What a year it has been once again. Rock has been declared dead so many times. Or declared a Titan Arum that bloomed for the last time around the seventies an equal amount of times. But it seems the heavy side of rock just keeps on blooming. It’s just different nowadays! Because of the internet or perhaps thanks to the internet. There are so many outlets to find the music to suit your exact taste. I personally just hope that all you crazy music fiends out there keep on trying out the other stuff as well. Cause we can all get swamped in our own little niche of danceable stoner pop, blackened doom or grimy garage sludge. But there are so many amazing album being released on a monthly basis. It is stupendous, insane and absolutely stunning. Below follows a list of thirty albums that did a lot for me on many levels. But I can just as easily name twenty or fifty more that also did a lot for me. And that’s just the heavy stuff. Looking at the thirty I sent in; I’m thinking: ‘what the hell?!’ How can you leave off Nightstalker? Or Lunar Effect? Or Ealdor Bealu? Solace? Horseburner? Emily Jane White? Or those two amazing records that were released at the very end of December 2018: Pfund and Son Cesano? It feels wrong, and it feels like I should revise the entire list again. Or even just include them all. All of the ones that I love. Well, I guess I just loved the thirty below just a tiny, almost unmeasurable, amount more. Upwards and Onwards in 2020! Let’s get heavy once again! ~Joop
Joop Konraad is a legend in the scene, building the Stoner HiVe empire and constantly putting in the time and effort to share with the world the fantastic music of the heavy underground. He always has something cool to say and below you’ll find his personal favorites from 2019. Be sure to follow his blog as they’ve got a killer annual countdown every year with a wide variety of tunes. Shit, I’ve found several on Joop’s list I hadn’t heard of yet. Hope you find a new favorite as well.
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…
30. Planet of The 8’s – Tourist Season
29. Per Wiberg – Head Without Eyes
28. ZED – Volume
27. The Grand Mal – The Grand Mal
26. Warp – Warp
25. Lo-Pan – Subtle
24. Ulysses – On Safari
23. Gold – Why Aren’t You Laughing
22. Cold In Berlin – Rituals of Surrender
21. Torche – Admission
20. Obsidian Sea – Strangers
19. No Man’s Valley – Outside The Dream
18. Gin Lady – Tall Sun Crooked Moon
17. Howling Giant – The Space Between Worlds
16. Roadsaw – Tinnitus The Night
15. Year Of The Cobra – Ash And Dust
14. Crypt Trip – Haze County
13. Green Lung – Woodland Rites
12. Spidergawd – V
11. Luna Sol – Below The Deep
10. Monomyth – Orbis Quadrantis
9. Saturna – Atlantis
8. American Sharks – 11:11
7. Zoahr – Off Axis
6. The Devil And The Almighty Blues – Tre
5. Black Wizards – Reflections
It frightens me a little bit that I’ve seen so little lists containing the Reflections album by The Black Wizards. The third full-sized album of these four Portuguese crazies arrived just in time for me to take it with me as we went surfing just north of Lisbon. Perhaps, that fact has added to my sincere love for this album. The psychedelic good shit, the swirling groove, the proto atmosphere and all that freakishly delicious fuzz. Bluesy by default this record takes you on an easy ride through the cosmos; on a ship that seems to have found out how to perfect playfulness with momentum, drama and composition. Those slowdowns, that frame of reverb and the guitar color; it just perfectly reflects where I was at during that summer and it still does. Forever a favorite!
4. Wallace Vanborn – A Scalp For The Tribe
During the recording sessions at Rancho De La Luna for their last album The Orb We Absorb, producer Chris Goss showed Wallace Vanborn vocalist and guitarist Ian Clement there is more behind the curtain off this thing we observe as ‘the world’. For those who are open to it, it is like diving deep into the wind, like finding out reality is nothing but a tiny ripple on what we commonly refer to as the universe. It sent him spinning out of control and into something a kin of psychosis. Not completely happy with Goss, for what he did, without warning about the consequences, he went off the rails completely, struggled to get back and wrote a damn fine solo record called ‘See Me In Synchronicity’. But now he truly has returned with this Wallace Vanborn amigos and delivered something bordering delusionally amazing called A Scalp For The Tribe. More direct and less complex than the former album this one grabs your throat, screams its message in your face and runs off in the other direction. Leaving you flabbergasted and unsure of what just happened. You just got scalped buddy! You will not be the same afterwards and the tribe will love you for it!
3. Arrowhead – Coven Of The Snake
We had the honor to write about the Arrowhead release Coven Of The Snake for the Doom Charts back in July. The thick fuzz, the dense grooves and the magnificent riffs were and are mouthwatering and breathtakingly beautiful. It’s intoxicating, those sun-dried Australian tunes! They will make your mind drift back towards the atavistic stoner bands, the proto metal outfits and the doom gods. It is that good. And then some. It’s rock. Menacing, tough, resilient rock. It’s heavy rock. Weighty and full of dept this album sees Arrowhead grow fully into their own. Atomsmasher was freaking great, Desert Cult Ritual was damn good, but Coven Of The Snake is amazing! It stands tall, head above the grass, proud and with a fist balled in victory. Can’t wait to catch these crazies live one day!
2. John J Presley – As The Night Draws In
It was the drummer from Phe that tipped this album. I noticed he advertised buying the album and I felt a small stab in the heart that he had not yet notified me about this new discovery. So, I went ahead and discovered it myself. As The Night Draws In is John J. Presley’s debut release and it is filled to the brim with his very own take on story telling blues; its atavistic, poetic, dramatic and wild. The music meanders through the stoner landscape, the heavy rock scene and the doom influences remind you of something you cannot quite remember and something that just lives deep inside you. It is different and yet it feels like a long lost heavy diamond by artists like Nick Cave, Mark Lanegan or David Eugene Edwards. There is so much brooding under the surface and even though there’s always that pregnant tension on every track; it also dissipates when the following arrives. At which point it starts again; either with loads of distortion, a massive amount of fuzz or some earth shattering noise. So incredibly soulful, so heavy and so loud, this is one hell of an debut album!
1. Kamchatka – Hoodoo Lightning
I had been following and digging Kamchatka since their sophomore Volume II release back in 2007. I tracked back to the debut and kept rocking out to what came next. But then in 2014, The Seach Goes On was released. A definite visit to the crossroads shun through. They met the Devil, sold their soul and came out with something so incredibly good. The mixture of seventies heavy blues, stoner trucking and psychedelic free garage rock has this wild and ferocious inevitability. It’s a visit to a highly volatile volcanic landscape and dancing upon its surface with your arms stretched out. And like they state themselves; think about Cream, Zeppelin and Hendrix but with a Robin Trower or Warren Haynes approach. It’s groovy, it’s funky and it moves like a caged tiger ready to pounce. Yes, I’m still talking about an album from 2014 while I should be talking about the new Hoodoo Lightning released at the end of November this year. Well, I never expected them to even come close to that album. But they did. Hoodoo Lightning packs the same amount of punch! It spins around its axis of fast paced blues and it all comes across intensely powerful. Hardrock grafted on that seventies spirit, full of energy and a majestic groove. The first two track seem to serve as whirling intro to take the listener to a state of bliss before the dark Hoodoo magic truly explodes! Highly addictive!
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.