicating, hypnotic, soundscapes.
This 4th album of the Polish band, with just 3 songs and a playing time of 30 minutes may be short, but is packed with whirlwinds of intensity and deep emotional impact, due to excellent songwriting, a great sense of the right balance of experimenting and accessibility and a convincing musicianship in general.
Did I miss out any adjectives of enthusiasm? I don’t think so. Let me add an imperative then. Listen to this! ~ Ulla Roschat (Wicked Lady)
21. My Dying Bride – Feel The Misery
2015 has been a good year for Doom I would say. There’s been a lot of records out already that will have people talking for some time and perhaps as we start to think a bit about end of year lists MDB have thrown their hat into the ring with a real contender. “Feel The Misery” is a powerful, and haunting record that seeps sadness from it’s pores, but it is utterly absorbing and will keep you going back to revisit it time after a time.~ Simon Ross Williams (Outlaws Of The Sun)
20. Spelljammer – Ancient Of Days
Spelljammer finally release their new album – Ancient Of Days – and it doesn’t disappoint. Heavy, long drawn out cosmic based riffs. Ancient Of Days takes their sound to new levels as they leave the Desert/Stoner Rock sounds found on their earlier albums in the past. Spelljammer embrace a new world of FUZZED OUT SPACE ROCK DOOM and it’s glorious. From the opening spaced out riffs of opening track – Meadow – Spelljammer are a band reborn as they take you on a trippy journey without the need for hallucinogenic drugs. The music is powerful enough to take you to the far reaches of space.
The heavy fuzz sounds of the albums last two tracks – The Pathfinder and Borlung – are some of the finest 20 minutes you’re likely to experience this year. Addictive Fuzz/Space-Rock/Doom Metal of the highest order. If you’re new to the world of Spelljammer then get with the program as Ancient Of Days is a spaced out trip worth taking time and time again. One of the finest Stoner/Doom Metal albums of the year. ~ Steve Howe (Outlaws Of The Sun)
19. Hangman’s Chair – This Is Not Supposed To Be Positive
Releasing their debut album back in 2007, “A Lament…(For The Addicts)” made quite an impression on me, quickly turning Hangman’s Chair into a favorite. Now with the release of their fourth full length record “This Is Not Supposed To Be Positive”, their sound hasn’t evolved so much as matured from that first record. Like an old man getting wiser, overpowering heaviness has given way to a more measured and refined approach to sludge metal. Moving between long, drawn out sections of pure despair to pummeling bouts of melodic sludge that constantly drive forward.
Some sludge purists may have their issues with their sound, and their overall evolution to this point, but for people who like some experimentation and originality, then this album will mark all the right boxes for you. Setting themselves apart from the typical sludge sound even more, the vocalist delivers a powerful performance, but with clean vocals, using huge shifts in dynamics rather than a guttural growl. Add to that the immensity of the the music, sitting on you like a massive lead weight, and you’ve have one of the most original sludge sounds to date. ~ Skip (The Burning Beard)
18. Glowsun – Beyond The Wall Of Time
Although “Beyond the Wall of Time” is an almost instrumental album and there are hardly any lyrics, the album title, the cover artwork and track titles very much indicate that Glowsun play around with the concept of time here. The intro track “Arrow of Time” starts with sounds of a ticking clock and heartbeats and creates a tension right from the start. From here a thick and deep soundscape slowly evolves and expands and soon you’ll know what this album is up to – its up to entangle your mind and take you into spheres of timelessness. This album is a perfectly balanced hybrid of psychedelic stoner rock that gets you stoned as well as high. It drags you through the dry desert sand with fuzz-laden earthy heaviness, entrances you with hypnotic, driving rhythms and lets you fly high on playful melodies with spiraling loops and arcs, just to pull you back to the ground with gloomy, doomy sounds. The outro track “Endless Caravan” carefully carries you back into time picking up the clock-ticking sound from the beginning.
“Beyond the Wall of Time” is trippy and spacey, rooted deeply in stoner soil and it’s the perfect soundtrack to a mild summer night to crack a beer, rip a bong and forget the meaning of time. ~ Ulla Roschat (Wicked Lady)
17. Savanah – Deep Shades
Deep Shades of molten doom forge blazingly massive riffs and scorching solos polished off with hypnotic vocal moans. High degree of face meltability. ~ Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect)
These 5 tracks were really an instant love when I heard them, too bad it doesn’t last longer. So to comfort myself I played it on repeat during those last few weeks. They just did a killer work in producing a heavy piece of Stoner-Doom, and they really tried to avoid to sound too cliché, you know those crunchy riffs you heard a million times… No, they rather took a smarter approach by creating very catchy melodic riffs, and still managing to carry that heavy sound.
To me, there are a lot of similarities with Elder’s tone & feeling, not a bad thing you’ll tell me. To further reinforce that Elder influence, be also prepared for a lot of guitar soloing craziness. Sumptuous use of delay and Wah-Wah effects are just delicious for your ears backed by a pounding rhythm section, be sure you’ll either be headbanging hard or lose your mind on those loud & repetitive bass lines & drums fills! ~ Mr Fuzz (More Fuzz)
16. Pentagram – Curious Volume
Despite the fact that the headlights of the rock n roll world are falling on the new albums of Iron Maiden and Motorhead these days, at the same time another iconic rock figure of the same talent-caliber, Mr. Bobby Liebling, released also a brand new album with Pentagram. In a parallel, fair, universe this fact itself would have the same attention as the releases of the mentioned holy monsters.
On our own unfair world, I think that we should be happy even with the fact that uncle Bobby is still among us. Having to deal with lots of personal demons that threaten even his life over the last decade, the front man of Pentagram manages to provide us with the second album of the band since the “reboot” year of 2011. The album is called “Curious Volume” and once more we find the downtuned riffmaster Victor Griffin, behind the guitar work.
During its eleven songs and the 43 minutes of its duration, the album gives us the representation of a surprisingly fresh band: Bobby’s voice sounds in good shape, the compositions are well balanced, and Griffin provides us with some great, supermassive riffs. Of course no one will claim that “Curious Volume” will be a monumental album, but at the same time, with this record, Pentagram declare that they are not here by accident.
Only a few bands can play different types of songs such as “Dead bury Dead”, “Misunderstood” and “Because I made it” in the same album, in the same convincing way. With “Curious Volume” in your collection, you will add some great heavy rock/doom tunes with a 70s vide, not from some contemporary retro-fetishist copycats, but from the original source of this sound. ~ Vasilis Durden (All the Heavy Lifting)
15. Pastor – Evoke
A conglomerate of tracks filled with pathos from the first one to the last one, raised by overwhelming riffs that burn on the skin one behind the other.You cannot stand still in front of all these proto-doom vibrations full of distorsion and schizophrenic acidity that are like a punch in your gut . “Ewoke” in a few words, is a truly invigorating album, same like havin a cup of rum for breakfast! and this is just the debut for the Austrians Pastor, a band to keep an eye on!!! ~ Mari Knox Knox (Doommabbestia)
14. Waft – Chronolith
As it stands, I’ve been waiting a long time to bring all of you this review. Pretty much since I walked in on the middle of their live set for the first time and instantly noticed my rib cage rattling around in my chest. I first mentioned them in my Rising Sons article for a while back, but they are well worth revisiting with the release of their debut LP “Chronolith”.
Six pummeling tracks of sludge tainted stoner doom metal later, and you’re a changed person, the kind of changes that coincide with being hit in the stomach by a three ton hammer. Opening things up with the raucous bout of “Eternal Sigh”, which is a five minute excercise in desparity. Starting off slow, and even dropping down to the pace of a geological process, it soon gives way to a torrential flood of pulverizing drums, with a chugging bass line and hectic guitar riffing.
It’s not content to end there though, finding a happy medium in the mid-tempo area, they fall into a sludgey groove that’s suitable for stomping the skulls of your enemies. Digging into the album a little farther and you come across a personal favorite called “Southern Sky”, and as the band so aptly puts it, the song is about being southern as fuck. After a few droning guitar notes, plus some loud and round drumming, things kick off into a pounding groove, with a southern flair in the guitar riff, and snarling vocals that could almost of come from a rabid dog. Being the shortest track on the album, it is a bruiser with an unmistakable Bongzilla vibe.
By the end of the three minutes it’s almost like you can feel that hot summer sun beating down on you. The entire album has a raw and gritty feel, like you’re standing in a grimey dive bar watching them play in person. But, if you like your doom metal heavily stoned and drunk as a skunk, you’ll love Waft. ~ Skip (The Burning Beard)
13. Golden Void – Berkana
On Golden Void’s 2012 debut, they had come up with a pretty unique blend of proto-metal and psychedelic folk, with nods toward Black Sabbath and a bit of Cream’s Jack Bruce and Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker in Isaiah Mitchell’s vocals.
Three years later, the band replaces up front rockers on their second album, Berkana, with some twang, somewhat along the lines of Sweden’s Troubled Horse. “Astral Plane” starts with a rolling guitar riff that also brings to mind a bit of mid-70s Crazy Horse, with an autumnal vocal melody. It gets even more haunting and transcendent at two minutes with a ghostly, high-register guitar line that floats on top.
With the psych prog leanings of “The Beacon” and “Storm And Feather,” I hear the kind of trippy, heavy forest psych I’d been craving. Sometimes I dream up fusions of genres and styles I feel are under-represented in the world. Bands like Dead Meadow and Fellwoods seemed to have the potential to achieve that kind of mix, but Golden Void had really nailed it. ~ A.S. Van Dorston (Fast n’ Bulbous)
12. Plainride – Return Of The Jackalope
“Return of the Jackalope” a is Stoner/Desert Rock album of the down-to-earth kind. It is gritty and dusty with a thick crust of sweat and desert sand; it tastes like whiskey, beer and BBQ, hefty and well seasoned with Rock ‘n’ Roll, Bluegrass, Blues, a ballad and a psycho trip at the end – all inclusive – from sweaty to laid-back, with riffs galore and a voice to faint over. The 4 guys from Plainride bust out this record with such relentless energy and spirit, it’s mercilessly contagious. With a generous run time of over one hour it feels like these dudes don’t even want to stop playing… Well count me in, I won’t complain. ~ Ulla Roschat (Wicked Lady)
11. Behold! The Monolith – Architects of the Void
Behold! The Monolith’s triumphant return, ‘Architects of the Void,’ understandably marks a slight change in sound and execution. Their third full-length, like its predecessors, is a sprawling metal masterpiece marked by memorable riffs, scorching leads, and intricate song structures. The band, in the face of tragedy, have churned out their darkest album to date that incrementally exchanges the atmospherics that were in abundance on their first two releases for anger and even more aggression. ‘Architects of the Void’ is not necessarily better or worse than previous efforts…just slightly different, yet still it kicks ass. ~ Steve Miller (Vertical Chamber Apparatus)
10. Ahab – The Boats of the Glen Carrig
The nautical doomsters from Germany return with an epic album that combines melody with brutality to further their sound explored on previous albums. The pace is slightly less glacial but the overall atmosphere is still heavy, oppressive and draining. The song compositions have a great diversity which propels the album through to the intense end. Both vocals and guitars go from clean to filthy which sit nicely on top of the solid riffs being played. This is probably Ahab reaching their peak and will please a lot of people. – Tony Maim (Stoner HiVe)
9. GRIME – Circle Of Molesters
In 2013 Grime released one of the most punishing albums to hit the scene in years in ‘Deteriorate’, a desolate filth ridden roller coaster of chaos that left rubble in its wake. Fast forward to now, and the sickness is back in the form of ‘Circle of Molesters’. Fading in with foreboding slow motion riffs in Intro (Obscuration), it quickly gives way to the pummelling stomach churn that Grime have made into a signature sound, frequently hitting the brakes to let the gravity of it all crush in and then breaking out the sledgehammer once more to crush skulls with pace. No let up from start to finish, super heavy production, very satisfying low end and evil infested riffs and vocals. Grime have done it again, album of the year contender beyond doubt. ~Clint (Hand of Doom Radio)
8. Goya – Obelisk
Bend over and assume the position you dirty, riff slut…. Satan is about to destroy you with his magical riffmaking guitar bong. Goya have the tunes that can make you stoned, just by sitting in the same room as their sticky sweet, smoking riffs of doom. This is the sweet spot, the volcanic epicentre you have been searching for. Enter the inner earth of your unknown reality, vibrating to the hum of the Iommic void. Listen closely to Goyas’ invocations and like me you will find yourself worshiping the masters riff. ~ Gram, Son of Sam (Dirty Denim)
7. Ecstactic Vision – Sonic Praise
With no doubt the Ecstatic Vision trio from Philadelphia gave birth to one of the best debut albums of this year. ‘Sonic Praise’ is an album that comes from an otherworldly dimension. It is a metaphysical place where your consciousness flies in a deep trance through space rock guitars, shaman and dreamlike vocals, cosmic and tribal rhythms. Its five tracks are captivating and rich in expressiveness, they pulsate with life. Take your time and listen to them, go beyond, in the infinite space. Simply fantastic! ~ Mari Knox Knox (Doommabbestia)
6. GRIM VAN DOOM – Grim Love
FERRRROCIOUS!!!! That’s the sentiment that immediately comes to mind when listening to “Goddamn This Love,” one of the spiteful songs from the German hardcore sludger’s new record ‘Grim Love’ (2015). Devastating low ‘n’ slow riffs coupled with tortured sludge vocals = musical soul food for this reviewer. Bring a little roar back into your life with GRIM VAN FUCKIN’ DOOM!:-) ~ Billy Goate (Doomed & Stoned)
5. Disenchanter – Strange Creations
Disenchanter proved early on in their career that they had something going on and left me no choice but to show my support upon finding out of the Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to record and unleash their newest full length CD, “Strange Creations”, unto the world. From the first listen through the sixth or eighth. I’ve lost count, I was hooked and knew the world was given something special. The album opens with an enticing drum pattern oozing with a fuzzed out bassline that partners up to a downtuned, distortion-laced riff and topped with the heroic pulse of Sabine Strangenberg’s wail. Title track, “Strange Creations”, 1st of 2 songs over the 10-minute mark, brings a bluesy stoner swagger to the slow baked doomy groove, and like the entire album, speaks of mystical beings, enchanting lore, all wrapped up with seductively angelic riffs and rumbles. “Sorceries” scours the airwaves with an absolutely throttling introduction, scalping the brain like Conan the Barbarian’s sword smashing granite boulders.
The psychedelic soloing scratches the itch you just can’t quite reach, deep beyond your conscience state of being. The final cut “Snakes of the Earth” showcases the raw diversity of the band and brings the album to a proper close. Swirling with thrashy shards of metal, heavy shades of doom, and blazing clouds of stoned out groove, “Strange Creations” erupts unto the land with lethal riffage, celestial vocal chords, and an enthralling atmosphere. Don’t be scared, we are all strangely created, yet roam the land with a similar purpose. Purpose in this case, to pick up the new album by Disenchanter. ~ Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect)
4. Graveyard – Innocence & Decadence
Graveyard has always been a band to deliver the goods. Everything on the self titled, Hisinging Bluesand Lights Out have been great albums. Innocence & Decadence is no different. Graveyard is one of those bands that have a signature sound, you just know it’s them by the tune. That’s pretty evident as soon as “Magnetic Shunk” starts the album off. The album rips and roars from beginning to end. The songs are pretty diverse too. That’s one of the traits that make this band so great and keeps them from becoming stale.
They mix it up by having guitarist Jonathan Ramm sing leads on the track “Far Too Close” which closes off an impressive album. “To Much Is Not Enough” features some female backing vocals during the chorus which gives it a nice touch and is something that the band hasn’t done before. They also welcome back bassist and founding member Truls Mörck, who sings lead vocals on the new song “From A Hole In the Wall.”
“From A Hole In the Wall” is probably the most badass song on the entire album. ~ Bill Goodman (The Evil Engineer)
3. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Night Creeper
Every time Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats came out with a new record it took some time getting familiar with the fresh take on their mystical tones and musically translated fear of the dark. But with the old, worn and lo-fi production you quickly felt at home again in that dusty cellar where the faint candlelight threw creepy shadows across the ceiling. This time around the sounds are much fuller and warmer. Not the warmth of spilled blood but of ghost stories by the campfire. A damn fine album indeed. But I reckon we’d rather would have suffered from nightmares once again… ~ Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
2. Kadavar – Berlin
The third album by the German trio Kadavar is finally able to capture their wild live sound to some degree. It also finally features the amazing Simon ‘Drago’ Bouteloop on bass. Which means the boogie and the groove are immediately set loose. Vocalist Lupus Lindemann sounds at ease and accomplished, but has dispelled some of his chased notes. The same goes for the psychedelic edge, it has turned into something unadorned and trucking. This time around Kadavar brings pure rock in the seventies tradition. And they do it well! ~ Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
1. Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower
Its a saga.
Its an epic.
Like lord of the rings on heroin you need each moment to last forever. These songs are the whisper of the trees, silhouetted in the moonlight. The endless stillness of the night pulsing in time to the beat of your broken heart.
Demonic songbird Dorthia Cottrell, blazes emotion charged arrows of truth, deep into your cerebral, emotional and spiritual reality. A modern Janis Joplin on a broomstick. The mirror to your darkest, unspoken desires and your best friend when you are lonely. Wilt in front of her honesty.
Asechiah Bogdan and Garret Morris’ bleeding riffs of warm honey that flood mercilessly across your listening palette have been somewhat subdued by the bands decision to open themselves up to a Producer for the first time but what a choice. Grunge legend Jack Endino has chosen to separate the instruments for a more accessible mix. The dense wall of sound, the all or nothing listening experience is slightly diminished. However they seem to have found the perfect balance to allow the vocals and drums to breath a little more without taming the killer riffs. Ryan Wolfe sounds crisp and Parker chandler is the final element to the best Tone in music.
So in short, nothing has changed. This is still the coolest new band on the planet delivering the expected album of the year contender. Yes, it really is that good.
~ Gram, Son of Sam (Dirty Denim)
Contributors to The October Doom Chart:
Andy Seibt (Sludge Worm Magazine); A.S. Van Dorston (Fast n’ Bulbous); Billy Goate (Doomed & Stoned); Bill Goodman (The Evil Engineer); Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect); Cam Crichton (Motherslug); Clint (Hand of Doom Radio); ‘Doktor420’ (Stoner HiVe); Doombeard (DoomBeardZine); Gram Pola, Son of Sam (Dirty Denim); Pat Harrington (Electric Beard Of Doom); Lucas Klaukein – ‘LK Ultra’ (Stoner HiVe, The Sludgelord, You May Be Dead & Dreaming); Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe); Lyk (Phantasmagoria); Mari Knox Knox (Doommabbestia); Martin Petrov (Rawk’n’Roll – the ‘pass-me-that-bottle’ webzine);Paul Rote (Doomed & Stoned); Rod Reinhardt (Captain Beyond Zen); Skip (The Burning Beard); Steve Howe (Outlaws of the Sun); Steve Miller (Vertical Chamber Apparatus); Tony Maim (Stoner HiVe); Ulla Roschat (Wicked Lady); Timon Menge (Sludge Worm Magazine); Tanguy Dupré – “Mr Fuzz” (More Fuzz); and Vasilis Durden (All the Heavy Lifting).
This October 2015 edition of The Doom Chart edited by Steve Howe