Welcome to Doom Charts, representing some of the finest bloggers, journalists, radio, podcasters and album reviewers from the heavy underground around the globe. Each month, our critics submit their picks for the best new doom, sludge metal, stoner-psychedelic and heavy 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…
It’s that time of year again, stockings are hung, trees are trimmed, turkeys and few other critter that frequent holiday dinner tables are looking for a prime hiding place, and us bloggers and columnists who write for the Doom Charts are putting the finishing touches on our year end best of lists. I struggled in naming my number one album this year. The top 11 records in my countdown all at one point during the year were serious contenders for Album of the Year for me. This week as I finally sat down to write up my top 25, I discovered that there were still six albums that I wanted to name number one. So, how did that all shake out, keep on reading. For albums 11-25 I’m only providing the band, album title, my favorite track from the record and the Bandcamp link. For the top 10, I am providing a brief write up this week. I follow up on my web site, I Talk To Planets, next week.
25 Clouds Taste Satanic – Second Sight
Favorite Track: Second Sight.
24 Howling Giant – The Space Between Worlds
Favorite Track: Cybermancer and the Doomsday Express.
23 Skunk – Strange Vibration
Favorite Track: The Black Crown.
22 Spiral Guru – Void
Favorite Track: Holy Mountain.
21 MIIST – All the Useless Spinning
Favorite Track: Philosophy of Pessimism.
20 Arrowhead – Coven of the Snake
Favorite Track: Ghost Ship.
19 Saint Vitus – Saint Vitus
Favorite Track: 12 Years in the Tomb
18 Baroness – Gold & Grey
Favorite Track: Tourniquet.
17 Witcher’s Creed – Awakened From the Womb…
More Cow Bell!!!
Favorite Track: Witcher’s Creed
16 Goatess – Blood & Wine
Favorite Track: Blood and Wine.
15 Candlemass – The Door to Doom
Favorite Track: Astrolus – The Great Octopus
14 Magic Circle – Departed Souls
Favorite Track: Hypnotized.
13 Crypt Trip – Haze County
Favorite Track: 16 Ounce Blues
12 Monocluster – Oceans
Favorite Track: Ocean in Our Bones.
11 Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Yn Ol I Annwn
Favorite Track: The Spaceships Of Ezekiel.
10 The Pilgrim – Walking Into The Forest
Put this album on, light up (providing you live in one of the eleven states or a country where that’s legal) kick back and relax. Let your cares melt away as The Pilgrim takes you on a mystical journey. This is a transcendent album, it’s damn near a high without drugs, it’s so smooth and mellow, calming. It’s my favorite record to blow off stress. Favorite Track: Brainstorm.
9 Merlin – The Mortal
Merlin’s follow to the well-loved album The Wizard from 2018 is this year’s The Mortal. My initial reaction was, “Not as flashy, or as adventurous as the previous release,” However, The Mortal is a solid, well-rounded effort that proves a satisfying listen with each successive spin. Filled with plenty of the usual sonorous saxophone, the band added flute, accordion, trumpet and omnichord to the mix this time around, to successful effect. The atmospheric opening eventually yields to Jordan Knorr’s vocals accompanied by a sensuous, sexy sax played by Stu Kersting. Doomy riffs pervade throughout the album, filling tracks such as side two opener The Mindflayer, the album closer, The Mortal Suite, the bouncy Basilisk, etc. I need to rethink my initial position on this record. Indeed, it’s more adventurous than The Wizard, takes more chances, pushes the envelope further… whatever cliche you want to think up, fits. But what it all means is, Merlin dropped another damn fine recording on the Doom community, and we’re better for it. Favorite Track: Basilisk.
8 The Well – Death and Consolation
A little three-piece from down in Texas – drums, guitar, bass. Stop me if you’ve heard this story before, LOL. Actually, don’t. The Well, hailing from Austin, Texas, two and half hours up Highway 10 from Houston where another little three-piece from Texas made its name, just dropped its third long-player in 2019, Death and Consolation. The band shows growth and progression on this effort. The band sounds tighter, obviously a product of playing together the past few years and gaining road experience. Guitarist and vocalist Ian Graham emerges a bit more vocally, to my ears anyway. It seems his is the dominant voice on much of the album, whereas on previous releases vocal duties were split more evenly with Lisa Alley (bass). The band has moved away from longer, meandering jams that appeared on earlier albums, favoring concise songs, with just two tunes checking in at more than five minutes long. Favorite Track: This Is How The World Ends.
7 Wizzerd – Wizzerd
Wizzerd’s self-titled debut really should rate higher than number 7, but when you have six number ones, what do you do? So number seven with a bullet. The record is a concept album. The first track, which consumes all of side one on the vinyl edition (and is not available anywhere else), is titled Druggernaut and tells the tale of a hash-filled asteroid that crashes into a dead world and brings life to the planet. The next few tracks set the tale, and then there is a song tied to each of the five band members/characters in the tale, plus one titled Wizzerd, who is the villain of the piece. Favorite Track: Warrior.
6 Church of the Cosmic Skull – Everybody’s Going To Die
On Black Friday, I mean Cosmic Friday, The Church of the Cosmic Skull surprised the Doom community by hurriedly releasing the follow-up to 2018’s breakthrough Science Fiction, titled ominously Everybody’s Going To Die. The new album is less ABBA and a little more doom in general than the previous effort. To me this band sounds like someone tossed ABBA, Black Sabbath, Jon Lord, a copy of the Principia Discordia and the Buggles into a random gene splicers and Church of the Cosmic Skull was the result. The new album still has the killer harmonies, but there is a little more crunch to the riffs this time, and a little more edge to Brother Bill’s vocals. Favorite Track: Everybody’s Going to Die.
5 Roadsaw – Tinnitus The Night
The mighty Roadsaw returned to the scene after nearly eight years between albums. They dropped a monster on us with Tinnitus The Night, ten track of face-melting, interstellar, stoner rock, space boogie. Highlights, for me anyway, come near the end of each side of the vinyl version, side one’s closer Peel has an incendiary guitar solo near the finish, and album closer Midazolam and Silence are a wonderful back to back one-two punch comedown after the the frenzied intergalactic trip the rest of the album provides. Favorite Track: Silence.
4 Legba – Hell
Legba is one of the best kept secrets in the doom/stoner/psych scene, and that’s unfortunate. This band deserves to be heard on a massive scale. Each of their three albums have been epic, and Hell may be the best of them all, methodically driven, with alternately clean and growled vocals, enough synths and airy spaces to lend a bit of light to the consuming darkness. Hell briefly occupied the number one position in an earlier draft of my top 25 countdown, but in a revision was bumped down to four. As I noted, the top six albums are fairly interchangeable. Favorite Track: Beaten Dead.
3 The Neptune Power Federation – Memoirs of a Rat Queen
All hail the Imperial Priestess Screaming Loz Sutch!!! The new album from the Neptune Power Federation, the band’s fourth and third with the Imperial Priestess behind the mic, takes the form of a travelogue – a time travelogue that is. Each song tells the tale of a particular point in time through the eyes of the Imperial Priestess as she experienced the events. Listeners are given the location and a date, and in the case of the European gatefold edition that I managed to pick up, a lyric sheet, and are left to piece out the details for themselves, such as Can You Dig? Isle of Man, 625. That date certainly refers to Edwin of Northumbria’s arrival. He would shortly convert to Christianity and conquer the Isle, and apparently the High Priestess bore witness. The only one I couldn’t piece out had the dateline “Station 825C1, 2203.” Favorite Track: I’ll Make a Man Out of You.
2 Green Lung – Woodland Rites
What an amazing album? I really thought this was going to be my number one record of the year right up until the final week before assembling my list. That’s when I flipped. Still, this record is deserving of high honors. By the time 2019 concludes the band’s debut album should hit one million streams on Spotify. That’s crazy for a self-released record. But it is such a rich album, steeped in doomy goodness, replete with fuzz guitars aplenty, witchy lyrics (I can’t get enough of May Queen or Into the Wild myself), and calls to “let the devil in.” Favorite Track: Into the Wild.
1 Bright Curse – Time of the Healer
Awarding the number one spot proved a Herculean task for me this year. The top six albums in my countdown are ALL deserving of the top honor, but only one album can be named number one and that album is Bright Curse’s Time of the Healer. Why? Well, this album did the little things that made it stand out from the pack, the use of the “Shamanic Flute” in Smoke of the Past, the extended percussion solo before the denouement in Time of the Healer, the inclusion of the Trumpet on Laura. Sure, other bands use non-traditional instruments in their work, I’m looking at you Merlin, and do it exceedingly well, but something about this record captivated me enough to push it narrowly ahead of the competition this year. Favorite Track: Smoke of the Past.
Special thanks to the ongoing contributors to the monthly Doom Chart. You folks help give voice to the heavy underground:
Aaron Pickford (The Sludgelord); Adam Walsh (Earmunchies); Andy Benson (Nerve Salad); A.S. Van Dorston (Fast n’ Bulbous); Bryan Coffey (Indy Metal Vault); Bill Goodman (The Evil Engineer); Billy Goate (Doomed & Stoned); Rob Blasko (VolumeForever.com); Bob “Mr. Weird Beard” Baker (More Fuzz Podcast); Bobby Rayfield (Trendkill Radio); Brandon Collins(Super Dank Metal Jams); Bryan Coffey (Indy Metal Vault); Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect); Clint Willis (Hand of Doom Radio); Chris Beck (Doom Tomb Podcast); Chris Latta (Indy Metal Vault); Doktor420 (Stoner HiVe); Doombeard (DoomBeardZine); Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist); Geoff Leapord (Atom Heart Mutha); Gram ‘Son of Sam’ Pola (Dirty Denim); Héctor “Mr. Heavyhead” Hurtado (More Fuzz); Hugo Hulleman (Metalfan.nl); Jamey Morris (Fistful of DOOM); Jason Roach (Indy Metal Vault); Jay Morgan (High Desert Valley Radio); Jim Thompson (Heavy in the Hills); Joe Eldridge (Shadebeast Records); John Gist, (Vegas Rock Revolution); Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe); Ken Elliott (Heavy Planet); Kyle Twadelle (Stoner HiVe); Leanne Ridgeway (Riff Relevant); Lucas Klaukien (Outlaws of the Sun); Lyk (Phantasmagoria); Magnus Tannergren (Into The Void Radio); Marc-Eric Gagnon (Stonefly Effects); Marc C. Pietrek (VITRIOL, INC / A DARK UNITED FRONT); Marcus Greybeard (FuzzHeavy Podcast); Mari Knox Knox (Doomed & Stoned); Mark Partin (The Ripple Effect); Martin Petrov (Rawk’n’Roll); Matt Slighter (Cheeto) (Hwy 420, Core of Destruction Radio) Matthew Thomas (Taste Nation); Matheus Jacques (October Doom); Mathieu Van Der Hert (Dutch European Stoner Rock); Melissa Marie (Doomed & Stoned); Melissa Spence, (Stoner Witch Radio); Mike Williams (I Talk to Planets); Pat Harrington (Electric Beard Of Doom); Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker (Riff Relevant); ‘Papa’ Paul Rote (Doomed & Stoned); Reek of STOOM (Stoner HiVe); Remi (Remi VL); Roberto Lucas (Denpa Fuzz); Roberto Fuentes (La Habitación 235); Rod Reinhardt (Captain Beyond Zen); Samir Asfahani (Super Dank Metal Jams); Steve Howe (Outlaws of the Sun); Steve Miller (Vertical Chamber Apparatus); Steve Rodger (God’s Holy Trousers); Steve Woodier (Shrieks From Below); Svempa Alveving (Into The Void Radio); Tanguy ‘Mr Fuzz’ Dupré (More Fuzz); Tom Hanno (Tom’s Album Reviews); Tom Schmahl (Rock Circuz); Tony Maim (Black Insect Laughter, Stoner HiVe); Tony Van Dorston (Fast n Bulbous)
Feel free to send in your albums to firstname.lastname@example.org where they’ll be delegated to the crew above to determine their thoughts and gather the votes at the end of the month. Leave us comments below and let us know what you think about the Charts.