Ahhh, Spring is here. The happiest, brightest, smiliest time of year. A time of awakening, a time to couple down and copulate. A time of songbirds.
Here’s a list of 25 albums to temper joy and bring a little gloom back into our empty lives! This is the Doom Charts April 2016 edition.
But first, a note …
Thanks to reader suggestions we’ve added a few minor details to each entry that I think will make all the difference. You see, I’ve come to think of the Doom Charts as the Sears catalog of underground heavy. Sure that sounds lame at first glance, but are you old enough to remember the excitement of seeing the joy section of the new Sears catalog as a kid? I am. The Sears catalog ruled. That’s the level of excitement I’d like to bring to Doom Charts: Sears catalog levels. Or, in other words, an 11 on a scale of 10.
Because when you’re perusing the Doom Charts, you’re essentially shopping, so to make your shopping experience easier, we’ve added the release date, musical subgenre and country of origin for every album.
It was also suggested we show the chart progress of each album but instead I decided to just make a note for every new entry and there are 16 such notes on this list. Hope this makes your Doom Charts experience a little bit easier and your springtime a little bit gloomier … somehow.
~ LK Ultra
25. WITCHTHROAT SERPENT – Sang-Dragon / NEW!
Releases April 30, 2016 / Doom / France
WITCHTHROAT SERPENT impressed the ever-lovin’ hell out of us year before last with their self-titled debut. Now the quartet from Toulouse have returned with ‘Sang-Dragon’ and, oh boy, are you going to love it. Doom is back! Lots of Wizard worship going on here. It’s dark, it’s full of pain, and it makes you want to bang your head, slam down some brews, and maybe even smash something (or get smashed) ~ Billy Goate (Doomed & Stoned)
24. VALLEY OF THE SUN – Volume Rock
Releases April 29, 2016 / Stoner / USA
They’ve been stating that their business has been Volume Rock since the beginning. And on the new album with that exact title we can definitely state that the business that Valley Of The Sun is slinging, is definitely good. Ten sumptuous stoner tracks that storm across the flat plains like a band on the run. Stretching out the vocal lines like a good band from the desert should and adding atavistic sandy guitars that grind out trucking riffs and highly intense hooks. Taking the best from grunge, hard rock and stoner and adding this and that to it, like the rockabilly infused drumming in certain songs, so it becomes something that’s incredibly voluminous and definitely something that belongs in a heat blistered Valley Of The Sun. It’s tight and lean and looks at you like a hungry mountain lion. And while the big cat lays in wait, ready to pounce, you notice as Volume Rock hits the half way mark around the Breathe The Earth track that you feel less and less enveloped in the desert and that the sound have become even bigger and spacious. Indeed, you can feel the earth beneath your feet wherever you are. And the album is meant for everyone that loves heaviness. For the stone age dinosaur hunters, the sand castle lovers and the run down harbor facilities enthusiasts. That’s the best thing about Volume Rock, it caters to everyone everywhere and nobody can deny its greatness ~ Joop Konrad (Stoner HiVe)
23. GREEN YETI – The Yeti Has Landed
Released February 19, 2016 / Stoner, Desert Rock / Greece
Stomping around place Number 24 on the Doom Charts of March the Green Yeti looked mean and ready to do a smash and grab on anything that might tickle its fancy. And everything upwards tickled its lovely green mass. For The Yeti Had Landed, with his growling riffs and heady compositions it leers you into its clutches. The green bulk encompasses an amazing quantity of nuances and turns intoxicating and psychedelic with each move the great beasts makes. Alternating between lofty instrumental sections and mesmerizing vocals the albums paves its way for both the cloud hangers and the groove fiends. The lumbering giant will have you swaying, swooning and swerving like a drunken buffoon on its way home after a long and strenuous trip. And there will be no looking back. Fuck no. Not today. Thank you kindly. Your heart will be filled with you! And you shall feel like the monster that is Green Yeti, a beast on the move and just high enough to be totally awesome… ~ Joop Konrad (Stoner HiVe)
22. SPIRITUAL BEGGARS – Sunrise to Sundown / NEW!
Released March 18, 2016 / Hard Rock / Sweden
Retro rockers Spiritual Beggars ninth album , being their most authentic seventies sounding to date parallels the retro movement’s history . The scene is moving more and more towards authenticity. This is an album that will leave you thinking you’re listening to Deep Purple , Rainbow , white snake etc. sunrise to sundown is array of organ driven hard rock accompanied by Blackmore like fretwork , and even some synthesizer. The seventies great songwriting is here too. These are 11 great songs! ~ Paul Rote (Doomed & Stoned)
21. R.I.P. – In the Wind
March 14, 2016 / Doom, Stoner Metal / USA
I’ve been looking forward to this release for a long time, based solely on the album cover and knowing nothing about the band. It turns out that you can judge a book (or record) by its cover sometimes. The debut from this Portland quartet is the most fun I’ve had in a while. The lo-fi production, the up-tempo doom riffs, the reverb-drenched vocals…it all works perfectly. This is just a classic Heavy Metal album that doesn’t need to trade on nostalgia to make its point. It sounds like something that could have been released in 1982, but it also sounds incredible contemporary. I’m definitely keeping an eye on these dudes for a while ~ Joe Owen (The Blog of Doom)
20. BLACK RAINBOWS – Stellar Prophecy / NEW!
Releases May 15, 2016 / Stoner, Heavy Psych / Italy
Twelve months after their last album Hawkdope was released, Black Rainbows have returned with their fifth album – Stellar Prophecy. Black Rainbows has a new bassist within their ranks. Stellar Prophecy has a more FUZZ driven sound compared to previous albums. You still get the same heavy as hell Stoner/Psych sound but the band has a more distinctive fuzzier sound.
The band slowly builds the atmosphere with slow-paced riffs and trippy vocals. Black Rainbows excel in creating loud and vibrant noises merged with intriguing soundclips.
Stellar Prophecy is another superb album to add to your Black Rainbows collection. The band has changed their sound in so many different ways on this album as they have a more epic feel to their music. Everything about this album oozes class. What more do you expect from one of Italy’s finest Psych/Stoner Metal bands. Stellar Prophecy could be the bands most defining album to date ~ Steve Howe (Outlaws of the Sun)
19. GOYA – The Enemy / NEW!
Released March 15, 2016 / Doom / USA
Arizona three-piece Goya have had a steady stream of releases almost since their inception. 2015 was a particularly industrious year notably marked by a split with Seattle’s Wounded Giant and their unforgettably heavy and expansive sophomore full-length ‘Obelisk.’ That surge of productivity seems to have bled into the current year with the ‘Satan’s Fire’ 7”—most notable for its killer Iron Maiden cover of “Wrathchild”—released through guitarist/vocalist Jeff Owens’ own Opoponax Records imprint and now, with their latest EP, ‘The Enemy.’ More impressive than the band’s output is the quality of the tunes. Every release from Goya is bombproof and ‘The Enemy’ is no different. As a whole, ‘The Enemy’ is probably the band’s most melodic effort—trading in the grim, dopesmoke atmospherics that were pervasive on the ‘Satan’s Fire’ EP and much of ‘Obelisk’ in favor of an incrementally more “upbeat” approach. The band surely has not sacrificed heft, but the barely perceptible shift in sound is a huge draw and illustrates why Goya are among the best in the game ~ Steve Miller (Vertical Chamber Apparatus, Heathen Harvest)
18. SON OF A WITCH – Thrones in the Sky
Released February 9, 2016 / Doom, Heavy Psych / Brazil
The album opens with the title track ‘Thrones in the Sky, and begins with a wizard like voice proclaiming “Welcome to your doom” before launching into an ‘Electric Funeral’ like riff, setting the tone for the remainder of the album. It’s inevitable that Son of a Witch is going to be tagged with the Sabbath comparison, its there for all to hear, but what Son of a Witch does with ‘Thrones in the Sky’ is drag the Sabbathian sound right into the 21st Century. Each of the 5 quite lengthy tracks on offer sound huge, but with most of the excess fat cut away, giving the instruments a chance to breathe, and thus adding an extra ‘crunch to the sound. All of the tracks on ‘Thrones in the Sky’ are highlights, but the final one, the 15 minute Jupiter Cosmonaut, is a particular favourite of mine, and is one of those tracks that has become something of a rarity with me these days, one that has me hitting the repeat button, check the riff that has been primed since minute 6 and comes in at 10:37 and see if you can resist playing it again and again. Reverb and Wah abounds!
Welcome to your doom indeed ~ Steve Woodier (The Shrieks From Below)
17. ALEPH NULL – Endtime Sisters / NEW!
Released March 6, 2016 / Heavy Psych, Sludge / Germany
Dreadful Düsseldorf doomers ALEPH NULL return to wreak more devastation on our eardrums! This time, their sound is heavier than ever: “We traded the guitars for two bass guitars to provide the earthquake you low end fiends desire! On top of that there’s celestial choir, retro-fuzzed nostalgia, spaced out analog synth – you name it!” The monstrous new record ‘Endtime Sisters’ consists of four gargantuan tracks, the first of which is a dark bruiser called “Isobel,” clocking in at nearly ten minutes. The new effort stands up well next to the bands previous releases and confirms Aleph Null’s place as a unique and prolific voice in the heavy underground ~ Billy Goate (Doomed & Stoned)
16.MERLIN – Electric Children / NEW!
Released March 9, 2016 / Doom, Heavy Psych / USA
15.ANCIENT WARLOCKS – II / NEW!
Released March 19, 2016 / Stoner Metal, Heavy Psych / USA
‘II’ has finally arrived. It’s been a long five years since Ancient Warlocks initially garnered some well-earned attention with their concise and heavy debut, ‘The Superwizard’ 7”. In the interim the band has released a live split with Mos Generator and an impressive self-titled full-length in 2013. Many will be happy to hear that not much has changed—in the best possible way—in the Ancient Warlocks’ camp. Similar to the band’s previous releases, the seven tracks of their sophomore effort are full of fuzz-laden grooves accentuated with a myriad of hooks ranging from perfectly constructed riffs, to blistering solos, to Aaron Krause’s often engaging vocal melodies. Check album standout “The Sun, at the Final Rise” to dissuade any doubts and hear all of the aforementioned traits come together perfectly on one track. ‘II’ is equal parts heft and catchiness without any discernible faults or weaknesses. At just under the thirty minute mark ‘II’ is effectively succinct and leaves the listener with almost no choice but to re-press play or to drop the needle again ~ Steve Miller (Vertical Chamber Apparatus, Heathen Harvest)
14.KING BUFFALO – Orion / NEW!
Released March 15, 2016 / Heavy Psych, Stoner / USA
It’s exciting to watch a band develop from a promising demo early on, knowing there was something truly remarkable on the horizon, progressing into more material featured on a split album released via a cult underground label specializing in high end vinyl and finally exposing their full potential on a masterful full length album. That’s exactly what the fans are witnessing with the debut self-titled album by King Buffalo. The heavy-psychedelics stampede with meditative riffs flowing rhythmically like the pulse of a bison’s beating heart as it gallops ancestral plains. The grooves are tight as the hazy vocals are intense. Moments of rapturous distortion crash into psychedelic melodies like thunder preludes a downpour over a space lit beach. It’s hard to deny a resemblance in style to rising stars All Them Witches as the sweeping blues-tinged Americana undercurrents rip against spine tingling layers of reverb. The CDs sold out immediately and hope for wax treatment looms the daydreams of eager vinyl addicts. King Buffalo have finally claimed their crown at the head of the bison band throne! Make no mistake, labels are weighing in as we speak to hopefully deliver what yearns to be a year end contender and prized record in every heavy psychedelic music fan’s collection! ~ Bucky Brown (Ripple Music)
13.DEADSMOKE – Deadsmoke / NEW!
Released March 24, 2016 / Sludge, Desert Rock / Italy
Clocking in at 5 tracks and just under 31 minutes, this is somewhere between a full album and an EP, but if the debut from this Italian trio is a sign of things to come, we have another Doom monster on our hands. There’s a fair bit of Electric Wizard influence in the tempos, tone and riffs, but the vocals are much more pained, relying on Sludge Metal shouts and shrieks to convey the band’s wretched messages. I’m not a big Sludge guy, as I prefer a bit more tact, but these guys straddle the line just enough to turn out a fine Doom record ~ Joe Owen (The Blog of Doom)
12.DUNBARROW – Dunbarrow
Released January 29, 2016 / Retro Rock, Proto-Doom / Norway
Hefty horror fumes are covering the wonderfully lean slasher aesthetics and the occult fragrances of this adventurous debut album which is one of the most honest rock offerings of the last several years, as it gives away eloquently the rich musical craftmanship of Dunbarrow, whom are painting palatial blues melodies and splashy doom soundscapes that oozes heavy rock quality. Their unforced retro rock passion and their inherent proto metal love along with the fresh breeze of their vintage mentality, offers us an extremely enjoyable and almost unbearably beautiful heavy album of peerless hard rock charm, so you better be ready for an astonishing trip in the picturesque depths of doom rock allurement. Wondrous ~ Lyk (Phantasmagoria)
11.YOUNGBLOOD SUPERCULT – High Plains
Released February 19, 2016 / Stoner, Blues / USA
In a tiny town in the middle of Kansas in 1977, a few dozen teenagers with no expectation of anything interesting or worthwhile ever happening in their lives decides to kill all the adults and take over. It’s bloody and freaky, but the rest of the world takes no notice, because it’s a tiny town in the middle of fucking Kansas in the seventies.
If that was a real horror movie (and it should be), Youngblood Supercult’s High Plains would be jamming nonstop through every eerily-abandoned main street slow pan and crimson-splattered hay bale.
There’s a creepiness to this record, and a bleakness. Not crushing darkness bleak; middle-American cornfield bleak. Fans of Uncle Acid’s vintage, throwback doom-lite need to hear this, as does anyone who digs Golden Void’s psychedelic classic-rock (but better) vibe.
Even the name is intriguing. Just say it: YOUNGBLOOD SUPERCULT. What does that say to you? To me it says youth with bigger problems than cutting class and stealing beer. The kids ain’t alright. But the record is effortlessly entrancing. ~ MeteorJadd (The Ripple Effect)
10.BLOOD CEREMONY – Lord of Misrule / NEW!
Released March 25, 2016 / Doom, Psychedelic / Canada
I’m starting to think Toronto’s Blood Ceremony are the band that ever other band wants to be. Attention-grabbing debut with a distinctive sound? Check. Sophomore jinx? Nope. Second album only solidified their place at the big boy table of the heavy underground. While many bands try to change their sound and come up with a new look on later albums, most faceplant. Blood Ceremony has managed to consistently re-invent themselves because they’ve never scrapped their core elements: fuzz, riffs and flute/organ. It’s the skeleton they clothe in Elizabethan (The Eldritch Dark) or Victorian (Living With the Ancients) garb, as whimsy dictates.
On Lord of Misrule, Blood Ceremony has traded in their peasant rags for a sleek form-fitting spacesuit (complete with fishbowl helmet and raygun) and their haywagon for a shiny chrome spaceship. This album sounds like a secret agent spy thriller in outer space in some parts to me, a virgin sacrifice on a beach during the summer of love in others and I dig all of it. Retro-futurism by way of The Zombies is the sound that exactly … no one was expecting and yet, it works because this band has earned the trust of a base audience of tens of thousands.
How long before the cynics lambaste the band for being predictably unpredictable? “Ugh, another album, another totally unexpected direction … saw it coming!” Shut up hypothetical future hipster ~ Lucas Klaukien – ‘LK Ultra’ (Paranoid Hitsophrenic)
9. GREENLEAF – Rise Above the Meadow
Released February 26, 2016 / Stoner, Hard Rock / Sweden
They’ve already hit the Doom Chart hard, taking the seventh position in February and the first Spot in the March edition. Which is only just, since their sixth album has us enjoying amazing refrains and most importantly antes up in a big way. The record is much more energetic and rousing than their earlier work and wants to truck over you like a thundering fully loaded ironclad. They’ve chucked all the ballast overboard and gone for the full blast of the stomp. And a righteous stomp it is! Sure a track like Levitate And Bow (Part 1 & 2) boasts all the balance and dynamics a song might need. But for the most part, we have bulldozer of riffs and pounding drums on our hands… And isn’t that exactly what we want and what we crave?! ~ Joop Konrad (Stoner HiVe)
8.ELEPHANT TREE – Elephant Tree
Releases April 22, 2016 / Stoner, Blues / UK
I was fortunate enough to witness Elephant Tree play live in Manchester a couple of weeks ago where they were one of many highlights during the course of the day, but were the only band where you could close your eyes and just soak up the emotion dripping from riffs that soared through the clouds like the towers of a godly Citadel. So it is with their self titled album ‘Elephant Tree’ which is an album of majestic, yet brutal heaviness. This is a celestial roller coaster ride, all you can do is gaze around you in awe, mouth agape as you become swathed in cosmic gossamer. Listening to ‘Elephant Tree’ you imagine stars collapsing all around you, being violently sucked into Black Holes and then gently cradled back to freedom.
‘Elephant Tree’ is an Empryean tome of Supernal hymns, and will be worshipped by the congregation ~ Steve Woodier (The Shrieks From Below)
7.WO FAT – Midnight Cometh / NEW!
Released May 22, 2016 / Blues, Stoner / USA
Swampedelic Rockers – Wo Fat return with their sixth album – Midnight Cometh. It sees Wo Fat return to their earlier blues rock based sounds though the heavy doomy psych stoner metal vibes from past albums are still present. With the guys now signed to Ripple Music from Small Stone Records, it’s good to see they haven’t lost they’re appetite for all things psychedelic.
Midnight Cometh includes the Wo Fat trademark style of epic spaced out trippy jams with doomy influences of things that go bump in the night. Kent’s vocals are strong as ever as he is in his element here. Along with the other members – Tim and Michael – Wo Fat never out-stay their welcome as they show the world who are the masters of Swampedelic Stoner Metal.
Some people may prefer their previous album – The Gathering and I will admit the music is more assessable on that album. However, Midnight Cometh has a doomier and slightly more gloomier approach to their previous albums. Midnight Cometh is perhaps their heaviest, most far-out and doomiest album to date. Believe the hype, Wo Fat have created a MONSTER ~ Steve Howe (Outlaws of the Sun)
6.BUS – The Unknown Secretary / NEW!
Released March 10, 2016 / Heavy Metal, Proto-Doom / Greece
Bus rides onto the doom scene , with a retro sound that blends the roots of power metal with the roots of doom. This could easily be a tribute to the first Angel Witch album from 1980 which is considered a legendary early doom classic . This album is full of energy and emotion and demands repeated listens ~ Paul Rote (Doomed & Stoned)
5. BEASTMAKER – Lusus Naturae / NEW!
Released March 25, 2016 / Doom / USA
I’ve been calling this the “album of the decade” and I’m not sure I’m being hyperbolic here. Right in the middle of the album you have a perfect, PERFECT trio of songs in You Must Sin, Burnt Offering and Mask of Satan that give me everything I’m looking for: heavy riffs and catchy hooks in abundance. Actually, Find the Stranger, It and Astral Corpse are no slouches either, so we’re talking like 6 songs in a row that are absolutely perfect. Well, if I’m going to be honest, it’s all 12 songs on this album, really. You haven’t heard a band this consistent and prolific in the heavy riff department since Pentagram. This is even the type of band to get into some drum riffs. A creative drummer who doesn’t try to overshadow the band is worth his weight in fried chicken. And everybody likes fried chicken.
Lusus Naturae is the soundtrack to nights in a forest, Beastmaker gives substance to every creature you ever imagined lurked and stalked behind you. Do you understand what I’m saying here? There are no weaknesses with this band ~ Lucas Klaukien – ‘LK Ultra’ (Paranoid Hitsophrenic)
4. HOLY GROVE – Holy Grove / NEW!
Released March 18, 2016 / Doom, Stoner / USA
The album as a whole is one of the finest albums you’ll hear. It is heavy, full of killer riffs, drum beats, and vocals to die for. It’s already in the front running for one of the best albums released in 2016. There’s no doubt about it that it will be on many year end lists as we get near 2017 ~ Bill Goodman (The Evil Engineer)
3.GRAVES AT SEA – The Curse That Is / NEW!
Released April 1, 2016 / Sludge / USA
Where to start with this thunderous epic journey…? The sound… Immaculate production, the clarity and depth of every aspect of this album is exceptional – scathing dry vocals, orchestral riffing, and colossal drums. Plenty of light and shade throughout the album too, though satisfyingly it’s heavy on the shade. The heavy lightens up for a few minutes at the outset of the soundscape and interwoven melody of the 15 minute+ The Ashes Make Her Beautiful, a track which opens with some melancholic quiet moments before crashing in with a surging, majestic riff. The only other real let ups from the heavy comes in the form of ‘Luna Lupus Venator’, an interesting medieval viking sea shanty sounding interlude, and the last few minutes of Dead Eyes. The word epic falls a bit short in describing this album – every track is filled with twisted rhythms, exhaustive menacing riffing and cathartic lyrics delivered with venom. This album feels like an instant classic ~ Clint (Hand of Doom Radio)
2.CHURCH OF MISERY – And Then There Were None …
Released March 4, 2016 / Stoner Doom / Japan
I have to admit, I’m not much of a horror fan, nor do I own a Charles Manson t-shirt. I preface this because on the surface, Church Of Misery isn’t necessarily the kind of band that I usually gravitate to. That being said, I fucking LOVE them! The grooves are extraordinary, the riffs are peerless and the overall sense of despair in their sound has always been mesmerizing. Enter “And Then There Were None”… featuring a brand new lineup including members of Blood Farmers, Repulsion and Earthride, along with founding bass player and riff master extraordinaire, Tatsu. This album is definitely different, but still true to the legacy of the band. Short and to the point (by their standards), this album contains all the hallmarks of what COM does best… lyrics about serial killers, check (although this time they were written by Scott Carlson)… monster grooves, check… and riffs! Man, does this album have RIFFS!!! In addition, I must acknowledge the guitar work of Dave Szulkin from Blood Farmers, who did an amazing job on this album. His tone is a little more restrained and his style a little less frantic than albums past, but the power is there… the slinky evil stomp is there… basically he fucking killed it. The album rules, the band rules, and whatever happens going forward, this album can take it’s place among the rest of the COM catalogue as a glorious glimpse into the almighty power of Sabbathian Riff Worship at it’s finest! ~ Pat Harrington (Electric Beard Of Doom)
1.CURSE THE SON – Isolator / NEW!
Released March 18, 2016 / Doom / USA
Lysergic rock soundscapes are pouring out of the majestic fuzz visceras of Isolator with sluggish fury and so they stun the senses, numb the body and intoxicate the brain with their abysmal doom aura and thanks to the rich talents of Curse The Son who sprinkle their grandiose heavy sound with hazy sludge touches and almost imperceptibly grunge hues and funk timbres that accentuate their muggy stoner aesthetics, we are offered an extremely heavy and almost irresistible album of high stoner/doom quality. Wonderful ~ Lyk (Phantasmagoria)
Thanks again to everybody who contributed to this month’s list, these folks help give voice to the underground, so support them by checking out their respective sites:
Billy Goate (Doomed & Stoned); Bill Goodman (The Evil Engineer); Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect); Cam Crichton (Motherslug); Clint (Hand of Doom Radio); Cosmic Eve (Crypt of Despair); Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist); Gruesome Greg (Gruesome Chews); Joe Owen (The Blog of Doom); Joop Konrad (Stoner HiVe); Lucas Klaukien – ‘LK Ultra’ (Paranoid Hitsophrenic); Lyk (Phantasmagoria); Mari Knox Knox (Doommabbestia); Melissa (Doomed & Stoned); MeteorJadd (The Ripple Effect); Paul Rote (Doomed & Stoned); Rod Reinhardt (Captain Beyond Zen); Skip (The Burning Beard); Steve Howe (Outlaws of the Sun); Steve Miller (Vertical Chamber Apparatus, Heathen Harvest); Steve Woodier (The Shrieks From Below); Timon Menge (Sludge Worm Magazine); Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter, Stoner HiVe); Ulla Roschat (Wicked Lady) and Vasilis Durden (Heavy Lifting CLV).