This month the charts come a bit later than usual. Not blaming the current state of the planet, but it cannot be denied politics are eating up the interwebs, citizens and non-citizens alike are spouting unhealthy amounts of racism, fascism, trumpism, clintonism, brexitism, and all sorts of god awful hatred and opinions all over the atmosphere. What we need here is more DOOM! We all have in common over at the charts is we don’t give 2 shits about who our compadres over at the Stoner Hive blog are voting for, what The Evil Engineer is planning to do as president of the United States of America, or who LK Ultra sits next to at the back of the bus. The DOOM charts bring together a family of heathens far and wide with only one goal and that is to spread gospel written in the good book of Doom, Stoner, and Sludge. It was my privilege to handle the charts this month, as it was clearly a busy time of year for all involved. No matter what part of the world you’re from let’s not deny, we need a good break from the actual doom and gloom going on now in society. With that we present to you the July edition of the Doom Charts…..
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. 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 (The Ripple Effect)
24. ELECTRIC CITIZEN – Higher Time
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)
23. PLANET OF ZEUS – Loyal to the Pack / NEW!
Released 13 May 2016 / Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Stoner / Greece
“At a time in which individualism seems to be the ultimate solution for some, Planet of Zeus come back with their highly anticipated fourth album, “Loyal to the pack”, an ode to the benefits of teamwork. Being well known for their never ending signature heavy riffs, gritty vocals and dancing grooves, the band decided to “shuffle their deck of cards” and embark on a new musical direction, encompassing melody, clean, but heartrending vocals and a newly found sense of dynamics. This mixture seems to establish a signature sound for Planet of Zeus, a sound that takes the listener on a journey throughout the history of heavy music. From Lynyrd Skynyrd to Mastodon, the Allman Brothers Band to Queens of the stone age and AC/DC to Clutch.” ~Planet of Zeus
Greece’s Planet of Zeus tone down their usual southern tinged hardcore/stoner/sludge attack and add a little classic rock melody and structure to the proceedings…..it works! ~Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist)
22. GOATESS – Purgatory Under New Management
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.
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)
21. TEACHER – Teacher / NEW!
Released June 17, 2016 / Heavy Metal, 70’s Hard Rock, Proto / Seattle, WA
Listen up kids for you’re about to be indoctrinated with a healthy lesson of classic rock aided by blazing drums, pummeling guitar licks, and ragged vocal chops. Hailing to the forefathers of rock including Zep, Halen, and Cooper, Teacher portray their lecture loud and clear with a post-punk inspired exam on heavy groove. I’m hot for Teacher! ~ Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect)
20. BRIGHT CURSE – Before The Shore
Released May 13, 2016 / Rock, Metal, Space, Stoner, Psych, Doom / UK
Bright Curse have shown, with their debut album “Before The Shore”, that the art of song writing is thankfully still alive and well. The London based trio take what is essentially a 70’s classic rock blueprint and inject into it elements of psych, hard rock and good old stoner/desert grit, and not content with just stopping there they then add into these grooves old fashioned values, often omitted from modern rock music these days, melody and arrangement. Combine all this with superb musicianship and super cool vocals and you have an album that fully deserves its place not only here in the DOOM CHARTS but in any chart willing to promote good music! ~ Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist)
19.ANCIENT WARLOCKS – II
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)
18. WO FAT – Midnight Cometh
Released May 20, 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 their appetite for all things psychedelic….
….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)
17. RED WIZARD – Cosmosis
Released April 8, 2016 / Stoner, Classic Rock, Doom, Stoner / USA
This is bold. I mean really BOLD. Psychedelic Stoner Metal with a huge portion of Doom and Heavy Metal. I’m late listening to this album but finally I’m happy to hold this masterpiece in my hand and now I jump around with a steady grin on my face. The album starts with three catchy hits “Tides of War”, “Tinnitus”, and “Blinded”, all jam-packed with great guitar riffs and licks, excellent bass lines and awesome drum playing. But if you think Red Wizard played all their cards, you will realize that their musical universe widens up to a more complex and diverse world. The center of this album is a Psychedelic Doom trip to the Red Wizard universe called ‘Cosmosis‘, which exceeds the ten minute mark. ‘Red Wizard Suite’ in three parts is the grand finale, which I would call a Heavy Metal mini opera in the widest sense of the word. To conclude the massive, impressive vocals on this album is the real kicker – the cherry on the cream cake! Epic and dope. ~ Rod Reinhardt (Captain Beyond Zen)
16. CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION – The Moon
Released May 8, 2016 / Doom, Rock, Stoner, Blues, Prog, Psych / US
Cambrian Explosion’s second EP “The Moon” taps into your soul, it’s sometimes soothingly smooth, sometimes startlingly jagged grooves swirl around you like an early morning mist enveloping you with its seductive warmth, filling your being with its shifting moods and colours, swathes of sound layered on top of each other to create a whole that at times is just breathtakingly beautiful and at others crushingly brutal. ~Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist)
15. LIMESTONE WHALE – Limestone Whale
Released May 27, 2016 / Stoner, Blues, Psych, Hardrock, Doom / Germany
The German Limestone Whale show us to have full control of their sound that crosses multiple influences, without dwelling too much on them but transforming them into colorful compositions. They express it with an album that leaves you breathless, composed of seven tracks flowing like a load stream of acoustic emotions and feelings from the good karma, able to capture moments, suggestive images and sensations through bluesy components, streaked with soft psychedelia but from deep hard-rock roots, with plenty of references to bands that have made history; A successful tasty sound cocktail! enjoyable from beginning to end!! ~ Mari Knox Knox (Doommabbestia)
14. FARFLUNG – 5
Released 26 May 2016 / Rock, Space, Psych, Stoner / US
We had to wait no less than eight years after the superb A Wound In Eternity album to be treated to a new full-sized album by space rock motherfuckers extraordinaire Farflung! Recorded among others at the fabled Rancho De La Luna studio and with aid from not only hero Dave Catching, but also Nik Turner (Hawkwind) and Gene Trautman (QOTSA, EOFDM) the new record entitled 5 is a true hallucinatory headspin! A highly mesmerizing vortex that does not let up for one minute….~Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
13. LORD VAPOUR – Mill Street Blues
Released May 12, 2016 / Seventies, Rock, Psych, Stoner, Desert, Doom / Guernsey
2016 has seen some top releases so far and Lord Vapour’s Mill Street Blues is certainly no exception. It’s tough to really pinpoint where they’re going with this. One moment they’re playing fuzzed out desert rock ala Kyuss, the next, a low key doomy piece with plenty of blues infused. Bits of 70’s based hard rock and proto metal added to the mix give you one of thee most diverse albums around. ~ Bill Goodman (The Evil Engineer)
The song titles suggest sleaze and the durations propose classic doom. What we have is somewhere in the middle, nothing earth shattering, nor philosophical, just balls to the wall, party rock anthems sung in the key of Lemmy and the tone of Truckfighters. ~ Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect)
12. ASTRAL CULT – The Sacred Flame / NEW!
Released June 20, 2016 / Doom, Rock, Psych, Stoner, Desert, Occult / US
With clean vocals dripping in reverb throughout, these dudes play intricate passages that mange to keep your attention from wandering. Big hypnotic grooves give you a trip into the more psychedelic realms of doom by riffing to an almost mantra like refrain that lodges deep into your cortex fluids on a primal level to make your body slowly jerk and move to the primitive and shamanistic tunes that have clearly been spawned by unclean
thoughts and in-pure impulses to damage people with slow, fuzzed guitars and low-end tuning.
Monolithic is a phrase sometimes overused in this genre but I will make an exception for Astral Cult. Huge sounding with killer refrains give this band a massive edge over other bands within this genre. Wah fuzzed solos fry your brains and scream through the air – this album will surely take some beating for pure riffage this year. ~ Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter, Stoner HiVe)
11. LORD VICAR – Gates of Flesh / NEW!
Released May 27, 2016 / Doom, Metal, Heavy / EUR
Having various members of Saint Vitus and Reverend Bizarre in a line up means that Lord Vicar should know a thing or two about Doom. So no surprise that meaty riffs and a general heaviness resonates throughout this album. There is a groove and trippiness to the guitar work that brings it out of “doomier than thou” genre and head nodding gets replaced with old school head banging. Great production and song composition add layers to this slab of riff worship and will please both old and new fanatics of this music. ~ Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter, Stoner HiVe)
10. SINISTER HAZE – Laid Low In The Dust Of Death
Released May 7, 2016 / Stoner, Doom, Psych, Sludge / USA
Sinister Haze‘s debut album may sound like a disjointed and noisy effort but that’s only a rouse for the band to pound you with some insane heavy riffs. The band play a mixture of Noise, Punk. Stoner, Doom and good old fashioned Garage Rock as the vocals give these guys a seriously wicked attitude to match. It isn’t the most polished of sounds but who cares as the band deliver a thrilling spectacle of heavy rock with the band creating a few original sounds of their own. The album feels like a greatest hits collection rather than a debut album. The band fully hit their stride when they play their last epic song – A Buried Dream. A doom laiden and surreal journey the band deliver with sinister confidence. Laid Low In The Dust Of Death is a superb album for everyone to witness. ~ Steve Howe (Outlaws of the Sun)
9. LOOKING GLASS – Volume 4
Released March 14, 2016 / Stoner, Rock, Doom, Psych, Metal, Prog / Australia
“As the head monkey in charge of the Doom Charts you hear about a lot of bands that you don’t always get around to actually hearing. There’s one band out there that an entire continent was screaming for me to listen to and that’s Looking Glass from Australia…” ~ LK Ultra
“Looking through the fuzzy Glass of Volume 4 reveals a sonic landscape of heavy, groovy RAWK. The melodic riffs are tight, the magnetic solos are ethereal and the charming vocals bring it home with an atmospheric croon. Equal parts metal, psych and stoner blended to perfection!” ~ Bucky Brown
“Looking Glass smash it out of the ballpark with an album filled to overflowing with gnarly prog metal riffage, powerful complex rhythms and top notch vocals.
Mesmerising!” ~ Frazer Jones
8. SLOW SEASON – Westing / NEW!
Released July 15, 2016 / Stoner, Blues, Psych, Hardrock, Psychedelic / US
Slow Season is known to be from the temple of Led Zeppelin worship. Their first two albums are a fine example of some of the best 70’s hard rock that Led Zeppelin never got a chance to write. Westing sees the band writing what one would consider their IV album but it’s so much more. Although not long epic songs, Westing contains a bit more laid back jams while still retaining that short and simple rock that they’re known for. In a nutshell, you need to listen to this album. ~ Bill Goodman (The Evil Engineer)
7. OAK – Oak II / NEW!
Released June 26, 2016 / Rock, Progressive, Doom, Stoner, Desert, Fuzz / UK
About seven months ago we were treated to the debut four-track by London quartet Oak. A fine ride that was full of grit, testosterone and wild ideas. That EP definitely hinted at a tree in its infancy. One that needed to grow and bear fruit before we would truly be able to appreciate it in all its glory. Well, the brethren have now released a new four-track and it is, without a doubt, a grander one than their debut. On the EP simply titled II, the desert still shines through on occasion, but only so it could deliver the heat and the vistas on tracks like Against The Rain and A Bridge Too Far. For the opening and closing part they move into growling biker and stoner, almost well, sludgy territory. Or perhaps not, cause opener Mirage definitely still shimmers like that grand band from the desert that started it all. And closer Smoke feels like an entirely different bookend, a slower heavy groove that lumbers through a landscape filled with intense guitar work and fuzzy riffs. All four tracks are a completely different and marvelous heavy animal. And heavy is as heavy does and Oak does everything exactly right!” ~ Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
6. STONED SPIRIT – Spirits of Zos
Released May 21, 2016 / Rock, Stoner, Hardrock, Metal / Greece
Slow burning stoner riffs with a hauntingly doom drive amplify like rock and roll spirits in a moonlit desert. The vocals veer in and out of sinister wales to melodic echoes as the creamy riffs blister with a groove-laden psych and the twisted melody rings over the heavy blues crusted atmosphere. ~ Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect)
5. GOZU – Revival / NEW!
Released June 10, 2016 / Hard Rock, Metal, Stoner, Groove / US
From the most anticipated albums list earlier this year:
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!
With enough rhythmic horsepower to crumble stadiums, the heavy rock act have released what may be their strongest yet, and most powerful Ripple release to date. Gaffney’s electric vocals paralyze the airwaves backed by the unparalleled groove tighter than the straps on a loaded 18-Wheeler chugging across the open highway! Essential hard rock album of 2016! ~ Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect)
4. MEPHISTOFELES – Whore / NEW!
Released May 20, 2016 / Experimental, Doom, Stoner, Psych, Metal / Argentina
Hell, I didn’t even vote for this new trippy looking album, nor did I even know it existed prior to this months chart. But I tallied the scores and saw how high in the charts it ended up with no choice but to give it a shot. There is no kidding why it had more votes than 21 other albums on this months charts, and more than 100’s of others submitted. The distortion is vivid, the haze is thick, and the doom is groovy as fuck. There’s an occult vibe at play here, plus there is a hot chick smoking weed on the cover. At a $4 price tag this Whore is cheap, and well worth transmitting its filthy riffs upon your special spot! ~Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect)
3. VOKONIS – Olde One Ascending / NEW!
Released May 25, 2016 / Rock, Doom, Stoner, Psych, Metal / Sweden
Sweden. One of those chosen countries. And definitely when it comes to all the heavy stuff we all love so dearly. The list of amazing bands coming from that country is simply endless, and new ones pop up every day. Some of which ofcourse stem from outfits that stopped for whatever reason at the time. One of them is Vokonis, comprised out of members from Creedsmen Arise and Ginger Trees. A power trio in every sense of that word. Powerful. Heavy. Doom. Stoner. Metal. All of it applies to a maximum and all of them fall short in telling the real story of Vokonis. For that you will have to experience the full force of the six amazing tracks on their debut effort called Olde One Ascending. They dipped deep into the pool of Iommi and drank heavily of everything Sabbath and Sleep while clashing their cups which are filled to the brim with majestic riffs and exalted repetition with fellow countrymen Monolord. Like the laugh of a man sentenced to death, their trucking sends shivers down your spine. And even though all the tracks have that hazy stoner doom edge, they all have a very own atmosphere and identity. And they are all of such a high level and transcending nature one can only expect Vokonis to rise and reach even greater heights then what was expected or the Creedsmen. Yes, that Ozium Records label knows where the truly good stuff can be found. Yes, Olde One Ascending is solid, roadworthy and amazing. Smoky tunes for gnarly beards drowning in pints of lager. We love it! ~ Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
2. MESSA – Belfry
Released May 6, 2016 / Ambient, Doom, Metal, Drone, Industrial, Occult / Italy
Spaghetti western doom is a term not often used to describe a band, in fact I just made it up right now. But that’s what you get with Messa. Their first foray into the popular conscious, ‘Belfry‘ is a sprawling hour long affair that moves like a spectral wraith across the badlands at dawn. It’s female fronted doom from Italy with a western twinge in places, or at least that’s what I hear. It’s all-new, all-different and it’s excellent. Picture Clint Eastwood as the Man With No Name pitted against John Carpenter’s The Thing and you’ll begin to understand what’s going on here. ~ LK Ultra (Paranoid Hitsophrenic)
1. COUGH – Still They Pray
Released June 3, 2016 / Doom, Metal, Sludge / USA
It’s hard to believe it, but COUGH is back in action after six years of wondering whether the band was still a thing or one of those legendary acts that, whose members you half-way expected to see on the back of milk cartons and post-office bulletin boards stating, “Have You Seen Me?” The world has changed a lot since they left, not least of which is we die-hards have gotten a lot older and a whole new generation of heavy music listeners have grown up, discovering Cough years after the fact through weekend-long online music binges and those periodic Facebook group shares of ‘Crippled Wizard’ (2010), their iconic last effort. I hardly ever fall for buzz, and I’ve got next to no budget for vinyl, but when Cough’s third LP was announced out of the blue a few months back, I pre-ordered it immediately. Many of us have been craving another cathartic release from the Richmond outfit for some time. Today, Mr. Postman rang my doorbell and my heart about leaped through my chest. ‘Still They Pray‘ (2016 – Relapse Records) is finally here. Now that it is, I’m at a loss for words. Cough is a band that has always challenged me as a writer. How does one put music into words, especially when these strange sounds elicit such strong and personal emotions? Capturing the attitude and demeanor of this elusive Richmond quartet is challenging. Perhaps now is the time to simply listen. The words will flow in due time. What I can say for the time being is that you simply must soak in that stark album opener, “Haunter Of The Dark,” experience the excruciating emotion pain of “Possession,” and soak in every ounce of despair inherent in “The Wounding Hours.” Even some of the slower, softer numbers on the record (perhaps the biggest surprise of ‘Still They Pray’) have grown on me since the digital promo fell into my hands. With Jus Oborn producing, the entire record is ripe with ambience that makes every track a bone-chilling, hair-raising experience. I recommend it especially the after-dark hours (it is midnight here in Oregon as I scribe this). What more is there to say? Light a candle, take a hit, and give ear… ~ Billy Goate (Doomed and Stoned)
Thanks again to everybody who contributed to the July 2016 Doom Chart list, these folks help give voice to the underground, so support them by checking out their respective sites:
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); Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist); Lucas Klaukein – ‘LK Ultra’ (Stoner HiVe, 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); 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); Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter, Stoner HiVe); Tanguy Dupré – “Mr Fuzz” (More Fuzz).
This July 2016 edition of The Doom Chart was edited by Bucky Brown.