“But there was only that silence, as in the five or ten minutes before a vicious thundersquall strikes, when the purple heads stack up in the sky overhead and the light turns a queer purple-yellow and the wind dies completely and you can smell a thick aroma like overcharged car batteries in the air…” ~ Stephen King, It
It’s a fine and weird bunch. That congregation of heavy music fiends that send in their lists every month. Most of those lists differ so much that it really takes all of the lists to arrive before a final tally can be done. And as we wait for those list, the air, pregnant with anticipation, seems to shimmer and flicker through all the different possibilities. For some of us dwell on the dark side, the black, the malignent and the for ever praised doom. Others take to the psychedelics, the heavy blues and the stoner trek through a steamy desert landscape. But all of those heavy and underground albums are equally amazing and appreciated by all of us. There are once again eighteen new releases featured on this March edition of the Doom Chart. And it could have been about a hundred and eighty…
Can you imagine? A list that would go on and on. We would not have time to eat, drink and barely to breathe… But with such an amount and an end result of only twenty-five amazing albums on the list we publish there are a few that only just fell off. Like Bask and their Ramble Beyond album, Libido Fuzz and their A Guide Into Synesthesia or the self-titled Witchers Creed record. But hey, next month there will be a new edition of the Doom Chart. And everyone of those might just end up somewhere on that edition..
Welcome to Doom Charts, representing some of the finest bloggers, journalists, 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. Spidergawd – IV – NEW!
Not often enough does an album eat its way into your soul demanding repeat play and coaxing fits of euphoric bliss quite like the fourth long player by Spidergawd. The combination of proto-drenched energy, blues induced melodies, and overall hard driving intensity dominates on every song. If you were a fan of their previous efforts you will be rewarded handsomely with IV, as the vibes are tantalizing and the outcome mind blowing. It gets better and better on every listen and it’s only a matter of time before the spine tingling sensation throughout the latter half of “What Must Come to Pass” (edit. or The Inevitable) takes over mankind and solves world hunger. ~ Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect)
24. Super Snake – Leap of Love
How the hell do Super Snake exist? Their debut album Leap Of Love is a mixture of sounds that shouldn’t really work. Sleaze, Doom, Stoner, Psych and Hard Rock all covered with a dark twisted pop sensibility. Imagine if Black Sabbath went down the Noise Rock route but took a left turn with flashes of Torche-esque pop sludgy riffs. This is a dirty groove laiden riff fest with great tracks such as Leap Of Love, Lie4U, Sister Margaret and Take My Breath all contain heavy epic moments that could rank as some of the weirdest and wonderful sounds you’ll hear this year Leap Of Love is my fave album so far this year. A sleaze-stoner-doom-pop extravaganza. ~ Steve Howe (Outlaws of the Sun)
23. Ordos – House of The Dead
Listening to Ordos for the first time recently brought to mind a more menacing low end version of the iconic desert swagger of Lowrider. Granite heavy rhythms throughout, and vocals spanning the spectrum from clean to ferocious, this is one hell of an album. An instant bandcamp purchase if ever there was one. ~ Clint Willis (Hand of Doom Radio)
22. Earth Witch – Out of The Shallow – NEW!
The gritty chased vocals, the throbbing pulsating doom and the righteous heavy blues. It is all there on the new Out Of The Shallow album by the illustrious Illinois trio Earth Witch. With the extreme paradox of creating simple and effective tracks that sound wild and colossal at the same time. The perfect amalgam of something stoner, classic metal and every bit of heaviness they could get their hands on. Nothing short but pure gold my friends! Pure fuckin’ gold! ~ Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
21. Thorr-Axe/Archarus – Split – NEW!
One thing to keep in mind while listening to the split is that it’s not “based on” The Hobbit. In a sense, this is The Hobbit. Another obvious hint that this is not your traditional split, is how it was pieced together. Sure, many metal bands write songs based on fantasy elements. However, Thorr-Axe and Archarus don’t allow themselves to be limited in how they present the recording. Intricate guitar melodies, fierce war-like rhythm and heavy riffs ensure this is epic split is one that you will make you want to listen to the whole damn thing all over again. ~ Melissa Collins (Doomed & Stoned)
20. Kujara – Three Days – NEW!
London, UK’s Kujara blend into their heavily psyched stoner refrains touches of Alice In Chains-like alt- rock atmospherics and vocal melodies as well as elements of early Radiohead and Kyuss, mixing them up between passages of dark moody grunge and stuttering stonerized hard rock, utilizing quiet/loud/quiet aesthetics both vocally and musically to create a sound that is both hard rocking and seductive in equal measure. ~ Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist)
19. Cloud Catcher – Trails of Kozmic Dust – NEW!
Driven by the the influences of heavy blues laced 70’s hard rock bands like (early) Grand Funk Railroad, Cream and Mountain and salted with touches of Hendrix-esque guitar pyrotechnics Trails of Kozmic Dust is very much an album born of the past but existing in the present. Cloud Catcher are no retro band trying to recapture an age however, these guys bring into their heavy rocking 70’s grooves elements of todays doom, psych and stoner, blending them with those of yesterday and creating a sound that although having its roots firmly planted in the past still manages to sound fresh, exiting and in the now. ~ Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist)
18. Mage – Green – NEW!
Their bandcamp tag reads “Goddamn Heavy” and this 26 min offering does not disappoint. Stoner rock blasts out, mixing Doom and proto-metal into the mix. A healthy punk attitude make sure the riffs are meaty and heavy with an urgency that comes across as a head banging fix. The rock is strong in this one. ~ Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter, Stoner HiVe)
17. Acid Wolf – Acid Wolf – NEW!
Covering most bases in the classic stoner realms, Acid Wolf have offered up a rock solid and entertaining EP. With a heavy lean, there are elements of Kyuss, Lowrider, and the huge lumbering Goatsnake low end thunder. This is a very cruisy listen, one which would markedly increase your chances of a speeding ticket if you had it hammering while driving. Very cool band for sure. ~ Clint Willis (Hand of Doom Radio)
16. Curse The Son – Isolator – NEW!
Last month we saw the sudden appearance of an album released in 2015. Stone Troll’s Recoil album suddenly caught a weird updraft and sailed on that wind to the ear and heart of a lot of us out there. We can only state that something like that has happened again, this time however, thanks to a proper vinyl release via The Company. The resurgence of Curse The Son’s record Isolator. Which rode high early 2016 and made it to the Number One spot in April that year. But since everything is cyclical, we turn on to the album once again, but now on clear vinyl, and nod our heads to those seven majestic tracks… ~ Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
15. OHHMS – The Fool – NEW!
OHHMS’ full-length debut is a journey of musical composition, through doom metal fact and progressive rock fiction. The record is appropriately furnished with different tracks that all morph to create a successful album. We are essentially all fools in that many of the answers to our own questions are carried within us or just within our grasp, however we require an outside storyteller to guide or understand our expedition. This is an impressive album, analogous to this previous belief, with numerous harmonious symbols of the Tarot that specifically tell and foretell one’s excursion through a heavy, encyclopedic progression of sludge rock. At one point I was almost possessed to tear up my wooden floor just to walk over the naked earth beneath and discover my destiny through a shuffle of the cards. ~ Nick Palmisano (Outlaws of The Sun)
14. Hyborian – Vol.I – NEW!
Hyborian: Vol I is the debut album from Progressive Sludge/Stoner Rockers – Hyborian. If you’re a fan of Mastodon, Baroness and Crowbar then you’ll be mightily impressed by this album. As Hyborian play a fast and furious blend of Sludge/Stoner Metal that leans towards the more progressive side of things. With a touch of psychedelic spaced out sounds spliced into the action. The vocals are more clean based that means you can concentrate on the groovy riffs at the same time. People may complain – “Not Another Mastodon/Baroness Clone” and I can see why they may think that of Hyborian. Though appearances can be deceiving as Hyborian inject a more direct psych/spaced out sound with cool ideas of their own. The album only runs for thirty mins and Hyborian don’t waste a single second or riff. Every song has been written and played to a tight timescale and the album becomes more exciting as a result. ~ Steve Howe (Outlaws of The Sun)
13. Hark – Machinations
What we have here folks, is a molten temple of aural sludge raging with blustery hard rock blues, and radiating with an essence of heavy progressive metal. Jimbob and Company have once again succeeded in capturing the perfect combination of hasty sludge metal meets satiating groove. For fans of early Baroness, Taint and latter day Mastodon. ~ Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect)
12. Spaceslug – Time Travel Dilemma
Spaceslug‘s new album – Time Travel Dilemma – is a worthy follow-up to last year’s debut album. This time Spaceslug have become heavier and spaced out as result. Parts Monster Magnet and Sleep style sonic vibrations allow the band to create their own style of spaced out sounds. Expect to hear impressive guitar solos towards the end of the song with ambient noises giving the album a more epic feel compared to their debut album. The vocals from Bartosz – drift in and out at different times as Spaceslug let their music be in full command. Time Travel Dilemma is superbly produced throughout. Spaceslug deserve credit for creating such a vast universe on this great album. Time Travel Dilemma is a magnificent album. What more can be said, apart from you need this album. ~ Steve Howe (Outlaws of The Sun)
11. In The Company of Serpents – Ain-Soph Aur – NEW!
I’m confident to say that at this point the fellas in In The Company of Serpents can out-neurosis the mighty Neurosis, which is no small feat. This record is both dissonant and heavy. The album opens with the subdued intro of Middle Pillar which spends about a minute easing you in before it absolutely rips your face off for the next 7 or so minutes. The next track Nothingness sounds like the background music to a dark spaghetti western and leads the way into the amazing Crucible. The first 4 minutes play as a raspy, jazzy stomp before utterly exploding into a massive wall of bone crushing sound. Merkabah is a another raspy acoustic number that is dark and unsettling. Limitless Nothingness is a short little banjo(?) and noise track that leads into the final, heavy as hell destroyer that is Limitless Light. 12 plus minutes of heaviness personified. I can not recommend this album enough. ~ Todd Stealey (Outlaws of The Sun)
10. Goya – Harvester of Bongloads
Goya has smashed open the doors and bashed in the windows to shine a bright green beautiful light of miserable disgusted angst on all your fears. This is the sound of modern nightmares come alive, and it’s the most exquisite release I’ve heard from Goya to date. ~ Leanne Ridgeway (Doomed & Stoned)
09. The Devil & The Almighty Blues – II – NEW!
Can you believe their first album was released in 2015? Ye gods, it feels like yesterday. And it actually was the day before I received their sophomore record simply entitled II that I listened to the first offering by The Devil & The Almighty Blues. Man, how I love that debut record. So, the expectations were high. Pretty damn high. Well, each and every one of those are met. This is blues with a capital B and a whole helluva lot of heaviness. Powerful, soulful and intense. These five cats from Oslo have outdone themselves, go check it out and be amazed by their almighty blues! ~ Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
08. Alastor – Black Magic – NEW!
To be honest, I felt someone else would definitely write something much better and to the point about the new Black Magic album by Alastor. For some reason the tracks had not and would not speak to me, or so I assumed. Man, was I wrong. The four Swedes have produced a three track, over thirty minutes long steady doom march towards an inevitable death by fire. The lackadaisical floating vocals follow the rhythmic expanse, which remains cumbersome throughout. It is this slow and steady trek that not only worms itself into your brain. It also nestles deep in your blackened heart. This is doom metal voodoo, which Alastor does so well… ~ Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe)
07. Devil’s Witches – Velvet Magic – NEW!
The Devil’s Witches debut, Velvet Magic, is a concept album witnesses a strong fascination for the sixties and seventies psychedelic vibes, along with a deep interest in the brutality of Vietnam War. Over the course of these eight tracks, this overwhelming narrative crosses us over into a new reality. Both in terms of composition and execution, this is surely an impressive work before us. Devil’s Witches creates a suggestive atmosphere by intoxicating effects, close to being a shamanic ritual with the echoes of a carpet bombing in the background. Go give it a listen and you won’t regret it! ~ Mari Knox Knox (Doomed & Stoned)
06. Pallbearer – Heartless – NEW!
There’s just more going on, from meticulously layered guitar passages that twist, turn and wind down all sorts of mesmerizing staircases, to subtle acoustic flourishes and backdrops of effected soundscapes, to melancholy harmonized vocals. There are even more tempo changes, key signature switches, the versatility in the vocals, and clever changes in tone and texture than on the previous album, and the production is even more stunning and meticulous. What’s most impressive is how subtle and slow burning it all is, how fluid and free, like the no-form of Bruce Lee’s metaphysical martial arts. This is a modern masterpiece deserving of every iota of praise that’s thrown its way, paying tribute to the masters like Candlemass, Trouble, and the New Wave Of Heavy Metal, yet it’s delivered with such urgency that it’s just as immediate as it is an instant classic. ~ Matthew Thomas (Taste Nation)
05. Attalla – Glacial Rule – NEW!
Heavy proto-doom grooves dripping with fuzz and distortion laced with occasional Iommi- esque guitar colouring would be enough to get any doom fans juices flowing but there’s more to Attalla than just Sabbathian riff’n’roll. These guys know how to structure their songs for maximum effect laying tar thick doom grooves over barrages of tumultuous percussion into which are injected pyrotechnic, swirling guitar solo’s, licks and fills all coated in strong powerful vocal tones. If you thought the bands self-titled debut Attalla was as good as it gets then wait until you hear Glacial Rule … it will melt your face, your heart and your speakers! ~ Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist)
04. Forming The Void – Relic
Forming The Void have taken things to the next level with their new album Relic filling every nook and cranny of its eight songs with a dark, and at times mouth dropping. array of deliciously dank lysergic groove all furnished in swathes of slow, low distorted guitar riffage, brutal thrumming bass and earthshaking percussion. Over this humungous tsunami of raw progressive tinted stoner metal are floated powerful cryptic and mystical lyrics sang with strength and passion, slightly monotone but clean and delivered with a power to match the tumultuous heavy grooves surrounding them. All this and an absolutely barnstorming version of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, what more could a discerning stoner doom fan possibly ask for… ~ Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist)
03. Mothership – High Strangeness
Mothership‘s High Strangeness official release on March 17th may launch this Dallas, Texas trio from their Earth-hovering orbit right to the outer limits. Judge Smith and the Juett brothers’ third full-length album presents a seasoned sound, solid songwriting and a noticeable confidence in Kyle’s vocals that may just change the course of the Ship’s trip. ~ Leanne Ridgeway (Doomed & Stoned)
02. Telekinetic Yeti – Abominable – NEW!
In their debut work Abominable, Telekinetic Yeti deliver a high caliber sound and great sonic power that transits between elements not always easy to classify, which provides an attractive and high-level sound experience. It can be said that the basis of its sound, the sustenance of the house, is the pairing of a thick and bulky Stoner Rock with a Doom Metal with latent lysergic nuances. But it is possible to emphasize a approach with elements that are different, referring to paths like Sludge and Progressive Metal. All very well founded by mastodontic riffs that whip the air and seem to want to devour everything around. ~ Matheaus Jacques (October Doom)
01. The Obsessed – Sacred – NEW!
The mythos of The Obsessed returns with the fantastic milestone Sacred. The album is an extensive musical journey that spans time through all eras of this iconic band as the past, present, and future meld into one massive, cohesive musical statement. The first truly valid contender for Best Album Of 2017 has arrived! ~ Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker (Taste Nation)
Special thanks to the ongoing contributors to the monthly Doom Charts. You folks help give voice to the underground:
A.S. Van Dorston (Fast n’ Bulbous); Billy Goate (Doomed & Stoned); Bill Goodman (The Evil Engineer); Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect); Clint (Hand of Doom Radio); ‘Doktor420’ (Stoner HiVe); Doombeard (DoomBeardZine); Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker (Taste Nation, Riff Relevant); Gram Pola, Son of Sam (Dirty Denim); Pat Harrington (Electric Beard Of Doom); Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist); Leanne Ridgeway (Doomed & Stoned, Riff Relevant); Lucas Klaukein – ‘LK Ultra’ (Stoner HiVe, You May Be Dead & Dreaming); Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe); Lyk (Phantasmagoria); Mari Knox Knox (Doomed & Stoned); Martin Petrov (Rawk’n’Roll – the ‘pass-me-that-bottle’ webzine); Matthew Thomas (Taste Nation); Matheaus Jacques (October Doom); Melissa (Doomed & Stoned); MeteorJadd (The Ripple Effect); Papa Paul (Doomed & Stoned); Rod Reinhardt (Captain Beyond Zen); Skip (The Burning Beard); Steve Howe (Outlaws of the Sun); Steve Miller (Vertical Chamber Apparatus); Steve Woodier (Shrieks From Below); Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter, Stoner HiVe); Tanguy Dupré – “Mr Fuzz” (More Fuzz).
This March 2017 edition of The Doom Chart was tallied by Bucky Brown and edited by Joop Konraad.