As the late Jim Morrison once professed, “The future’s uncertain and the end is always near” … well that certainly seems true as 2020 delivered a massive blow in the form of a global pandemic. It’s been a tough time and many of us have suffered great losses, personally and provisionally, we talk about it daily, in our personal lives as well across the toxic wastelands of social media. So, whilst not wishing to underplay the terrible situation at hand, I’d like to bring our focus to here, the reason why you are reading this…. The final Doom Chart of 2020.
Our contributors remained hungry all year round waiting for that next drop to deliver top class music from around the world, every monthly chart reflecting the sheer quality and talent of artists out there vying for your attention and your ears. Our panel listened constantly to a wealth of submissions ranging from bands and artists that are well established to the brand new, totally out of the blue first timers; we don’t always agree, it’s not always immediately obvious who the monthly victor will be, but the vote is democratic and the chart is always an outstanding representation of the great art out there right now. So today we give you the final tally, the sum of a years’ worth of submissions of the best Doom, Stoner Fuzz, Space, Desert, Psych Rock’n’ Fucking Roll that 2020 had to offer. Some of these are destined to be future classics, some of these you will be discovering for the very first time but all of them are worthy of your time and exploration.
We’d like to thank everyone that follows the chart, the bands that submit the fruits of their labor, please keep supporting the artists, this year has proven that musicians need us now more than ever, perhaps one of the positives of the current situation has driven someone to write the next Dopesmoker, Age of Winters, Stoner Witch or Dopethrone.
The dawn of 2021 is here so let’s fucking do this, we can’t wait to hear the next set of submissions and as always, to share them with you. We wish you a Happy New Year, stay safe and take good care of yourselves, bring on ’21 , in fact in the words of the Lizard King himself… ”Let it Roll Baby Roll…All night long.”
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…
These are the top 100 scoring albums out of over 1500 albums voted upon throughout the year. That means every single album voted was at one point in the top 25 from individual contributors during at least one month. The overall top 25 are presented similar to a monthly list at the bottom. Links to each and every album are included, and as mentioned above, support the bands by buying their music, merch and hopefully by going future shows.
100 MURCIELAGO – CASUALTIES
99 SWITCHBLADE JESUS – DEATH HYMNS
98 YURI GAGARIN – THE OUTSKIRTS OF REALITY
97 BIG SCENIC NOWHERE – LAVENDER BLUES
96 SONS OF OTIS – ISOLATION
95 DEAD QUIET – TRUTH AND RUIN
94 MOUNT HUSH – MOUNT HUSH
93 MR BISON – SEAWARD
92 10,000 YEARS – 10,000 YEARS
91 THE HEAVY EYES – LOVE LIKE MACHINES
90 DESERT STORM – OMENS
89 GOATRIDERS – THE MAGICIAN´S KEEP
88 MOTHERS OF THE LAND – HUNTING GROUNDS
87 SCORCHED OAK – WITHERING EARTH
86 BLACK HELIUM – THE WHOLLY OTHER
85 KADAVAR – THE ISOLATION TAPES
84 BRANT BJORK – BRANT BJORK
83 RRRAGS – HIGH PROTEIN
82 1000MODS – YOUTH OF DISSENT
81 HORIZON – THE WHITE PLANET PATROL
80 IAH – III
79 HAMMADA – ATMOS
78 HYDRA – FROM LIGHT TO THE ABYSS
77 ISLES OF MARS – ISLES OF MARS
76 ACID MESS – SANGRE DE OTROS MUNDOS
75 CAUSA SUI – SZABODELICO
74 DUNGEON WEED – MIND PALACE OF THE MUSHROOM GOD
73 PURIFICATION – PERFECT DOCTRINE
72 DESERT COLOSSUS – EYES AND TONGUES
71 COBRA THIEF – ANIMAL OXYGEN
70 HUNTSMEN – MANDALA OF FEAR
69 HIGH PRIESTESS – CASTING THE CIRCLE
68 BLACK ELEPHANT – SEVEN SWORDS
67 TIA CARRERA – TRIED AND TRUE
66 FOOT – THE BALANCE OF NATURE SHIFTED
65 CORTEZ – SELL THE FUTURE
64 PINK CIGS – PINK CIGS
63 EYE OF DOOM – CURSE OF THE PHARAOH
62 BIG SCENIC NOWHERE – VISION BEYOND HORIZON
61 TEMPLE OF THE FUZZ WITCH – RED TIDE
60 TWIN WIZARD – GLACIAL GODS
59 FOSTERMOTHER – FOSTERMOTHER
58 BOGWIFE – HALLS OF REBIRTH
57 GEEZER – GROOVY
56 SUN OF GREY – OUTERWORLD
55 MOUNTAIN WITCH – EXTINCT CULTS
54 THAMMUZ – INTO THE GREAT UNKNOWN
53 LORD BUFFALO – TOHU WA BOHU
52 ARCADIAN CHILD – PROTOPSYCHO
51 PALE DIVINE – CONSEQUENCE OF TIME
50 ROSY FINCH – SCARLET
49 SPELLBOOK – MAGICK & MISCHIEF
48 CRYSTAL SPIDERS – MOLT
47 PALLBEARER – FORGOTTEN DAYS
46 FUMAROLE – VALLEY OF TEN THOUSAND SMOKES
45 HUANASTONE – THIRD STONE FROM THE SUN
44 CRUTHU – ATHRU CRUTHA
43 STONEBIRDS – COLLAPSE AND FAIL
42 THE BROTHERS KEG – FOLKLORE, MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF THE BROTHERS KEG
41 LASER DRACUL – HAGRIDDEN
40 WINO – FOREVER GONE
39 KINGNOMAD – SAGAN OM RYMDEN
38 ALL THEM WITCHES – NOTHING AS THE IDEAL
37 FAMILIARS – ALL IN GOOD TIME
36 BONE CHURCH – ACID COMMUNION
35 KITCHEN WITCH – EARTH AND ETHER
34 ORBITAL JUNCTION – EGOS AND INSTINCTS
33 MOUNTAIN TAMER – PSYCHOSIS RITUAL
32 UUBBUURRUU – UUBBUURRUU
31 RYTE – RYTE
30 SLOMOSA – SLOMOSA
29 RUFF MAJIK – THE DEVIL’S CATTLE
28 SLIFT – UMMON
27 HAIL THE VOID – HAIL THE VOID
26 REZN – CHAOTIC DIVINE
25. ACID MAMMOTH – UNDER ACID HOOF
(DOOM, STONER, HEAVY PSYCH)
“Under Acid Hoof” is a fantastic delve into proto-metal, doom and heavy psych that has a hulking, matted fur of thick riffs and skewer-sharp tusks of Bass and Percussion. ACID MAMMOTH have wrought the sounds of an imagined Ice Age, fleshed them with mass, hair and ivory and laid waste to the hunters! Those that partake of the flesh are imbued with the knowledge…
~REEK OF STOOM
24. WITCHSKULL – A DRIFTWOOD CROSS
(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.
23. VALKYRIE – FEAR
(Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Stoner, Classic Rock)
After five years Valkyrie is back; perfecting their sound from their last output Shadows. Fear harbors a stunning amount of awesome riffs, addictive hooks and beautiful melodies. With Jake and Peter Adams at the core of Valkyrie’s line-up there are still elements of Baroness seeping through the songs. But Valkyrie prove that their mix of proto-metal, stoner and classic rock is an impressive entity on its own.
22. BILL FISHER – MASS HYPNOSIS AND THE DARK TRIAD
(Retro Rock, Stoner Rock, Heavy Metal, Doom)
Here comes Bill Fisher with his solo album Mass Hypnosis and the Dark Triad. Far away from the Church of the Cosmic Skull theology, the guru renew more with his old Mammothwing’s adepts via an album brilliantly mixing Heavy Rock, Prog Rock and Doom in a singular symmetry. A conceptual album exploring themes in tune with our times such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy and sociopathic behavior saw through the prism of the social media. Be ready to be mesmerized by intense melodies filled with fuzziness!!!
21. BRIMSTONE COVEN – THE WOES OF A MORTAL EARTH
(Stoner, Metal, Occult, Heavy Rock)
(Wheeling, West Virginia)
So much is right with this new release from the West Virginian trio, Brimstone Coven. This is a solid representation of doom rock and an album worth spending your time with. This laid back, chill inspiring slab is perfect as we approach the Autumn months. “When the World is Gone” is a proto-metal fan’s dream. Look no further for an album to fill your doomsday void. Here is the perfect piece.
20. 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.
19. BLACK RAINBOWS – COSMIC RITUAL SUPERTRIP
(Hard Rock, Stoner, Heavy Psych)
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.
18. RITUAL KING – RITUAL KING
(HARD ROCK, DOOM, GRUNGE, STONER, PROGRESSIVE)
Another quality Ripple Music release, huge swathes of fuzz augmented with excellent vocals. This is gonna’ be massive come end of year lists … Ridiculously good Favorite track: Dead Roads.
Seven titanic tracks of first-degree censorial assault. ..RITUAL KING delivers breadth, width and height: the full dimensions of Modern Underground Metal in all it’s geometric gelignite. FULL REVIEW
~REEK OF STOOM
17. VITSKÄR SÜDEN – VITSKAR SUDEN
(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
16. SUN CROW – QUEST FOR OBLIVION
(Metal, Doom, Hard Rock, Proto-Metal)
From the PNW region of the U.S., where entire musical movements first gained motion, comes another, but one unto itself. Seattle’s SUN CROW arise aloft like a phoenix bound upon its “Quest For Oblivion”. Wielding a molten take on blackened blues, high upon wings of existential doom and proto metal, this album oozes molasses-like sweltering groove. These contents are heady, lysergically laced and outright otherworldly at times but with morphing elements of aggressive density giving way to gloomy, dismal virtuosity. The darkened vessel that is “Quest For Oblivion” is an epic of far reaching appeal.
15. BUTTERFLY – DOORWAYS OF TIME
(Proto-Metal, Hard Rock, Retro, Stoner)
An instant thumbs up for the debut album from Melbourne band Butterfly. Tough as nails retro riffing, and very cool late 70’s hard rock style vox, and it sounds goddamn genuine. This has so many sincere tips of the hat to that old school heavy metal, with heavy helpings of early Kiss and AC/DC. If you’re looking for an album to get the good times rolling, this is it!
14. CURSE THE SON – EXCRUCIATION
(Doom, Stoner, Heavy Metal)
Formed in 2008, this Hamden, CT based heavy doom laden Stoner power trio drops their 4th album, “Excruciation” on us. It’s fore-ordination already determined as one of this years top releases. Opening with an Iron Claw / Black Sabbath like heavy tune, “Suicide by Drummer” defines what this doom riffing-train is bringing. They are amazingly resilient with this release. Ron Vanacore and Brandon Keefe have shifted the weight of their great tunes to a much loved balance of the almighty heavy riff and their dark hymns. Robert Ives 1st record with the band, brings his kit and solid, solid drumming. “Novembre”and “Worry Garden” are worth the price of admission alone.
13. WOLFTOOTH – VALHALLA
(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!
12. FORMING THE VOID – REVERIE
(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.
11. SLEEPWULF – SLEEPWULF
(DOOM, HARD ROCK, STONER METAL)
The very first thought that entered my head was, “Is this a reissue?” Some long-forgotten Tull or Life recording liberated from the dust? Such is the sound of SLEEPWULF. From the opening zazzle of axe and bass, this is as vintage as it gets:. SLEEPWULF have delivered an album of timeless sound: an album that lovingly recreates the raw rampages of bygone heroes and celebrates the beauty of pure, unadorned heavy Rock music. A bonafide classic of the genre.
~REEK OF STOOM
10. 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!
9. TURTLE SKULL – MONOLITHS
(Heavy Psych, Stoner, Fuzz, Doom)
Aussie Psychonauts TURTLE SKULL have really raised the bar on their latest release “Monoliths”. A Trippy, visionary course of eight tracks encompassing the gamut of Psychedelia which delight and dazzle with superb musicianship and craft – very strong AOTY contender!
~REEK OF STOOM
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. 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.
6. KING BUFFALO – DEAD STAR
(Doom, Metal, Sludge, Heavy Psych)
(Rochester, New York)
With every album King Buffalo gets better with than they were on the previous one; Dead Star is no exception to that rule. This record is their newest, and perhaps most experimental release to date; right down to the alternate tuning they created during the initial stages of writing. The sounds they created with that tuning are incredible, and you really shouldn’t sleep on hearing them for yourself.
5. BONEHAWK – IRON MOUNTAIN
(Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Stoner, Classic Rock)
Iron Mountain towers over the valley of riffs with the patented Bonehawk harmony, crushing rhythm and relentless bluesy hook. Perhaps the return album of the year showing Bonehawk is not slowing down, rather taking flight in their musical progression.
4. KRYPTOGRAF – KRYPTOGRAF
(Retro Blues, Proto-Metal, Doom, Hard Rock)
Out of nowhere comes Kryptograf and this blistering debut LP. Imagine Sabbath, Witchcraft and Red Fang teamed up and wrote their most wicked toned proto-doom with progressive melodies and occult tendencies.
3.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.
2 PSYCHLONA – VENUS SKYTRIP
(Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Doom, Sludge)
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!
1 LOWRIDER – REFRACTIONS
(DESERT ROCK, STONER ROCK, HEAVY ROCK, SLUDGE, DOOM, FUZZ)
Do a quick google search for legendary desert rock albums of the early 2000’s and quickly you will realize creditable lists all include Ode to IO. However, what you find is pure silence for the next twenty years. Lowrider’s latest album Refractions is an album that has been wading in the deep dark depths of our solar system. Moreover, Refractions is a black hole, a dense amalgamation of great songwriting that shows us they are still the masters of a great stoner hooks and continue with this heavy comeback. Without a second of interstellar waste, Refractions will draw you into its maelstrom of heavy and refuse to let you escape it’s void. It’ll be hard pressed to find a better spaced out track as “Pipe Rider” as well as the album’s tremendous opener “Red River.” Whatever work you do this spring into the summer this album will quickly relieve any undo stress and allow you to feel good about this beautiful music scene. Twenty years was worth the wait but let’s hope these Swedish doomsters have more spaced out riffs cooked up for another dose soon. All I can say this will more than do and help the fill an overdue hole in the scene. Get it. Do it now!
~THE DOOM LOOM
Aaron Pickford (The Sludgelord); Adam Walsh (Earmunchies); Andy Benson (Nerve Salad); Atom Heart Mutha (Atom Heart Mutha); 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); Doomsday Jesus (DoomsdaysJesus); Duncan Evans (Alternative Control); Eric Varasiftsky (Stoner Rock Army); Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist); Graur Zaur (Crypt Guard); Günther “Doktor420” (Stoner Hive); 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); 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)