“As from the smoke is freed the blaze,
So let our faith burn bright!
And if they crush our golden ways,
Who e’er can crush Thy light?” ~The First Walpurgis-Night , Goethe
We end the month of April with a folklorically traditionally time, an ancient holiday of sorts. That which is known as The Witches Sabbath or Beltane, where Midsommer and Walpurghis Nacht is celebrated in some parts of the world and has been for millennia. In ancient times these celebrations heralded the season of light and bonfire celebrations and displayed hope for renewal and rebirth as we head into May with longer days and summer approaching. And how fitting, as no summer in recent memory holds greater anticipation or need for that light or hope and renewal for us music fans, artists, and industry folk as the one ahead, while we await with bated breath a possible return to normalcy for live music and events, creative livelihoods and entire cultural sectors.
Will summer bear live musical fruit for us? What day is it anymore? Does time even matter? It remains to be seen, but the hope that comes with longer days and more vitamin D is a damn good start as well as April having brought with it a bounty of stunning releases for us all to enjoy. And without futher ado, as your faithful contributors of the Doom Charts are wont once again as every month dear reader, we coalesce to provide you with a listing of the finest new releases the world over from within our stylistic proclivities for Doom, stoner, sludge, heavy psych and fuzz centric musical offerings. Be safe and keep the faith, the light of our underground community shines bright.
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. SUPERLYNX – ELECTRIC TEMPLE / NEW!
(Hard Rock, Doom, Stoner)
This is a release I really looked forward to…Oslo Norway’s pysch/doom trio ‘Superlynx’ is back at it once again after a short break with their third lp. The superb, haunting psychedelic music with a stoner flavor is their own brand of music….their “Electric Temple”. The album, deriving it’s name from Jimi Hendrix’ vision on how he saw his music, calling it “Electric temple music” because it is like a religion to us. Rising up from the band’s loss of very close family they put to voice and music their inner selves, creating from that feeling of loss and diving full bore into this absolutely stellar release. Pia Isaksen brings her ethereal and emotion filled vocals providing the bass line to the steady, dynamic beat of Ole Teigen’s drumming, piano playing, synth and vocals that carry the music to it’s apex. Daniel Bakken’s guitar work ties everything together. At times it is pensive and melodic but at others it jumps right at you with fuzzy riffing that brings it home. Mixed by multiple Grammy Award winning producer, Marc Urselli, and album cover artwork and layout by Pia’s fertile mind.
24. GLöD – GLöD / NEW!
(Stoner, Psychedelic, Desert Rock, 70’s)
The debut self-titled EP from these Swedes knocks it out of the park. Righteously groovy stoner and desert riffs mix with high octane 70s rock n roll, and gnarly vocals give it all a savage edge. Come for the perfect bass tone and stay for the epic, psychedelic finisher “Creatures of Doom”. GlöD are destined for greatness.
23. DVNE – ETEMEN ÆNKA
(Progressive, Sludge, Post-Metal, Doom, Psychedelic, Stoner)
DVNE have, with their latest release Etemen Ænka, propelled themselves into the big league, the albums blend of prog, post-rock, sludge, stoner metal and doom is as good as anything released by the likes of Mastodon, Baroness and Anciients over the past few years and in places even out-tools TOOL. Complex, brutal, beautiful, unsettling and soothing are all words you could use to describe the music that populates this stunning release but the one that keeps coming to mind is MAGNIFICENT!
22. IRON RIDER – ONE DAY SOMEONE’S GONNA KILL YOU / NEW!
(Metal, Sludge, Stoner, Doom)
Brooklyn, New York
Welcome to the poisonous temple of horror to worship “the almighty riffs”! IRON RIDER three-piece from Brooklyn / NY sprays with their 2nd album grungy-dirty-obscurious, occult doom rock with psychedelic impact, which sneaks up coherently to the blues. Like an infernal claw, the charm from freaky-retro B-horror movies and comics of the 60s / 70s, murderously paired with ugly visions of light-shy vermin, tears the soul of the listener with it into the bluesy cesspool of a rousing hellfire of devilish mood gyrations.
Great Fear Rising IS the newest old school revival of heavy metal and thrash and second album on the Ripple Music label. Superb production with a headbanging monster of an album. After touring was cancelled in March 2020, the band went into the writing and recording process to unleash a brand of heavy metal like it used to be. Killer riffing, jamming all day and night with superb hooks and vocals. You do not want to miss out on this album.
20. DUST MICE – EARTH III / NEW!
(Heavy Rock, Stoner Rock, Space Rock, Garage)
Can’t help but compare to a favorite band of mine Spidergawd. Maybe it’s the sax solos, maybe it’s the hard rocking hooks, or maybe it’s just the strong vocal chops that keep me tapping my toes all aboard that damn Choom Wagon. Shit is off the charts fun.
19. HOT BREATH – RUBBERY LIPS / NEW!
(Hard Rock, Metal, Garage Rock, The Sign Records)
Hot Breath’s long awaited second album is massive for old school rock lover’s like me. It rocks on every track and the lead vocals don’t compromise. Get ready for a hell of a ride. It’s pure 70’s rock n’ roll at its best. Gasoline, dust and wind in your face kinda vibe. A huge winner for me.
~ERIC “THE GENERAL” VARASIFSKY
18. HOWLING GIANT – ALTERATION / NEW!
(Hard Rock, Progressive, Instrumental Metal)
The boys in Howling Giant took some of their improvised jams to the studio and churned out an ep that exquisitely embodies an improvised jam session. Well done… What you’ll find within are super clean leads and professionally seared riffs.. a touch of the cosmic..just enough to challenge gravity… some keys to make it purdy.. and a low end that bring some serious jam band flavor.
17. BIRMANI – BIRMANI / NEW!
(Fuzz, Sludge, Doom, Stoner Rock)
From Montréal, Quebec comes three-piece Birmani. On their self-titled, full-sized debut they show off their French tongue and their love for massive fuzz with loads of psychedelic influences and sludge overtones. They manage to make it all feel like old faves and new raves, from atavistic grunge to intense stoner; just as the godfathers intended. Birmani is good, Birmani is great, Birmani is the latin name for a sort of snail. And just like that slimy sucker, this three piece will definitely leave a mark…
16. WHEEL – PRESERVED IN TIME / NEW!
(Doom, Epic Metal, Cruz del Sur)
This new Wheel record has everything geat music should have, killer riffs, melody, dynamics, diversity, and kick ass vocal work. Add that to some great songwriting, and you’ll have an idea of how excellent this album really is; it is more than worth the time it takes to listen to the album in full.
15. WORMSAND – SHAPELESS MASS / NEW!
(Doom, Grunge, Post Rock, Stoner Rock)
For three years now, Wormsand is traveling the roads to inflict a dose of their powerful and radical Sludge / Doom. A magmatic soundscape made with hypnotic and sharp Fuzz hallucinations. With Shapeless Mass, their first album, the trio from the South-East of France just come back from a long and fascinating year of sound experiments and manages to bring us singular forms, distant horizons, until our ears and reveal Wormsand through a rare goldsmith work, shining unsuspected facets, unsuspectable, yet now essential. A new reference, definitely!
14. DUNERIDER – RUINS / NEW!
(Metal, Doom Metal, Sludge)
Should we talk about the entire seven-track album that is Ruins by French outfit Dunerider? And in the process perhaps ruin some of the mammoth surprise that it might be? Or should we just mention that massive opening track Warlords? And promise that the rest of the album is just as good… For Warlords will not just shatter and crush your immediate surroundings, it aims to destroy your very being, the universe and the fabric of time. Indeed. It is that heavy! Pure doom sludge and ominous stoner… A sound that crept out of the bog to wreak havoc, rampage and lay waste to all that might stand in its way…
13. MYTHIC SUNSHIP – WILDFIRE / NEW!
(Heavy Psych, Stoner, Krautrock, Progressive)
The ninth studio excursion for these Spaced-Out Danes has an intensity, an intent about it right from the off: Wildfire‘s surging riffs plunge deeper and heavier than ever before and more sonically free-form and vigorous, which means only one thing – Vital, surging Space Rock!
~REEK OF STOOM
12. BONGZILLA – WEEDSCONSIN / NEW!
(Doom, Sludge, Metal, Heavy Psych Sounds)
With sixteen years since their last release, Weed Metal veterans Bongzilla have certainly had the time to rest on their marijuana-shaped laurels and hang up their bong sparking grooves by mellowing out and turning to golf or yoga and interpretive jazz explorations…
Yet somehow the pioneers of sludgy, stomping jams about Mary Jane manage to come back heavier, filthier, and more in your face than ever. Hissing their pot-smoking prose through a vicious, snarling vocal assault pounding through your skull which gives way to slow, spaced-out interludes rising like acrid smoke rings bubbling to the surface through pits of sticky black tar poured over rousting, driving drum beats, unruly bass buzz and raucous riffage.
The sheer amount of thick and dirty crunch, cracking your cranium through a listen to Weedsconsin is almost as crippling as having the wind knocked out of you by a hefty quag. Throughout, however, there is a strange sense of knowing, a calm that only true stoner doom veterans could pull off with such purposeful poise. This six-track album will surely scratch that nostalgic itch from the hazy glory days of Bongzilla’s early releases whilst bringing something new and fresh to your stash.
~THE DOOM ORACLE
11. CONCLAVE – DAWN OF DAYS / NEW!
(Heavy Metal, Doom, Progressive Sludge, Argonauta Records)
The collective souls of the Massachusetts progressive sludge metal band ‘Conclave’ have teamed up with Argonauta Records to unleash their 2nd full LP “Dawn of Days” Their musical pedigree is super impressive coming from bands like
Desolate, PanzerBastard, Tenebrae, Benthic Realm, and WarHorse. Adding Chris Giguere on lead and rhythm guitars after their debut in 2016 ‘Conclave’ has really come into their own with this smoking hot, overwhelming punishment of heavy music. The atmospheric, thrashy riffin by the never-ending, dueling guitars of Jeremy Kibort and Giguere are everywhere. Pulverizing bass lines, courtesy of Jerry Orne, with world class drumming from Dan Blomquist, and a steady stream of dark songs that are highlighted by Onre’s lead and Kibort’s backing vocals. No pretense of anything but their brand of great sludgy atmospheric metal.
10. LÁGOON – SKULLACTIC VISIONS / NEW!
(Doom, Stoner Psychedelic, Riding Easy Records)
After an evolution and a perpetual sound refinement, LàGoon, duo turned trio, offers with Skullactic Visions an essential swimming between Heavy Rock, Doom, and Fuzz Rock where the possibilities seem endless, but signs here his best album to date. Embark, turn on your amp, open your mind and jump on this Heavy Psych odyssey of rare ambition, beauty melted in the midst of dreams and nightmares where mirages are total and sacred.
9. WITCHROT – HOLLOW / NEW!
(Doom, Stoner Metal, Sludge, Satanic)
Those thinking that music from a band sporting a name like Witchrot is going to be something a little harsh, brutal and a little “core” are going to be in for a suprise when they hear “Hollow”.What they will get instead is powerful and impassioned vocal tones wafting with an unbelievable majestic grace over backdrops of slightly dissonant but nevertheless melodic occult tinted doom. List under album of the year contender.
8. KYNING – ĀN / NEW!
(Progressive, Stoner, Heavy Rock, Grunge)
Did you ever considered to be friend with a monster? Because this is definitely what Kyning are proposing us with Ān!
This album is a giant sized Stoner Prog monster with many tentacles. Some are more grungy, some covered in desert sand and some more doomy. Your fate is written, one or the other will undeniably wrap up against you, hold you and never release you! So, I wish you good luck!!!
7. THE VINTAGE CARAVAN – MONUMENTS / NEW!
(Hard Rock, Doom, Heavy Metal, Napalm Records)
His commitment to classic hard-rock and his stoner excursions is accompanied by progressive ramblings and fascinating melodies. His songs, with compositional richness, do not remain anchored in a single style, to offer a fascinating sound rainbow with retro overtones. You can tell that the Icelandic trio have taken compositional work seriously to offer us a fascinating timeless rock album, but with a completely contemporary look. A whole compositional collage full of nuances, in which all the details seem taken care of to offer fascinating songs. His musings, both psychedelic and above all progressive, adorn songs that are solid and attractive to the listener.
6. JOINTHUGGER – REAPER SEASON / NEW!
(Hard Rock, Doom, Sludge, Stoner, Majestic Mountain Records)
One song, one song that have everything. 18 minutes of pure magic and every time the song ends I want another listening session!
This is a song that creates a new dynamic through every listening session and it always made me as the listener curious when I starting the song over again! It’s a perfect mix of Yob around The Unreal Never Lived and with a beautiful song melody it keeps the focus for the me as a listener towards the whole song. Thanks Jointhugger!
I wasn’t sure the Norwegian superstars could do another epic release after I am No one but they have!
Reaper Season is a future classic that put Jointhugger in the front seat of the whole genre. If I like them before I’m madly in love now!
5. GREENLEAF – ECHOES FROM A MASS
(Stoner Rock, Progressive, Desert Rock, Napalm Records)
I’m surprised with the Swedish stoner/Desert rockscene! Last year Lowrider dominates the Charts and so far I see no reason this year doesn’t belong to Greenleaf!
From the album opener til the last note the band ticks all the right boxes for bluesy, groovy music with an psychedelic edge. Add a high energy, some gorgeous vocal melody and some fluent riffs and you have one of the best record this year so far I’m deeply in love with it!
4. 1968 – SALVATION IF YOU NEED / NEW!
(Hard Rock, Stoner Rock, Retro)
A heavy, slimy, smoky and wild psychedelic blues BOMB. Their raw, primitive sounds evoke the intensity of those rudimentary 70’s bands that made amps fume. These 10 songs crush you, introducing the listener into a soporific narcotic environment, dense and heavy, but with enough hook for each song to catch you on its own. Thc in vein, for some murky, heartbreaking and powerful songs. We are facing an album created in the old way and keeping that old spirit adapting it to the new times of heavy music. Prepare your bong, turn up the volume and enjoy this impressive ‘trip’ with the smell of marijuana.
3. MYSTIC SONS – CURSES AND SPELLS / NEW!
(Hard Rock, Stoner, Doom, Heavy Blues)
Classic hard rock spiced up with a little stoner fuzz and some grunge dynamics, it’s a simple recipe but if you don’t get the ingredients just right it could all end in tears, thankfully Mystic Sons are musical master chefs and cook these grooves to perfection.
2. MOTORPSYCHO – KINGDOM OF OBLIVION / NEW!
(Progressive Rock, Metal, Hard Rock, Stickman Records)
If there is a band in the contemporary scene capable of creating fascinating albums, it is the Norwegians MOTORPSYCHO. Using songs that did not fit in their last album, they have tried to create a heavy album in which psychedelia and progressive play a big role. By coloring their riffs of different influences to which we are already accustomed, they take us out of the routine. If the band was born from crunching guitars, roaring basses and the sheer chaos of unhinged drums, with their experience and expertise, they manage to build a creative work, as only they know how to do. Dreamy melodies along with riffs that slice your soul because they are an incredible band that makes incredible albums. MOTORPSYCHO are on a higher level.
1. DOMKRAFT – SEEDS / NEW!
(Progressive Rock, Metal, Hard Rock)
Domkraft’s seeds is a dazzlingly indecent traipse into a deeply disturbing soundscape of crepuscular creepiness and I mean that in the absolute best way possible. Seeds comes on like the comforting dark of night, the cradle in which a tortured soul, beleaguered by all the world’s torments retreats to nurse itself back to health. It’s the soundtrack you’ve dreamt about repeatedly in disjointed fever dreams and Orwellian nightmares but can somehow only recall upon waking by the feeling of desperate emptiness that it’s been lost to the night and perhaps never to be encountered again. There is something so raw, earnest, and urgent about each note on this release, that it feels like it’s being ground into your psyche, but in slow motion, with no remorse, and on a cinematic scale. Seeds begins by casting a lusciously textural net of an almost obscenely well crafted, searing riff layered with hefty, driving rhythm and provocatively commanding vocals. The album provides in a mercilessly challenging way that seems to beat the ever-living breath out of you with tracks like Perpetuator, Into Orbit and Dawn of Man only to be lured into a false sense of safety from an instrumental Krank Blekhet, then chewed apart and spat back out again by Audiodome, at its conclusion, left bereft and speechless and in a painfully deafening silence longing for more. Without a doubt, we’re going to be hearing about this release all year and into end-of-year lists if not at the top of them.
~THE DOOM ORACLE
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); The Doom Oracle (Spectral Ecstacy)Doomsday Jesus (DoomsdaysJesus); Duncan Evans (Alternative Control); Eric Varasiftsky (Stoner Rock Army); Frazer Jones (Desert Psychlist); Geoff Leppard (Atom Heart Mutha); 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)
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.