It’s my turn to do this month’s Doom Charts. Getting quite good at doing this. Sorting the scores can be rather frustrating but I do get to discover a ton of great music that I missed when running Outlaws Of The Sun.
There’s bands on this month’s list that I didn’t even know about. So it’s a learning curve for me to broaden my musical horizons. You know the drill now how the Doom Charts Work. List of contributors are at the bottom. Though it’s the bands we have to thank for releasing such awesome music that we get to review and feature on our respective sites. Thanks must go to you fine folks for visiting and spreading the word about the Doom Charts.
OK, we know what you’re here for. So lets get started – Here is May 2016 Doom Charts.
~ Steve Howe
25. RED WIZARD – Cosmosis
Releases April 8, 2016 / Stoner / Classic Rock / Doom / Stoner
First track “Tides of War” opens with Wilburn’s rolling bass riff trading off against Iommi -esque power chords before the whole thing changes direction as the main riff kicks in. Von Ricketson and Lamontagne’s guitars stutter and slur over a foundation of thunderous percussion and bone shaking bass supplied by Kepler and Wilburn before Baucum enters into the fray , his deep throaty rasp roaring lyrics of blood, sword and flame. Von Ricketson lays down some seriously tasteful solos and licks over a groove that mixes Grand Magus-like heavy metal with Sabbath-ish traditional bluesy doom. It’s a perfect way to open an album and bodes well for what is still to come.
“Tinnitus” is next up and this time Red Wizard move away from the “traditional” doom of the previous track and instead take a trip to the “epic” side of the genre. Built around huge slow crushing riffs and underpinned by a thunderous rhythmic backdrop the song screams out for a big vocal and Baucum provides this in spades. The front man trades his gruff stoner/sludge growl for a more mournful slightly gothic tone, the JD soaked rasp remains but here it is reigned in, refined. Massive sounding and embellished with some nice guitar touches I can see fans ofThe Gates of Slumber and Solitude Aeturnus really digging this.
“Blinded” explodes next from the speakers its blues drenched doom grooves speckled with crunchy riffs, searing solo’s and tight solid rhythms, Baucum lays down a superb vocal as well as providing an absolutely exceptional harmonica solo, blowing his harp like a delta bluesman of old whose just found where he left his mojo.
“Cosmosis” opens in a frenzy of stabbed power chords and crashing bass and drums before Von Ricketson steps up to add in a deliciously simple but beautifully effective lead guitar motif. Baucum reverts to his epic, mournful tone, holding onto notes with a powerful vocal dexterity. At around the four minute mark the song takes a left turn into psych territory, Baucum roars/moans a wordless vocal over heavily effect laden guitars, intricate jazzy percussion and dancing bass lines before sitting it out to allow the rest of the band free reign to go wherever the muse takes them. Led Zeppelin fans may hear similarities to the famous middle section of” Whole Lotta Love” and like that song this one soons segues back into its main riff. It’s a trip!
The final three songs are a concept piece set into three short movements
“Red Wizard Suite Part 1” starts life with a jazzy fusion groove intro before erupting into a stoner doom monster that sees Baucum spitting and snarling out the vocals as Von Ricketson, Lamontagne and Wilburn lay down the fuzz and Kepler lays down the beat.
“Red Wizard Suite Part 2“is more or less an instrumental bridge between parts 1 and 3 and incorporates both neo-classical and bluesy guitar heroics, a bass solo and a solid, precise drumming display.
“Red Wizard Suite Part 3” closes the album and anyone familiar with, 70’s, Australian, proto-metal legends Buffalo will recognise a similarity to the riff from their song “Shylock” Whether intentional or not there is nevertheless enough originality in and around that riff for the band to claim this as their own, Raucous drumming, deep throaty clean vocals and enough fuzzy guitar and bass to fill a waste truck all combine to take to a close a very good and deeply satisfying album from a band who borrow a little from the past and bring it to the here and now.
Check it out..
24. ALEPH NULL – Endtime Sisters
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)
23. 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)
22. ELECTRIC CITIZEN – Higher Time / NEW!
Released March 18, 2016 / Hard Rock, Stoner Rock, Psych / USA
Born only three years ago… The young Cincinnati’s quartet is giving evidence at international level, to know how to juggle with the best in the Heavy-Rock scene, as their second album proves: “Higher Time” is the worthy successor of Saaten.
Guiding us in Higher Time is the hypnotic and fascinating vocal of Laura Dolan, undisputable protagonist in these ten energetic and fresh songs. Showing us a band with an intense composition vein. A band able to ranging through hard-rock ballad full of sparkling guitars, cleverly wrapped in a mystical/magical air thanks to the use of the organ and to the special guest musician Andrew Higley at keyboard/piano.
Electric Citizen have bang out an album that goes beyond all expectations. Dosing charming rhythmic , 70 years after-taste and a marked personality. An album that will surely appeals to fans and at the same time that is a good starting point for those unfamiliar with them. Listen to it on repeat and devour! ~ Mari Knox Knox (Doommabbestia)
21. 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)
20. HOREHOUND – Horehound/ NEW!
Releases May 15, 2016 / Stoner Metal, Doom Metal / USA
An album by a band who only formed last year (2015) should not sound this tight, this focused and this bloody good! Pittsburgh’s Horehound have, over the course of seven superb songs, proven that if your band is good enough then it should not matter whether you have been together five minutes or five years!
Horehound deliver stoner doom grooves drenched distortion and fuzz underpinned with solid tight rhythms and fronted by powerful and distinctive vocals. Harder, gnarlier and downright nastier than the current crop of female fronted bands inhabiting the “underground” rock scene Horehound play it real with feel and attitude. ~ Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist)
19.MERLIN – Electric Children
Released March 9, 2016 / Doom, Heavy Psych / USA
18. SOURVEIN – Aquatic Occult / NEW!
Released April 8, 2016 / Doom, Sludge Metal, Stoner Metal / USA
17. BLIZARO – Cornucopia Della Morte / NEW!
Released April 15, 2016 / Doom Metal, Hard Rock ,Psych / Italy
I’m just gonna come right out and say it: Blizaro is the best kept secret in doom metal. Their second official full-length album features a strongarm emphasis on proto-metal cavenman style riffs with Goblin-esque synth overtones. Roughly speaking, it’s what Bliz-heads have come to love and expect from the fertile mind of head Bliz-lord John Gallo. If you have even a passing interest in early heavy metal and 80s horror soundtracks, this is your band. You either love this band or you’ve never heard of them.
~ Lucas Klaukien – ‘LK Ultra’ (Paranoid Hitsophrenic)
16.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)
15.MERCHANT – SUZERAIN / NEW!
Released April 18, 2016 / Doom Metal, Sludge Metal / Australia
Australian Doom/Sludge Metallers – Merchant – create a bleak blend of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal. Merchant show huge potential on their debut album Suzerain as they create highly progressive Neurosis/YOB style sludge/doom sounds with the band injecting an almost blackened sludge metal feel to the mix.
The production is handled superbly well as the album has a rich and heavy complex sound that only adds to the highly volatile atmosphere of the album. Second track Morning Light is another progressive nightmarish track sees the band change their sound between post-metal, doom and post-black metal. It’s quite a bass heavy affair with the pounding drums leaving you in a daze at times. The vocals and lyrical content are very bleak which more than matches the harsh sonic riffs being played around you.
Merchant have created a menacing and quite frankly punishing album. It doesn’t offer any easy answer though Merchant will have you coming back for more punishment as they have created a stunning debut album that is bound to get them noticed in the Sludge/Doom Metal scene.
~ Steve Howe (Outlaws of the Sun)
14. BLACK RAINBOWS – Stellar Prophecy
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)
13.CURSE THE SON – Isolator
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)
12. 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)
11.MANTAR – Ode To The Flame / NEW!
Released April 15, 2016 / Sludge, Doom, Black Metal / Germany
Mantar are back with the follow up to their highly acclaimed “Death By Burning” album released back in 2014. And they’re back in fine form, picking up where they left off the last time, but seemingly not happy to just repeat what’s gone before.
Album opener “Carnal Rising” is a short sharp blast of Black Metal tinged punk as fuck sludge, which is the perfect way to kick things off. It bears the distinctive sound that this two man riff machine have perfectly honed during their time together, but hints that there is more to come throughout this record.
And Mantar don’t fail to deliver on that promise. You can tell at all times throughout “Ode To The Flame” that this is a Mantar record, but everything seems more intense. Yeah, you read that right. More intense. The riffs are more developed, and the drums are even more aggressive and expressive than before and the vocals filled with even more spite and passion. ~ Simon Ross Williams (Outlaws Of The Sun)
10. HOLY GROVE – Holy Grove
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)
9.WO FAT – Midnight Cometh
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)
8.SINISTER HAZE – Laid Low In The Dust Of Death / NEW!
Released May 7, 2016 / Stoner / Doom/ Psych / Sludge / USA
The new album from Sinister Haze (Laid Low in the Dust of Death) is the sound of desperation. The cries of a twisted soul falling apart at the seams. Dark as fuck and massively heavy, it almost loses itself in the low end of paranoid unrelenting frenzy. As if Blue Cheer went haywire and decided to destroy themselves while taking everyone down with them. It is a strange and uncomfortable sensation that is also immensely satisfying. A window into the psychedelic abyss, amplified and terrifying, if you linger too long, you might not make it back. ~ Pat Harrington (Electric Beard Of Doom)
7.GRAVES AT SEA – The Curse That Is
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)
6.KING BUFFALO – Orion
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)
5.BUS – The Unknown Secretary
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)
4. 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)
3. WITCHTHROAT SERPENT – Sang-Dragon
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)
2.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)
1.GOATESS – Purgatory Under New Managmenet / NEW!
Released April 21, 2016 / Doom / Sweden
Goatess return with their second album and play stoner/doom with a classic mix of scuzzy blues and rock. I was not too keen on their self titled 1st album – it just sounded like an obsessed 70’s hard rock cover band but this time around there is more aggression and more importantly, their own voice. Beautiful warm tones seep through the sound, giving the tracks a full, authentic sound that just sounds right – many bands try to get this but these guys have got it pegged.
Melody and groove are the keys that make the songs so strong. Riffs that are deep and heavy drive the band along, giving a solid, sonic base for the guitar solos to soar and shine.
The vocals are gruff/cleanish, meaning that passion can come through rather than just a inaudible roaring. Although Goatess are not an out and out doom band, the minor chords, vocal imagery and powerfulriffage certainly will satisfy anyone into the darker side of guitar worship.
There is a whole history lesson concerning vocalist Christus Linderson which will not be in this review!
Treading down the path set out by St Vitus and Pentagram, this band have made an impressive album that could sit nicely next to the aforementioned bands.~ Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter, Stoner HiVe)
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); Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist); Gruesome Greg (Gruesome Chews); Pat Harrington (Electric Beard Of Doom), 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).