“Pain shared, my brother, is pain not doubled, but halved.” – Neil Gaiman
Yet another month has passed of living in a world that in many ways seems little better than a half a year ago. It’d be easy to list the ways in which the world is suffering, but the fact remains people aren’t so easily beaten, and music is one of our most powerful weapons. As evidenced by this month’s list of one top tier album after another, musicians are as imaginative and persistent as ever, and we as a community are beyond fortunate for it. We share new albums, forward golden oldies, and wait for the next record label signing together while enjoying the heavy sounds that we can’t get enough of. Even concerts, a seemingly long lost gathering place, are coming back in the form of live streams and drive ins, refusing to disappear. It’s a testament to the dedication of this community to each other and to the music we love, and despite our gloomy tastes the underground is anything but doomed! ~SHASTA BEAST
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…
25. DEAD LORD – SURRENDER / NEW!
(Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Thin Lizzy)
Surrender is the fourth album by Dead Lord. Every album is harmonious dual guitar hard rock sounding as though they could have been contemporaries with Thin Lizzy and Blue Oyster Cult In the mid seventies. They especially pay homage to Thin Lizzy even down to the vocals. Surrender is probably their best release yet and that is saying something. They are in no way doom or stoner but their music is the heart and soul of heavy rock. It’s exciting to see the love that’s out there for the roots of today’s heavy scene.
24. THE WHITE SWAN – NOCTURNAL TRANSMISSION / NEW!
(Doom, Hard Rock, Metal, Sludge)
(London, Ontario )
Canadian Psychedelic Doomsters THE WHITE SWAN offer up a sublime combination of crushing riffs, ethereal vocals and spacey atmospherics that conjure Magick, Might and Majesty – Awesome! FFO MWWB, A Beard Of Stars, Stonefield etc.
~REEK OF STOOM
23. DEAD QUIET – TRUTH AND RUIN / NEW!
(Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Progressive Rock)
(Vancouver, British Columbia)
Anything but quiet, these Canadian sludgelords proffer up deep grooves of molten metal infused with shimmering organ thrusts and dynamic arrangements – definitely steeped in Old School Metal but with a searing modern edge!
~REEK OF STOOM
22. THE DEATH WHEELERS – DIVINE FILTH / NEW!
(Doom, Sleaze, Stoner, Punk )
(Québec City, Quebec)
Here we got the second offering of these Québec city, Canadian rockers. Recently added to the mighty Riding easy records roster there could not be another label who fits them more: Riding easy (formerly Easy rider records) couldn’t be more biker related!!! Remember that 1969 movie? Yeah bros! Divine Filth explores this 70’s era movies feel with a bluesy, sometimes punky, dirty and filthy (SLEAZY) rock n’ roll. They are renowned to use parody and humor (look at that first track title ‘Ditchfinder General’ and their first album name! ‘I tread on your grave’!) who’d make laugh anyone in the doom or horror movie genre. Divine filth has it’s on music video claiming be a real (but fake) movie. This album smells gasoline and tire burning! Let’s ride it!
21. THE KINGS OF FROG ISLAND – VI / NEW!
(Hard Rock, Stoner Rock, Psychedelic, Space)
Book yourself a trip to Frog Island where Royalty frolic around left of center trees trees beneath the quirky skies of an off kilter world. Nothing should be taken for granted in this world as this is a place where nothing is quite straight forward, everything is wonderfully weird and you should always expect the unexpected.
20. BISMUT – RETROCAUSALITY / NEW!
(Heavy Psych, Instrumental Metal, Stoner Rock)
With songs that explore the borders of heavy-psych sounds and post-metal, the Dutch trio plunges us into darkness. His long developments are performed slowly amid darkness as they meander creating haunting atmospheres that are colored with scented guitar passages between their heavy rhythmic base. A perfect balance to avoid falling into monotony despite the long duration of each song. His post-metal moments come to flirt with progressive atmospheres to return to his true goal, which is none other than that shocking heavy-`pych with doom overtones.
19. GHOST SHIP RITUAL – TENTH REGION OF THE NIGHT / NEW!
(Doom, Psychedelic Rock, Sludge, Stoner)
Tenth Region Of The Night drips wantonly with Doom in all it’s myriad Glory: Intense, Riff-fuelled slabs of massive Metal weave harmoniously through Spacey Ambience. Old School dynamics and off-kilter histrionics – essential!
~REEK OF STOOM
18. EYE OF DOOM – CURSE OF THE PHARAOH / NEW!
(Doom, Progressive, Heavy Metal, Stoner)
(Vancouver, British Columbia)
Eye of Doom radiates with a vision of crushing doom swirling with groove and soaring with melodic solos. Can’t wait to see where these guys go with this.~BUCKY BROWN
Mindblowing psychedelic edged doom packed to overflowing with dark swirling atmospherics.~FRAZER JONES
Just love the sound of this, vinyl ordered from Majestic Mountain Records… Awesome!! ~STEVE RODGER
17. MOTORPSYCHO – THE ALL IS ONE
(Progressive, Rock, Avante-Gard)
After 31 years and now with their 25th studio album released “The All is One” is the Southern, Psych, Alt, Prog rock album from Motorpsycho which completes “The Gullvåg Trilogy” started with “The Tower and “The Crucible” and ending with this behemoth of a 2x LP. However, don’t be fooled as this album stands on it’s own. The 42 minute long dark forboding centerpiece 5 parter epic “The N.O.X.” glues the beginning and end of the release as one of the most ambitious songs they have written. This is a superb album just waiting for the reward of being heard.
16. SLOMOSA – SLOMOSA
(Retro Rock, Heavy Metal, Doom, Stoner)
Catapulted straight to the top of 2020’s best debut albums. The bass punches with thick, hooky groove as the vocals caress along its desert rock base. Can’t quite pinpoint who they remind me of but surely will appease fans of Truckfighters and QOTSA.
15. KITCHEN WITCH – EARTH AND ETHER
(Heavy Blues, Stoner Rock, Desert Rock)
Spearheaded by lead singer Georgie Cosson’s full, bluesy pipes, Kitchen Witch’s sophomore LP is everything good about heavy rock. Desert, doom, and the 70s come together in a stylish and grooving melting pot that’s one earworm rhythm after another.
14. PSYCHLONA – VENUS SKYTRIP
(Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Doom, Sludge)
Still hanging in there at #14. Psychlona is making a statement.
Venus Skytrip is a jam packed space rock adventure swirling with ferocious fuzz and melted by molten waves of heavy psych. The lads have managed to combine high octane desert grooves with relentless swagger and progressive crunch. Wow!
13. BONGTOWER – LAST SUMMER DAYS / NEW!
(Doom, Metal, Desert, Stoner)
Conveying all the rawness, his monolithic doom riffs play with sludge registers plunging into psychedelic terrain. The band broadens its sonic horizon with its new vocalist Anna Pisarenkop without giving up its roots and delving deeper into the sounds of the 70’s with blues on the horizon. Consolidating as one of the outstanding bands of the Russian heavy scene, the songs levitate between cannabis smoke with acoustic, heavy-psych, stoner or doom moments. Before us we have an album with which it is impossible to get bored since in each song they offer us a new incentive either with powerful stoner-doom songs with which they were born, with heavy-blues cuts or even with progressive ambient moments. Last summer days is the reflection of the maturity of a great band.
12. TURTLE SKULL – MONOLITHS / NEW!
(Heavy Psych, Stoner, Fuzz, Doom)
When a quirky, tongue-in-cheek tag like “flower doom” is used to describe a band, it can either mean a load of the same old derivative rubbish, or it could hint that a band has hit upon a truly unique mix of genres and flavors. Fortunately the latter is the case with Sydney, Australia’s Turtle Skull, who take elements of stoner doom and Torche’s sludge pop and infuse it with Crosby Stills Nash & Young harmonies, early Pink Floyd space psych, kosmische, post-rock textures, desert rock and Americana, and event elements of New Age and ambient. The resulting multilayered delicacy is yummier than anything remotely similar that I can think of (Earth?). They had a promising EP a couple years ago, but this is a truly game-changing debut with reverberations likely to resonate around the world with it’s subsequent influence.
~TONY VAN DORSTON
11. SCORCHED OAK – WITHERING EARTH / NEW!
(Doom, Sludge, Stoner, Heavy Blues)
Wither me timbers, this is hot. Smoldering with dense riffage smoky blues, and epic tone, Scorched Oak have fallen from heaven’s forest like a fiery round of hardwood upon a warm bed of ash.
IAH gives us their definitive work, a constant advance in the search for new sounds, an extraordinary neatness of movements that takes them from space rock to progressive, from shoegaze to psychedelia, a trip that flows beautifully and that don´t seem to stop, a great work, less dense than II but more complex in ideas, IAH takes firm steps towards a splendid future. Excellent!
9. CRYSTAL SPIDERS – MOLT / NEW!
(Hard Rock, Doom, Stoner Metal)
An absolute killer of a debut album from Raleigh, North Carolina’s ‘Crystal Spiders’ is here. Using a song off “Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats” to get their moniker, this stoner doom rock duo carries true to their heritage. Featuring members of The Hell No, Lightning Born, and Doomsday Profit, this is 44 minutes of Brenna Leath’s, heavy as fuck bass and high powered soaring lead vocals, accompanied by the perfect rhythm and hard pounding Tradd Yancey on the kit. COC’s Mike Dean’s hands are all over this gem on the production side and even featured on guitar on the closing track “Fog,” adding even more to one of the better albums released this year. “Chronic Sick”,”Molt” and “Tiger Lily” just grab hold of you and don’t let go till the end of this stellar release. This is one you will regret not grabbing sooner rather than later.
8. LASER DRACUL – HAGRIDDEN / NEW!
(Metal, Doom, Hard Rock, Stoner Sludge)
Wraith-like riffs swirl around a rhythm section that’s as relentless as an advancing army of Zombies. These Swedish Doom-mongers go straight for the jugular with tales from the crypt of a dystopian world that will give you unimaginable night terrors. Much like that mysterious sound coming from a spooky basement this is Sludge Metal you just have to investigate!
7. CRUTHU – ATHRU CRUTHA / NEW!
(Doom, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal)
This beguiling sound takes the wind out of the sails of any critic who takes the view that traditional doom metal is tough and boring mush! Cruthu’s carries the soul of traditional heavy doom, the heart of old metal roots and plenty of groovy 70s lo-fi vibes! They are more melodic-melancholic, with exciting rhythm changes, than dark and tough! And as if that wasn’t already enough to follow this album breathlessly to the end, this unique, melodic-majestic voice takes the last spit out of the listener! For me personally, as a huge doom metal fan, “Athrú Crutha” is one of the best albums of this year!
6. SPELLBOOK – MAGICK & MISCHIEF / NEW!
(Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Doom, Classic Rock)
While influences from Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Pentagram and Deep Purple are deeply ingrained in the music, SpellBook still pulls off their own killer distinctive sound and songwriting. This is a special album you are going to hear,very talented musicians bringing top notch music and lyrics that are filled with emotion. “Ominous Skies” and “Wands to the Sky” roped and tied the proto-metal sound big time. “Amulet” has been a staple of the live sets and a crowd favorite even before being put down on tape.Not yet mentioned is the absolute big time album artwork created and translated into the band’s music by Chad Smith. This classic yet cleverly imagined art is as special as the album. Just epic. Run don’t walk and grab Magick & Mischief, everyone else will be…… The only bad thing about this album is that ends….
Here’s a London stoner outfit that knows how to make an entrance! Leave your ‘Egos & Instincts’ behind and let yourself be irradiated by these earthquaking riffs, these thunderous drum & bass and the soulful growly vocals. What can you ask more? Shut up, get in groove and hold tight cause each song stand out! Once the album finishes, you can only do one thing; press play again. Orbital Junction is on the rise; I predict these guys have not finish to impress. The breach is wide open!!!
4. THE BROTHERS KEG – FOLKLORE, MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF THE BROTHERS KEG / NEW!
(Space Rock, Stoner Sludge, Psychedelic Doom)
You know what I’m going to say don’t you… GODS HOLY TROUSERS !!
The Brothers Keg have tapped into a thick brew of enthralling riffs, foaming in rich texture and potent atmosphere. Kick back and prepare for a sonic trip of epic proportion. An absolute rage through and through.
3. ALL THEM WITCHES – NOTHING AS THE IDEAL / NEW!
(Blues, Hard Rock, Progressive, Stoner)
There aren’t that many bands that can truly deliver this kind of feeling and atmosphere with a potent mixture of mercury stoner riffs, grinded blues patterns and pressed psychedelic ambience. There is a presence lurking hear that feels weird and will ride your body like a wave of goosebumps. Changing up their magical concoction with every record, the All Them Witches trio delivers something stunningly sinister and majestically gothic. Creepy by default and completely enthralling! Furious, epic and cinematic!
Nashville’s All Them Witches are a hard working band, which means I’ve gotten to seen them live through several stages of their development, from psychedelic blues with impressively complex and juicy tones and textures, to a more jammy live entity, and ultimately a creatively restless, experimental band starting with their third, Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (2015). The sixth album continues their creative streak as a stoner psych Radiohead/Pink Floyd.
~TONY VAN DORSTON
2. MOUNTAIN TAMER – PSYCHOSIS RITUAL / NEW!
(Heavy Psychedelic, Doom, Heavy Metal, Punk)
(Los Angeles, CA)
Psychosis Ritual casts upon us a demented spell of heavy psych meets thrasher-punk-doom. The Southern CA scene continues to drown us with this intensely wicked form of psychedelic doom loaded with craggy riffs and wasted tone.
1. KIND – MENTAL NUDGE
(Metal, Doom, Hard Rock, Sludge)
Holy hell, KIND are back and they’re throwing at us a massive punch in the face! Calling the album Mental Nudge is a mere euphemism. My head is bopping all over and my poor brain can only bangs against my skull’s walls. If you never heard of em before, KIND is what we can call a supergroup; it’s composed of Matt Couto (ex-Elder), Tom Corino (ex-Rozamov), Craig Riggs (Roadsaw) and Darryl Shepard (ex-Black Pyramid). They’re totally hammering us down with their unique blend of dark Heavy Rock/ Stoner Psych that will crawl deep into your mind’s meanders.
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); Chris Tighe (The Mighty Decibal); Duncan Evans (Alternative Control); 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 (The Ripple Effect); ‘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); Roman Tamayo (Doomed & Stoned); 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); Wombat Tarantino (Wombat Cult)
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.