Pre-Script: This post is the ultimate SPOILER so if you’d rather be surprised by what’s coming down the pike in the world of doom and stoner, then turn back now.
A week ago, the hotly anticipated fifth album (and first since 2012) from Witchcraft and the mind-bending second album (and first since 2011) by Bloodiest were released. Today the new 5-song EP from Chicago doom veterans The Skull came out along with ‘Spidergawd III‘ by, you guessed it, Spidergawd. A week from now not one but six boner-makers will be unleashed in public spaces. With so many amazing bands out there putting out new albums it’s fuuuucking impossible to keep track, so we decided to help you out and put the first quarter of the year’s most anticipated albums all in one easy to reference place. Are any of you out there old enough to remember collecting Topps baseball cards as a kid? Or for Canadians O-Pee-Chee hockey cards? This is like the checklist card that was so dry and boring but always came in oh so handy. Use this page and use it frequently, I know I will.
And if there’s anything we left out, leave us a comment or write on our wall or message us on our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/doomcharts), we’ll be home. We don’t get out much, we make lists and lists and lists and lists and …
~ LK Ultra
January 29 – CONAN – Revengeance (Napalm Records) – Well, the promos have already been sent out and Conan’s third album has already graced these pages (#25 on the January Doom Chart), so you know how we feel about this one. A new lineup has given the new record added dimension, sharpened the edges and filled out an already impressive sonic assault. Don’t worry about paying the rent, make getting this one a priority ~ LK Ultra ~ HAIL
January 29 – BLACK TUSK – Pillars of Ash (Relapse Records)
January 29 – BLACK WIZARD – New Waste (Listenable Records)
January 29 – DUNBARROW – Dunbarrow (Vinyl on Heksekunst Records)
January 29 – BRIMSTONE COVEN – Black Magic (Metal Blade Records) – Ditto Brimstone Coven’s second Metal Blade-released full-length. This record is all about consolidation. These dark occult rockers pick up right where they left off, so existing fans definitely won’t be disappointed. And there’s at least 4 or 5 songs on here that are going to knock off the rainbow colored toe socks of any newcomers that get in their way. ‘Black Magic’ debuted at #7 on the January Doom Chart ~ LK Ultra ~ SATAN
February 5 – ALUK TODOLO – Voix (Independent)
February 5 – MOON TOOTH – Chromaparagon (Independant)
February 5 – SEALCLUBBER – Stoical (Medusa Crush Recordings)
February 6 – ISAAK – Sermonize (Small Stone Records)
February 12 – DUEL – Fears of the Dead (Heavy Psych Sounds)
February 12 – LOW FLYING HAWKS – Kōfuku (Magnetic Eye Records)
February 12 – MOUNTAIN TAMER – Dunes of the Mind (Argonauta Records)
February 15 – COSMIC LETDOWN – In the Caves (Independent)
February 19 – CHARM DESIGNER – Everlasting (Independent)
February 19 – WOLFMOTHER – Victorious (Universal Music Group)
February 26 – MONDO DRAG – The Occultation of Light (RidingEasy Records) – It seemed like forever between 2010’s fantastic ‘New Rituals’ album and last year’s self-titled follow-up. Now that they’ve come out of their shell you can’t shut these guys up. It’s like that kid in the advanced math program who joins the football team and suddenly discovers partying and drinking. There’s years of lost fun to make up for. With last year’s self-titled album and now ‘The Occultation of Light’, SoCal’s Mondo Drag are bullrushing their way to a premier spot in today’s underground heavy psych scene and that’s why this album is an essential listen for psychedelic heads. You can hear the first single “Initiation” in all its tumbling majesty right now ~ LK Ultra ~ WORSHIP
February 26 – BLACK COBRA – Imperium Simulacra (Season of Mist)
February 26 – BUFFALO THEORY MTL – Skeptic Knight EP (Independent)
February 26 – MOUNTAIN WITCH – Burning Village (This Charming Man Records) – Mountain Witch’s 2013 debut ‘Cold River‘ is still one of my favorite albums. It takes early 70’s sensibilities and casts something dark and sinister over them, something nearly indefinable and elusive, with the substance of a shadow. So how could the band possibly follow-up a near perfect album like that? Guitarist Rene Sitte told me,
“With ‘Burning Village’ we developed [our] real own sound as I want put it. We soaked in a lot more proto-metal to the whole thing and got a lot more singing going on. We even have choirs in the songs. at times it is also quite epic and the lyrics are full of horrors and battles”.
Ah, there’s no way these guys will get it wrong, it’s officially time to start getting excited about this one. At least we know one thing for sure, ‘Burning Village‘ is already a candidate for album cover art of the year. ~ LK Ultra ~ DOOM
February 26 – BANQUET – Jupiter Rose (Heavy Psych Sounds)
February 26 – BROKEN DOWN – The Other Shore (Altsphere)
February 26 – HIGH PRIEST OF SATURN – Son of Earth & Sky (Svart Records) – When we say that a band is maturing it often comes across like they’re getting old and boring and starting to get that weird old man smell, but in this case there’s something exciting about hearing a band with all the potential in the world coming into their own. Their self-titled debut was a fine album, but on their upcoming follow-up the songwriting is tighter, the production is tighter and the character of the band is firmly established. You’ll want to clear some shelf space for this one.
February 26 – BEEHOOVER – Primitive Powers (Unundeux)
February 26 – GREENLEAF – Rise Above the Meadow (Napalm Records) Since re-emerging in 2012 after a five year layoff, Swedish super-band Greenleaf have put out flawless albums once every other year. Which means we’re due for another stoner rock masterpiece, but hey, no pressure guys! The band is currently enjoying a Euro tour which has them in Spain at the moment and will pick back up in mid-February. Listen to the first single, “A Million Fireflies” ~ LK Ultra ~ SATAN
February 26 – IZO – Izo (Acid Cosmonaut)
February 29 – COBRA – Riffyard (Independent)
March 1 – THE ASOUND – The Asound (Independent)
March 4 – CHURCH OF MISERY – And Then There Were None … (Rise Above Records) – Oh have I been longing for the sadistic strains of Japan’s CHURCH OF MISERY! We shouldn’t be surprised that founding member Tatsu Mikami is keeping the project alive. After all, there are so many murderous miscreants remaining to profile! The latest effort, ‘And Then There Were None’ (2016 – Rise Above Records) finds lyrical inspiration not only from the Agatha Christie novel from which it takes its name, but also from the likes of Dr. Harold Shipman (dubbed “one of the most prolific serial killers in history”) and the Heaven’s Gate Cult (yes!), to name just a few. It’s not just the salacious lyrical content that’s perked my interest here, but the musical line-up slinging riffs and violent rhythms with Tatsu on bass: Scott Carlson (vox), David Szulkin (guitar), and Eric Little (drummer). In case those names don’t ring a bell, Scott comes to us by way of Repulsion, David from Blood Farmers, and Eric from Earthride. Circle March 4th on your calendar. We’re going on a killing spree ~ Billy Goat
March 4 – CENTIPEDE – Sarnath (Inverse Records)
March 4 – HOLLOW LEG – Crown (Argonauta Records) – Also on March 4, Jacksonville juggernauts Hollow Leg will pop the cork on their third LP via Argonauta Records. Their last album, ‘Abysmal‘ was a scathing refutation of all things not sludgy and groove-tinged. If the album teaser is anything to go on, the follow-up promises to sink deeper into that fetid swamp of smouldering riffs and brickbat rhythms ~ LK Ultra ~ DOOM
March 11 – ARCANA 13 – Danza Macabra (Aural Music)
March 18 – MR. BISON – Asteroid (Subsound Records)
March 18 – THE TEMPLE – Forevermourn (I Hate Records)
March 18 – HOLY GROVE – Holy Grove (Heavy Psych Sounds) – For years, they’ve been one of the best kept secrets in Oregon. But not for long. The heavy underground will soon be tuned in to the debut album by HOLY GROVE, who have already established a strong reputation amongst lovers of all things heavy for their charismatic live performances. The southern doom and blues rock quartet not only have the best riffs around (reminiscent of Down and Goatsnake) but they have fantastic chemistry with the most show-stopping frontwoman in the biz: Andrea Vidal (who effortlessly channels Grace Slick and Janis Joplin, owning the stage with her own grit and sass).
In mid-March, Holy Grove will release their debut LP, with sound production in the magic hands of Billy Anderson (who holds many, many fantastic credits to his name, not the least of which is Sleep’s epic ‘Dopesmoker’), on the Heavy Psych Sounds label. With two singles released from the record already receiving incredible reception, Holy Grove is poised to take the world by storm ~ Billy Goat
March 18 – MONOLITH – Mountain (Final Gate Records)
March 18 – MONOMYTH – Exo (Suburban Records)
March 25 – BLOOD CEREMONY – Lord of Misrule (Rise Above Records) – Blood Ceremony has improved and gotten more interesting with each new release. In a span of about 5 years they went from being basically a fun, cute Black Sabbath cover band with flutes on their first album to something vaguely medieval, unapologetically pagan and entirely unique on their last album. They’re precisely the kind of band you look forward to putting out a new album because you honestly don’t know what the fuck is coming next. Oh here’s something that should be helpful, a Rise Above Records statement about the album. This should help clarify what to expect: “Lord Of Misrule see’s this respected band opening up their sound and exploring new, exciting territories, whilst not straying from the true essence of their roots.” Hmm. Nope, still fucked! And I wouldn’t have it any other way ~ LK Ultra
March 25 – DEADSMOKE – Deadsmoke (Heavy Psych Sounds)
March 25 – PURSON – Desire’s Magic Theatre (Spinefarm Records) – And speaking of bands who more closely resemble the original roster of Vertigo Records than anything remotely contemporary, England’s very own acid folk fuzzters, Purson will be making their return appearance at the plate this March. Neo-folk doesn’t get a lot of traction with this audience (the only other unabashedly folky band I can think of floating around the outer edges of this world is Galley Beggar), but Purson came out swinging with their “Leaning on a Bear” single back in 2013 and our heads are still smarting from it. The first single from their latest effort, “Electric Landlady” is full of mysterious fun feelings and gets extra bonus points for the titular cheekiness. Luckily, they’ve got the chops to back it up and a seemingly endless supply of iconoclasm. I know I’ll be watching this one with great interest.
March 25 – KING GOAT – Conduit (Independent)
March 25 – ZUN – Burial Sunrise (Small Stone Records)
March 25 – LORD VICAR – Gates of Flesh (The Church Within Records) – The date here is unofficial, I was told ‘Gates of Flesh’ would come out ‘around the Easter weekend’, make what you will of the occult significance of the date and album title … Any time Chritus Linderson and Kimi Karki team-up it’s a magical gathering. It’s been five years since their last such recorded meeting, the “Child Witness” is growing up before our eyes, nearly able to vote and drink and drive already. But those with the bloodlust for traditional doom will forgive these legends for not forcing it out. Besides which, in my redneck’s history of the universe, we owe them our patience for being the flag-bearers of traditional doom at times when death/doom and then funeral doom prevailed. These guys kept doom’s purest strain relevant. This will go down as one of thee essential records of 2016 ~ LK Ultra
March 28 – NIBIRU – Teloch (Argonauta Records)
March – CURSE THE SON – Isolator (Snake Charmer Coalition) – Curse the Son’s ‘Psychache‘ was a masterpiece and, as a result, took the top spot at Vertical Chamber Apparatus in 2013. This band has it all—killer, Sabbathy riffs, an amazing rhythm section, and great vocals. This is definitely one to watch for in the coming year ~ Steve Miller
April 1 – BLACK MOUNTAIN – IV (Jagjaguwar Records)
April 11 – SUNNATA – Zorya (Independent)
It’s been said that anything King Chritus touches turns to gold. Or maybe I’m getting my legends mixed up. Chritus, of course, is Christian Linderson, the distinguished voice behind such projects as Goatess, Lord Vicar, Count Raven, Terra Firma, and Saint Vitus (yes! 92’s ‘C.O.D.’). When I heard that a new Goatess album was in the works (with a 10 minute track leak last fall) I trotted happily through the hills and forests. The band’s 2013 debut was nothing short of miraculous – a dreamy mix of stoner rock, traditional doom, and hazy psychedelia. Somehow, it just worked. King Chritus had done it again. Now he and his fellows (Niklas on guitar, Kenta on drums, and Findus on bass) are back with ‘Purgatory Under New Management,’ the new LP on Svart Records, which the band calls “a tortured sibling to the debut album.” Once again, March is the magic month that brings all good things to life ~ Billy Goat
April 22 – BONEHAWK – Albino Rhino (Ripple Music)
April 26 – WOUNDED KINGS – Visions in Bone (Candlelight Records) – Original Wounded Kings vocalist George Birch is back in the fold. Is there need to say more? The Wounded Kings, in any incarnation, are favorites here at The Doom Charts and Vertical Chamber Apparatus, but the magic of ‘Embrace of the Narrow House‘ and ‘The Shadow over Atlantis‘ are virtually unparalleled ~ Steve Miller
April 29 – JOY – Ride Along (Tee Pee Records)
April – ELECTRIC CITIZEN – Higher Time (RidingEasy Records) – What started as a Kierkegaardian leap of faith between a husband and wife and a couple of their buddies is quickly blossoming into a high stakes game of sharing stages with the masters (Pentagram, King Diamond) and mushrooming expectations. But that’s the price that proggy/folky retro doomy upstarts Electric Citizen have paid for being so darn good, so darn early. If the first song from the band’s upcoming second album, released on the RidingEasy Records Winter 2016 Mixtape (it’s the first track, called “Evil”), is any indication it just may live up to its ambitious title. One way or the other, I’m falling in like with their moxy! I’m sure we’ll have a more concrete release date for ‘Higher Time’ once Cincinnati’s musical first family inches forward in the record pressing plant queue ~ LK Ultra
Possibly April – PSYCHEDELIC WITCHCRAFT – The Vision (SoulSeller Records) – At the moment SoulSeller Records are expecting the masters and artwork for the Florentine occult rock quartet’s first full-length proper any day now. After those come in, then a more accurate release date can be set. For now, the label is hoping for an April release.
April or May – BLIZARO – Blizaro (Razorback Recordings) – Get out your drool cups Blizheads, expect not one, but two full-length records from Blizaro this year! The first, ‘Cornucopia Della Morte‘ has had more than a few complications during it’s prenatal period which stretches all the way back to 2013, but it will finally be birthed by I, Voidhanger Records in March and will feature 8 originals plus a cover of Paul Chain’s “Voyage to Hell“. The second is made up of more recent recordings and, based on the preview I’ve heard, features more of a stripped down, riff-furious metal approach. It will be released sometime in April or May on Razorback Recordings ~ LK Ultra
April of May – VINUM SABBATUM – No title yet (Eyes Like Snow) – It’s seems like forever since this Finnish band released their handsomely packaged debut, ‘Bacchanale Premiere‘ (late 2012). It turns out the band has been working on a follow-up since 2014 but underwent a few bumps in the road along the way. The as-yet-untitled sophomore album is all fully recorded and awaiting mixing. What wonderful secrets does it hold? Vocalist Janne Salo said,
“The music has evolved out of the proto-doom style into some sort of late 70s prog rock, there is one quite funky song with lyrics in Finnish and things like that”
Listen to a live version of a song from the new album called “Constellation Dust”
May – WO FAT – Midnight Cometh (Ripple Music) – Lynyrd Skynyrd sang about swamp music but I’ve never heard it demonstrated so ably as when Kent Stump picks up a guitar and jams with Tim Wilson (b) and Michael Walter (d). Thick brown mud riffs fly out of the speakers splattering all over the house and all over your mind and body so that by the time the first song is over you mentally see yourself as the Swamp Thing. You know when you see someone get sprayed by a car driving past a puddle and they hunch their shoulders and stick their arms out in pure shock? That’s you listening to Wo Fat, only instead of being shocked you see the mud and you sit there going, “ooh yeah, bring it on!” Anyway, Wo Fat reached their underground apotheosis in 2012 with the release of ‘The Black Code‘ album, their first on the immaculate Small Stone Records. The album really cemented their place as the heirs to the ZZ Top heavy Texas blues sound and now anything these guys do becomes a proclamation to us musical morlocks. Well now, Wo Fat is on Ripple Music and ‘Midnight Cometh’ kicks off a trio of vagina dampeners from the label that should make this spring the season of the Rip – LK Ultra
Lat Spring – DEE CALHOUN – Rotgut (Argonauta Records)
June – GOZU – Revival (Ripple Music) – I can already sense the shockwaves induced upon the upcoming release by Gozu on their 3rd studio record and Ripple Music debut, ‘Revival’. Yes you heard that right, following heavy blues rock titans Wo Fat’s signing announcement with Ripple Music late last year, Gozu follow suit, transitioning from their Small Stone throne to the emerging rock heavyweights Ripple Music. Mastered by Tony Reed, in the flesh, and building upon the power of the stone cold groove in Marc Gaffney’s vocal delivery, militant riffing wizardry of Doug Sherman’s battle axe, and one-two knock out of Joe Grotto and Mike Hubbards rhythm jabs, ‘Revival’ is sure to cause ripples within the heavy rock pool of talent in 2016. The amicable transition from Small Stone to Ripple instills a working class promise that Gozu has the potential to make a difference in the heavy underground of 2016, with a no-bullshit attitude destined to blow minds and sell out stadiums! ~ Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect)
In studio recently / No release date – Anciients, Asteroid, Beelzefuzz (possibly August), Black Majik Acid, Cardinal Wyrm, Decemberance, Desert Storm, Dryasdust, Earth Witch, Epitaph, Eternal Elysium, Field (around July), Gudger, Head of the Demon, Inter Arma, It’s Not Night: It’s Space, John Garcia (acoustic album), Kröwnn, Lung Flower, Mangoo, Merchant, Messenger, Nightstalker, Obscure Sphinx, Otehi, Oulu Space Jam Collective, Pallbearer, Queen Crescent, Red Fang, Romannis Mötte, The Sabbathian (Probably late summer), Shallow Grave, Slomatics, Spiritus Mortis, SubRosa, Tangerine Stoned, Wretch
Note: The bands Sleep and Aleph Null could not be reached to confirm upcoming albums and/or release dates in 2016. Mario from Borracho tells me, “Borracho in studio Feb and March. New record by October”. Arc of Ascent, Khemmis and most exciting of all Night Magic (formerly known as Hour of 13) are confirmed to enter the recording studio mid-year. Also, Devil should be back in studio very soon. Meanwhile in the south, Crowbar and a newly re-Pepper Keenan-ized Corrosion of Conformity work away on new material …
Post-Script: We’d like to make this kind of post a regular thing, posted quarterly. Again, let us know what you think.
And if there are any bands here you’re unfamiliar with then I envy you your homework.