It’s been another banner year over here at the Doom Charts. We’ve beefed up our crew, listened to more music than any year before and made it harder on ourselves to come up with our year end lists. I took the easy route and used my votes from throughout the year and tallied them all up to show you a top 50 of how they scored with a few minor tweaks. Why reinvent the wheel right? Anyway, these were basically my Doom Charts favorites this year as I voted each month. My actual favorites list would include many more albums that are not necessarily heavy enough to fit in with the Doom Charts and you can see those albums scattered around the internet at some point I imagine. I know I left off many great albums, but I had to draw the line.
Bucky wrote all those wonderful little intro pieces about the other contributors. So I reckoned someone else needed to write one for him… There is one word that comes to mind when we think of the honorable Bucky Brown: Omniscient; The man knows all and is everywhere! All the time! How the man does that beats the hell out of me? Do we thank him enough for all he does for the heavy underground and the Doom Charts in particular? I seriously doubt it. Cause ever since the man joined the Doom Charts and took hold of the reigns, things have become more structured, without losing the freedom the contributors all desperately need. He does all the tallying of the votes every month, he whips us all into action to receive those votes and stirs around in the contributors pot to get all the blurbs done. And in timely fashion as well! I bow deep before Mr. Brown, take my hat off and whistle some kind of ominous tune! Here are the favorite albums of 2019 by Bucky Brown, the omniscient one! ~ Joop Konraad
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…
50. WARLUNG – IMMORTAL PORTAL
49. YEAR OF THE COBRA – ASH AND DUST
48. WITCHER’S CREED – AWAKENED FROM THE TOMB…
47. MARS RED SKY – THE TASK ETERNAL
46. JESS BY THE LAKE – UNDER THE RED LIGHT SHINE
45. ACID ALICE – THE ROAD
44. SOLACE – THE BRINK
43. MERLIN – THE MORTAL
42. HOWLING GIANT – THE SPACE BETWEEN WORLDS
41. AMBRA – COR
40. METHADONE SKIES – DIFFERENT LAYERS OF FEAR
39. LAMASSU – INTO THE EMPTY
38. HORSEBURNER – THE THIEF
37. STONE PRIEST – PALLOR MORTIS
36. DJIIN – THE FREAK
35. PALACE IN THUNDERLAND – THE KING OF THE EMPTY AEON
34. DOMMENGANG – NO KEYS
33. SATURNA – ATLANTIS
32. ALMOST HONEST – SEICHES AND SIRENS
31. PESTA – FAITH BATHED IN BLOOD
30. WAINGRO – III
29. THE COSMIC TRIP ADVISORS – WRONG AGAIN, ALBERT
28. WINTER MOON – MAKE REAL MAKE BELIEVE
27. STONERROR – WIDOW IN BLACK
26. WITCHES OF GOD – INTO THE HEART OF DARKNESS
The album opens with one of the catchiest songs of the year in the heavy underground realm and doesn’t let up. Coming in at #20 on the July Doom Charts this Brazilian quintet is a force to be reckoned with. Big phat grooves, melodic vocal lines and spacedelic harmonies make Void a top priority for your ear holes. Favorite track: Signs.
Just when you thought they couldn’t get any better, Gods & Punks are back with another opus of cosmic doom from the steamy tropics of Rio. The sinister slappage of bass rattles viciously as the commanding fuzz shreds in the spirit of early The Sword and ferocity of modern psychedelic doom.
The progressive textures lurking among the heady fuzz and intricate quirk recalls Pink Floyd meets TOOL or something weird like that. This one WILL grow on you once you let it set in. Holy shit!! All the playing is there. Funky grooves, powerhouse rhythm, hazy undertones, and psychedelic meanderings. Its got it all and it slays
Sacri Monti are the epitome of Southern California heavy psych. What happens when kids raised on a healthy diet of Pink Floyd, empty pools, and the Pacific sunset? You get kick ass punk infused progressive jams in the vein of Grand Funk meets Golden Void. Melt away my friends, the magic hour is upon us. Favorite track: Fear And Fire.
The way the vocals grate against the sublime riffs and solos makes those little hairs on your neck stand on end then chop them apart with their metallic edge. Sounds as if these dudes were raised by Dixie Dave and King Diamond in some weird rock and roll fantasia.
This is some wicked, wicked heavy psych. One moment you’re getting swept away to a desert dreamland, the next crushed by giant riffs made of molten lead. Seasons of Uiu is a grower and a shower and has ranked on my Doom Charts list multiple months this year.
The retro tones are on point loaded with a hard swagger of blues and crunched out fuzz.
You’re probably gonna want to keep your AOTY checklist handy and mark HDCs debut near the very top. If the downright voluptuous groove going on at the beginning, middle and end of the song Treehugger doesn’t swoon you then perhaps the lustful vocals, swirling psychedelic guitar harmony, or bodacious bass lines will. FFO Black Cowgirl!
17. LO-PAN – SUBTLE
Lo-Pan continue to push the envelope each and every release. ‘Subtle’ hones in on their signature groove with precision and intent. Although the ‘b’ is silent in the title the ‘b’ in that bass line is heard loud and clear. The album trends logarithmically each and every track exhibiting growth and poise as we all expect with a new Lo-Pan album. Well done gents!
Scoring high multiple months on my own Doom Charts submissions, Gran Duca smother us with an insane amount of groove and luscious vocals that will bring a grown man to his knees. Heavy and intoxicating. Certainly, a top album in its class and one not to let slip by your radar. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you push play and let you head bobs do the talking.
If you’re not convinced by the shear force tingling your spine upon the conclusion of song one City of Ghosts then you’re in luck. The entire album is a massive progression from earlier GCG works delving into much more of the classic rock side of the spectrum while still maintaining that brute Canadian grizzle. Dual guitar harmonies, organ driven melody, production that hits you like a ton of bricks, and AL’s refined vocals proving the Yeti can sing with the best of them. Mark your year end lists, Masters of Space and Time is here to stake its claim. Favorite track: City Of Ghosts.
Gin Lady continue on their progression towards yesteryear with another stunning output of harmonious groove. The comparisons are present including the Allman Bros, Neil Young, Roy Orbison and a faint ring of Wildflowers era Tom Petty. The band have proven their worthiness next to the noted comparisons on an immaculate 5 album run only getting better with each. I can say in confidence that Gin Lady are one of the most impressive rock bands I’ve heard in the last 20 years based on consistency and quality. Favorite track: Into The Wasteland.
12. BIRDSTONE – SEER
The artwork had me before even listening. I am a sucker for those bronze colors and style of artistry. There is something truly special going on here. The bluesy licks have a golden sheen shadowed with vintage psych and etched in occult. SEER would make an excellent vinyl package. I want inserts, posters, and actual snakes to go with the annihilating aura of proggy fuzz. Favorite track: Alquézar.
Talk about down and dirty riffs with a swagger heavier than a ten ton hammer and an aura as smooth and refreshing as a high mountain glacier. What an unmistakable guitar tone matched by the perfect touch of vocal grit and esoteric blues. Always in contention for someone’s year end list. Don’t forget about TRE. Third album and out earlier this year on Blues for the Red Sun.
Nightstalker have become one of my favorite stoner rock bands. They really know how to write that groove that hits so soft and smooth both vocally, fuzzily, and rhythmically. Great Hallucinations ticked all the boxes for me including its trippy album cover, and also made its way into my vinyl collection.
Obsidian Sea take a more melodic approach on ‘Strangers’ loaded with progressive hooks and classic doom harmony. The eerie tempo and sinister chops flow well into the gargantuan groove throughout. This should garner a broad fan base with a more accessible edge than Dreams, Illusions, Obsessions, without downplaying the heavy structure. And how about that gorgeous vinyl!!!
Thundering rhythm, cosmic energy, blinding riffage, punishing psychedelic energy; all symptoms of ‘Head Pain’ by Rainbows Are Free. Those commanding tones are also remedies, in a jaded scene of saturated Sabbath wannabes, revealing pots of aural gold at each end of the spectrum.
A snippet of a conversation I had with John in the band as the album was about to release:
“For me you guys are doing a lot of what I love, taking the metal genre and adding so much more to it. The occult vibes on the new one are present as well as progressive rock right up front and center. Everything about it flows together seamlessly and feels fresh and exciting.”
6. LEFT LANE CRUISER – SHAKE AND BAKE
This is how the heavy, dirty blues is done. Mandatory vinyl order based on one lead single alone and it only gets better. This was one of my most played albums of the year, and ironically I think I was the only one who voted for it even a single time all year. You folks are all crazy.
Fantasma Nera takes their dark and grungy styling to the next level with peaks and valleys of sublime riffs and alluring melody.The vocal harmony strikes bone deep and the songs have a strong sense of hook while maintaining a swift under current of hardcore roots. Kings Destroy are the masters of melodic dirge. Favorite track: Fantasma Nera.
What else can I say that hasn’t already be said? Woodland Rites has claimed its right as one of 2019s top contenders in the realm of the heavy underground. The grandiose harmony between the sweeping guitar leads, occultish vocals, sophisticated use of the organ and bluesy squeal of the solos keep you on edge throughout. The groove is melodic, atmosphere crisp and the songwriting landing somewhere between Elder and Uncle Acid.
IV is one of the most powerful, heavy and emotional albums released this year. Not an easy listen but one that over powers you with grit and passion.
The backwoods boys from the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada bury more than just the hatchet on this exhilarating output heavy blues. Kings of the rhythm and masters of grit induced groove, Dylan and the crew will put a smile on your face and a shiver in your spine. The songs are genuine and translate excellently in a live setting. Plus Brett on bass, Dave on drums and Dylan on guitar/vocals have a chemistry unmatched in today’s field of hard stoner blues.
‘Blood and Wine’ stirs the stoner/doom pot with a new singer and a knockout elixir of melodic energy and slow churning groove. Riffs splatter like the slaughter of sheep under the influence of a jug of Carlo Rossi. Blood and Wine folks; AOTY contender for those into all things heavy and red. The gold foil embossed 2LP gatefold is pretty nifty if I might add.
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.