“You see, there’s nothing to do anymore. Everything decent has been done. All the great themes have been used up, turned into theme parks. So I don’t really find it exactly cheerful to be living in the middle of a totally exhausted decade where there’s nothing to look forward to and no one to look up to….
….I like the idea that a voice could just go somewhere uninvited like a dirty thought in a nice clean mind.”
~Mark Hunter (Pump up the Volume, 1990)
As the mysterious Mark Hunter preached in the cult classic Pump up the Volume, released back in 1990, the feeling of despair is as relevant today as it ever was. The difference now being we have dedicates blogs and websites along with thousands of new and eager bands everywhere to challenge and pay homage to the great themes of yesteryear. We are amidst some revolutionary times in both music and humanity. We’ll stick to what we’re good at here being the hard, and heavy underground music. At the Doom Charts we like to think we’re doing our part to divert the chaos from the real world into the peaceful anarchy of our stereos. This pandemic can’t compete with the heavy underground for much longer. We’re at our breaking point and so are our speakers. Let’s put the doom and gloom that dominates the news outlets and world politics on mute and pump up the volume with the top 30 albums currently on rotation decided by the Doom Charts voting booth for the month of May.
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…
The new War Cloud record is glowing with a unique energy and badass rock n’ roll attitude. In a fair world, and without Covid-19, the band’s feeling for the distinct rock n’ roll is a perfect blessing to experience on stage.
We’ve love the fact that Horisont has always made the record they wanted to make. Not once holding back on any of the curves they see before them. And guess what, on their new album Sudden Death they’ve decided to even up the ante on that one! It is still seventies rock; but every aspect of those seventies come up in some form or another. A little bit of prog here, some folk there or even AOR for a guiding line. But a lot of it just seems to be seventies based melody love! There is no straight line here. It’s a rollercoaster! And some people will tell you that slow is good, keep the beast in a straight line – and it may be, on some days – but I am here to tell you that fast is better. Fast, curvy, full of torque and with a definite set of balls!
The groovy fuzz is trampled with the purest vocal grit this side of the Minneapolis riots. Not only do the riffs scuff the bar room floor with intense hook, but they mop it up with thick rhythm and blues. R.I.P. Jake you would be proud of what your mate Jared has done since your passing. This album is on fire.
Out of virtually nowhere and with no fanfare Shogun suprised everyone by releasing probably their best album to date, “Addendum”, a superb mixture of stoner rock, grunge, proto-metal and classic rock. In a time when we are consistently being bombarded by surprises we didn’t really want (coronavirus, lockdowns etc.) it is nice to get one we do.
21. DOPELORD – SIGN OF THE DEVIL
(Doom, Metal, Sludge, Heavy Metal)
Sign of the Devil is the fourth album of Dopelord’s ascending evolution. An epic collection of the best and most powerful riffs they have recorded. A homogeneous, dark and overwhelming album, “Doom bastards” been the highest peak of the whole album! Sign of the Devil is the most complete work of Dopelord, Hail Satan!
A promising debut by the Paraguayan band. A deep and dark doom inspired by the great figures of Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General, Candlemass and Coven, all perfectly executed with a vocal cloak that covers the slow and heavy riffs with mystery.
19. THE SONIC DAWN – ENTER THE MIRAGE / NEW!
(Hard Rock, Heavy Psych, Acid, Garage )
The Sonic Dawn don’t so much play Retro – they ARE Retro! Farfisa-riddled bubblegum meets proto-prog in a jaunt through Pebbles- era Utopia! A truly delicious ear and mind feast best served real chilled!
~REEK OF STOOM
18. WITCHSKULL – A DRIFTWOOD CROSS / NEW!
(Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Stoner, Doom)
Witchskull’s newest album ” A Driftwood Cross” on Rise Above Records is pure hellfire into your ears. This 3 piece band from down under (Canberra) follows up 2 excellent albums and doesn’t disappoint as they chug along with a driving force that gets your feet moving quickly and head bobbing. Front man Marques De Pasquale’s (formerly of Looking Glass) vocals haunt throughout this exceptional album as he continues to be a unique player. This is an early Album of the Year candidate as Witchskull is carving their path with heavy rock that has a familiarness to it while crafting songs that stick in your brain that has you craving for more.
A conceptual work in which the mystique of the desert is reflected in calm and heartbreaking songs where the legacy of the “King Lizard” is evident in the vocal records of Tiaca Serrano, both his voice and guitar. Ten songs that meander through sensory states more typical of a peyote journey full of mysticism, in which the transition between day and night relates the evolution of life as a perpetual cycle. Songs that flow calmly between the cacti and the solitude of the desert under chords of blues, jazz, classic rock, Latin rhythms, but fundamentally from that shamanic psychedelia that Morrison offered us decades ago.
Much like the military operation of the same name, this Desert Storm ARE the U.K.’s weapon of mass destruction! With pinpoint precision guided smart bomb compositions, their 5th studio album “Omens” delivers musical might amid its aurally significant portents. Once this 5-star quintet invades your stereo on their mission to metalize, you will be at the ready to enlist, then engage, and let the Desert Storm rage!
How has it come to be that Maryland’s grooving Stoner /Doom Metal ‘Faith in Jane’ puts out album after album yet is one of the most underestimated trio of proficiently skilled musicians out there.’Mother to Earth , their 7th release is chock full of their trademark Stoner-Psych/Doom wall of sound with DNA straight from the best of the 70’s along with some Allman Brothers honey weaving through-out. Dan Mize’s guitar is in your face riffing, his vocals so damn strong they lead the way. Brendan Winston (bass player), just pushes out these awesome thick, pulsing grooves that, combined with Alex Llewellyn’s pounding, rhythmic drums, hold the line and tie it all together. Rachael Stouter brings her wonderful cello into the song, “Lonesome” Epic? You bet. Don’t miss this.
14. FAMILIARS – ALL IN GOOD TIME
(Heavy Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Progressive Stoner, Fuzz)
Familiars’ All in Good Time is an album that resonates with the sounds of psychedelia, blues, and stoner vibes. I find that this is a great album to listen to in headphones, on the stereo, or wherever you are; for proof, check out the track called “Homestead”, I guarantee that you’ll be hooked instantly.
I’d never heard Kayleth until this album, but I’m so glad that I have now. The swirling space sounds, the massive riffs, and incredible vocals all add up to one of the best albums to come out in recent months. If you haven’t checked them out yet, then now is the time to dig in, and dig in at high volume!!!
12. JOINTHUGGER – I AM NO ONE / NEW!
(Heavy Metal, Doom, Heavy Psychedelic, Occult)
You know for sure when you’re listening to something that a band has put all their souls into. The sweetest perfection when it comes to everything surrounding the band.
Jointhugger from Horten, Norway have given me all the things I admire about music; Slow, suffering and sorrow, Sabbathian magic, clean vocals, harsh and heartfelt screams, sorcery and pain, heaviness and metal, the power of the riff, and
the unconscoiusness of floating tones. These are the chronicles of Jointhugger.
11. ETHEREAL SEA – FORGOTTEN MEMORIES OF TOMORROW / NEW!
(Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Psychedelic)
Ethereal Sea’s grooves, on “Forgotten Memories of Tomorrow”, “swing” like a cradle in a wind tunnel, they can make you sway, dance or just want to jump up and down , they are soulful, warm, joyous and have that indefinable ability to make you feel damn good. If you are looking for a possible album of the year then this little gem could well be a contender.
The godfather of Desert continues to reflect his legacy on his self-titled album “BRANT BJORK”. With thirteen albums behind him, and a twenty-plus year career, at this point he no longer needs to vindicate himself to anyone, and this is reflected in a work which he himself composed and plays all the instruments. Increasingly rooted in funk sounds, BRANT himself states that this work is his true creative nature. Gone are those moments when heavy rhythms had a greater role. At the moment BRANT BJORK is in a period of maturity, and this is reflected in slower songs, but not without force. If there is something that strikes me about the album, it is the rhythmic capacity that all the songs have, something that he has been showing in his latest works.
If ever an album title and artwork encapsulated the ethos of a band then it’s Groovy by Geezer. Their signature heavy, trippy, blues infused sound emanates from every groove on this record and this power trio from New York have also seemingly found their spiritual home at Heavy Psych Sounds Records. To help lift us out of these globally gloomy times Geezer invite us all to embark on a cosmic journey of groovy enlightenment. Can you dig it?
8. ELDER – OMENS
(Progressive, Rock, Heavy Psychedelic, Doom)
Obtaining a greater number of followers for their cause every day, in this album they immerse themselves with a greater depth if possible in the complicated territory of progressive rock without losing the heavy sound that saw them born. This time through five long tracks they play lush, intricately intertwined melodies that grow and dissolve equally among their massive riffs. Now, with a new formation with Michael Risberg on guitar and George Edert on drums, together with Fabio Cuomo on the piano and synthesizers, they build an exuberant album in which the legacy of bands from the last century such as Yes or the Rush themselves are very present in their compositions. The psycho-progressive songs seem to be the ones that best adapt to your musical proposal to offer its best version.
The tracks have a similar structure regarding the progression of their intensity; with a development many times more typical of King Crimson’s experimentation and symphonic developments that you never know where they will take you.
7. MOUNTAIN WITCH – EXTINCT CULTS / NEW!
(Doom, Hard Rock, Sabbath Worship, Proto-Metal)
Northern Germany’s cult retro-doom-rock and Black Sabbath worship wizards MOUNTAIN WITCH from my home area have been spraying a fragrant brew since 2008, consisting of the essence of beloved 70’s doom darlings, spiced with a huge amount of lifeblood and unique notes! “Extinct Cults” is an fantastic Black-Sabbath and classic retro rock vibes soaked, proto metal delicacy! This album does not get stuck in dull, musty, dark heaviness! It plays with surprising changes and blows by way, as if freshly aired, in midtempo, expressively melodic and with classical 70’s hard rock groove vibes that will take you into the spellbinding!
6. ELEPHANT TREE – HABITS
(Heavy Rock, Doom, Progressive, Stoner Metal)
I’m never one to tell bands how they should evolve with any semblance of authority, but Elephant Tree’s sound is right where I wanted it to be on Habits. The band’s alt-prog tinges were what made their self-titled album so engaging, and seeing them double down makes their songwriting even more confidently vibrant. One can also hope this blend successfully translates to greater exposure to the heavy rock world at large. Either way, this is an exciting listen that should not and hopefully will not be ignored.
And on day 33 and a third the god of thunder said let there be fuzz and so it was. From the ashes of many bands of yesteryear comes the fuzz-a-delic stylings of the heavy metal ritual known as Black Rainbows. Offering you weary listener twelve tracks of sonic mayhem born of low-end thunder and fiery riffs.
4. FORMING THE VOID – REVERIE / NEW!
(Doom, Psychedelic, Stoner, Drone)
Ripple Music’s Forming the Void straight out of the sludgy swamps of Louisiana is right back at home with their killer sludgy heaviness with that atomic mixture of psychedelic prog. The boys have created an album with so much depth and this album is truly in the stratosphere. That is how great ‘Reverie’ is, top to bottom. This album feels like it has had an injection from Pink Floyd’s Piper at The Gates of Dawn. This is one killer ride thru the Cosmos. Without a doubt, here in May, an AOTY candidate, and if you missed their last jewel ‘Rift’ then you need to jump right on this one.
3. KRYPTOGRAF – KRYPTOGRAF / NEW!
(Retro Blues, Proto-Metal, Doom, Hard Rock)
Kryptograf arrives on the scene like a big slap in the face. A big WoW!!!
The album opens with a sleazy proto-metal occult hymn. At this moment, I’m already hooked! Track by track the album offers us jewels and gems. The vocals are split among 3 different band members providing individually different sonic shades but always staying homogeneous at the same time. This doomy progressive album will drag you through the end of the 60’s up to the middle of the 70’S Psychedelic Hard Rock era. Dive In!!!
FFO: Pentagram, Budgie, Black Sabbath, Uncle Acid, Witchcraft, Graveyard.
2. VITSKÄR SÜDEN – VITSKAR SUDEN / NEW!
(Cosmic Horror, Psych Rock, Stoner, Space Rock)
(Los Angeles, CA)
VITSKÄR SÜDEN smart and brood through the gamut of Heavy Psych on their full-length debut. From the subdued Americana of ‘Painted Faces’ through the Dr. Phibes’ twistedness of ‘Trickle of the Snail’ to the heaving behemoth collapse of ‘Heathens’, this is a display of power and peyote-fueled excellence!
~REEK OF STOOM
1. WOLFTOOTH – VALHALLA / NEW!
(Heavy Metal, Doom, Hard Rock)
Forget what you think you know about Indiana’s WOLFTOOTH. Much like the Scandinavian lore about the place where the souls of heroes and the brave find eternal rest, this “Valhalla” finds our Lupine warriors four reinventing themselves for battles anew. Laden with two razor sharp axes, one pummeling warhammer, and one rapid fire pulse disseminator, the band rebrands itself… in part, with injections of immense melodic contents. Harmoniously and fluidly their music moves, yet at the ready, aggression rife with grooves…. The Pack is back!
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); Bill Goodman (The Evil Engineer); Billy Goate (Doomed & Stoned); Bob “Mr. Weird Beard” Baker (More Fuzz Podcast); Bobby Rayfield (Trendkill Radio); Brandon Collins(Super Dank Metal Jams); Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect); Clint Willis (Hand of Doom Radio); Chris Beck (Doom Tomb Podcast); Chris Latta (Ghost Cult Magazine); Eric Varasiftsky (Stoner Rock Army); Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist); Geoff Leapord (Atom Heart Mutha); Graur Zaur (Crypt Guard); Héctor “Mr. Heavyhead” Hurtado (More Fuzz); Hugo Hulleman (Metalfan.nl,Orange Maze); Jamey Morris (Fistful of DOOM); Jay Morgan (High Desert Valley Radio); Jim Thompson (Heavy in the Hills); John Gist, (Vegas Rock Revolution); Jonny Pirie (Hour of the Riff); Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe); Ken Elliott (Heavy Planet); Kyle Twadelle (Stoner HiVe); Leanne Ridgeway (Riff Relevant); Magnus Tannergren (Into The Void Radio); Marc-Eric Gagnon (Stonefly Effects); Marc C. Pietrek (VITRIOL, INC / A DARK UNITED FRONT); Mark Partin (The Ripple Effect); Matt Slighter (Cheeto) (Hwy 420, Core of Destruction Radio) Matthew Thomas (Taste Nation); Mathieu Van Der Hert (Dutch European Stoner Rock); Mel Lie (Sunday’s Heavy Tunes); Mel Lie (Sunday’s Heavy Tunes); Mike Williams (I Talk to Planets); Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker (Riff Relevant); ‘Papa’ Paul Rote (Doomed & Stoned); Reek of STOOM (Doomed&Stoned, Stoner Hive); Remi (Remi VL); Roberto Lucas (Denpa Fuzz); Roberto Fuentes (La Habitación 235); Robert Pannell (Doom Loom); Rod Reinhardt (Captain Beyond Zen); Steve Howe (Outlaws of the Sun); Shasta Beast (Stoner Hive); 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.