A very short introduction to this final post about 2021. We did a massive run of personal lists from the Doom Charts Contributors. Personally, I’ve enjoyed seeing all those lists posted and I once again discovered quite a few albums that I did not hear yet. A massive run of glances back to 2021 should poetically end with a total list. And this is it. It’s all those monthly lists of 2021 swept together, and all the votes added up. So, this here, is the Top 100 albums as they were voted for by our Doom Charts Contributors…
During those twelve months of 2021, no less than 1826 albums received votes; and we can’t stress enough that they all deserve to be heard. We obviously love them, that’s why they received votes. So, a massive thank you to all those bands and artists for doing what they do. An equally huge thank you to the fans, the ones that follow the charts and enjoy all the heaviness as much as we do. Please keep supporting those artists as they need us even more than ever. With a limited amount of live shows around the globe, we need to buy that extra shirt, extra cd or extra vinyl record. And hey, we’re not punishing ourselves with buying that stuff we love!
O’ and a final fun fact before we get to the nitty gritty; it’s the first time TWO bands made the lists TWICE!
Welcome to the Doom Charts Top 100 albums of 2021...
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…
99. DUNERIDER – RUINS — 3984
98. KYNING – ĀN — 4004
97. SNAIL – FRACTAL ALTAR — 4032
95. KANAAN – EARTHBOUND — 4121
91. CONCLAVE – DAWN OF DAYS — 4230
85. SHUN – SHUN — 4620
79. BOTTOMLESS – BOTTOMLESS — 5238
78. KHEMMIS – DECEIVER — 5280
76. WOLFNAUT – III — 5430
75. BLIND TENDRIL – α — 5460
74. HIGH N’ HEAVY – V — 5472
73. WITCHROT – HOLLOW — 5490
71. KVASIR – 4 — 5775
68. SPACESLUG – MEMORIAL — 6210
66. SAVANAH – OLYMPUS MONS — 6300
65. WEDGE – LIKE NO TOMORROW — 6579
62. LEGBA – THE DEMON INSIDE — 6984
58. 10,000 YEARS – II — 7072
52. DUEL – IN CARNE PERSONA — 7578
50. LUCID SINS – CURSED! — 7776
48. DEATHCHANT – WASTE — 8190
45. MARAGDA – MARAGDA — 8838
44. SCARECROW – SCARECROW II — 8873
43. ACID MAGUS – WYRD SYSTER — 9310
40. CANYYN – CANYYN — 9576
37. KADABRA – ULTRA — 9660
35. OLDE – PILGRIMAGE — 10035
33. MOON COVEN – SLUMBER WOOD — 11208
31. DVNE – ETEMEN ÆNKA — 11844
28. REDSCALE – THE OLD COLOSSUS — 12768
27. VOID COMMANDER – RIVER LORD — 12848
A descent into madness? Yes please. Especially when it’s as searingly seductive as Onwards and Downwards, the newest release by ALASTOR. Scintillatingly accessible yet grimly monolithic, Alastor have painstakingly built a magnificent wall of wallowing richness; an album that simply overflows with densely packed darkness and morbidly melodic hooks. The nightmarish atmosphere and grinding, fuzzy potency of its pristine production set alight maliciously mordant lyrics cut deep with the lament tormented souls, reveling in a frenzied release of the damned. Onwards and Downwards is an oasis of skillfully delivered evil euphoria, a glistening river of sanguinary riffs and roiling rhythm. This depraved, distorted trip into darkness begs for repeated play and will doubtlessly achieve cult classic status.
~ The Doom Oracle
24. LOW ORBIT – CRATER CREATOR — 13882
Hailing from Toronto, LOW ORBIT are back with a long concocted 3rd opus. They’re on their way to conquer the Stoner/Doom zone with their intergalactic riffs reverberating through the deep space! Crater Creator interlace with dash Heavy Psych, Desert Rock and Sludge while being genuinely groovy! So crushing and powerful that Galactus himself decided to enroll them as their new heralds.
~ Marc-Eric Gagnon
23. DUNBARROW – DUNBARROW III — 14328
Trondheim, Norway’s DUNBARROW were a welcome addition to the proto-doom scene when they debuted in 2016 with a well executed sound that starts with Witchcraft and also draws on the likes of Cream, Uriah Heep and more obscure but swingin’ blues rock and proto-metal from Leafhound and Toad. The creamy guitar tones and hooky vocal melodies are strong as ever, and the band is stretching outward into subtly more progressive territories with an assist from Auver Gaaren on keys and mellotron on opener “Death That Never Dies” and Steeleye Span-style prog folk on “Turn In Your Grave.” Dunbarrow are rubbing elbows with the masters now, ensuring this fairly specialized subgenre continues to flourish into the decade.
~ Tony van Dorston
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.
~ Roberto Lucas
Imagine turning on the radio and instead of hearing Miley Cyrus or Ed Sheeran warbling something inane and trite you hear crunching guitar riffs and thundering percussion, not likely I hear you scream, but hold on a minute because if there is one “underground” band who could make that transition then it is TERMINUS a band who combine a blistering heavy metal attack with melodies it’s hard not to sing along with.
~ Frazer Jones
Your Time To Shine shows this Swedish powerhouse expanding upon their already amazing sound; their use of heavy riffs coupled with mellower, almost psychedelic sections really gives them something special. Then we add in guitar tones that most people wish they could get, some of the best percussion work on the planet, (particularly during the title track), a thunderous, massive bass guitar sound, and you get the makings of greatness!!!
~ Tom Hanno
19. BORRACHO – POUND OF FLESH — 18308
A Pound of Flesh dropped in my ears at the beginning of the month and stayed on heavy rotation ever since. BORRACHO delivers us a darker album which has as for backdrop our socio-political realities. While staying true to their Heavy groove Stoner/Desert Rock DNA, BORRACHO shows an evolution towards something different and fresh; maybe it’s cause they adopted a more progressive approach this time. BORRACHO triumphantly returns with another staple album to add to their legendary saga!!!
~ Marc-Eric Gagnon
18. KING BUFFALO – ACHERON — 18320
KING BUFFALO has earned its reputation by making a completely personal sound recognizable, but it is also showing us on each new album that the evolution of that sound is endless. Here, again, they prove it to us again with a magical album brimming with gratifying songs with innovative elements. Four long songs of ten minutes each, which have their own identity and which show us the melting pot of vibrations in which the Rochester trio unfold with ease. Relentless rhythms that always hit the right beat at the right time, guitars capable of taking you to heaven or plunging you into the most abject depths, and a sublime, hypnotic and full of magnetism bass.
~ Roberto Lucas
With their very impressive debut album, Austin TX’s HIGH DESERT QUEEN put out one of the biggest surprises in recent memory. I think this one is going to be a huge grower as more and more people get the chance to hear it. Song after song, you just simply headbang to the thundering riffs of sweet hard rock and wish for more. This is truly a must have!
~ Eric ‘The General’ Varasifsky
Through a weighty, kaleidoscopic tapestry of nostalgically laced oblivion, Circle Of Days displays a fearless, fully progressive basted allure with intricate melodies and intense vocal layering channeling flavours of the late, great Layne Staley and incomparable Chris Cornell and even at times, weirdly reminiscent of Perry Farrell. There’s an obscene amount of vocal skill and accomplished musicianship at play on Circle Of Days revealing a vibrant uniqueness which seems fearless, driven by inventive reverence; not homage. This notion spans the entire release with a manic yet beautifully succinct palate of nostalgically referential moods. Alongside positively roasting riffs which run an impossibly gnarly gamut of Sabbath, The Allman Brothers, and even a Slash-like essence we find dulcet, dancing keys which hover weirdly between absolutely menacing and utterly joyful, nestling perfectly amongst fervid, rumbling basslines, basted with Zeppelin-esque atmospherics in places on this incredibly varied and dynamic release. Circle Of Days is a journey through shameless and triumphant artistic expression, exploration and discovery and comes full circle with five tracks of evocatively retro yet freshly imagined deliciousness. HIPPIE DEATH CULT manage to capture our hearts and minds once again with this phenomenal release.
~ The Doom Oracle
15. 1782 – FROM THE GRAVEYARD — 20676
The title of the album is From The Graveyard and it starts with the slow, soft eolian sounds of the wind, haunting echoes and a vague church bell heralding the approach of something dark and twisted. That should be enough for you to feel giddy and dive head first into the occult doom that is 1782. The Italian duo has turned into a powertrio and has managed to sound even darker and malevolent. Got some candles left over? Some skulls and a vial of blood? Turn on the glacial occult doom rock of 1782’s new From The Graveyard and your evening and night is covered… Covered in blood…
~ Joop Konraad
The stoner doom foundation comes down hard, licks cut deep, encapsulated by a heavy/hard rock crunch.
~ Steve Woodier
You should really be warned from the start that the new album by RESTLESS SPIRIT “Blood of the Old Gods” is a beast. The trio from New York has created an album that easily looks eye to eye with bands like Mastodon, High on Fire and Psychonaut.
~ Ioannis Valiakos
THE BURDEN OF RESTLESSNESS is surely their darkest and heaviest album to date. If to his proven ability to create heavy-psych atmospheres, we combine his velvety shoegaze melodies, and a succession of hypnotic rhythms with a kraut vocation, along with his heavy strikes in the Stoner vein, the perfect storm is served. Managing to transmit to the listener their internal demons, the trio, with a crystalline sound, makes their songs at times lean on progressive metal vibrations; this is one of the incentives that KING BUFFALO offers us in his new album. An metal sound that beats our neurons with millimeter rhythms inevitably seduces us. The frequency ranges used, regardless of the abuse of synthesizers, are like cat purrs, which makes them have a calming effect for the listener.
~ Roberto Lucas
12. ACID MAMMOTH – CARAVAN — 23233
A horde of crushing and fuzzy Sabbath riffs, as the gigantic bass throws everything in its path. With drums that boom with supernatural rhythms in an anguished darkness. Countering their fascinating voices they manage to enchant us with their laments full of pain that comes from the depths of their entrails. Transmitting despair, they manage to find the balance between heaviness and acidity to create a gloomy story whose narrative is very fluid. Its doses of heavy psych sounds and the progressive developments that we find in the final part of the album, make listening to it fascinating.
~ Roberto Lucas
With a sound that inevitably recalls All The Witches in its heaviest facet, the band knows how to play with blues elements, forays into territories that are close to the dictates of doom, but above all, with heavy psychedelia and desert riffs. , but that also offers us moments of dark-folk. This new album is the perfect soundtrack for a trip through the desert after a generous intake of peyote. Its expansive and heavy sound at the same time, offers us atmospheric moments more typical of Colour Haze, but also innumerable riffs full of the rawness of the most orthodox stoner. As each song explores different intensities, the roller coaster of its harmonies takes us in flight to an environment in which heaviness is combined with the psychotropic.
~ Roberto Lucas
10. DRAKEN – DRAKEN — 24840
Riffs on riffs on riffs. DRAKEN’s self-titled debut is filled to the brim with guitar that stomps, gallops, spirals, and a whole mess of other acrobatics. There’s a doomy undercurrent beneath the stoner crunch and punky Red Fang vibes, and the raw vocals bring it all home. It’s early yet, but DRAKEN are already making a strong case for one of the year’s top debuts.
~ Shasta Beast
9. JAKETHEHAWK – HINTERLANDS — 24888
Strap yourself in for the ethereal experience of Hinterlands the new release from ‘JAKETHEHAWK’. Rocking out with a regal style the band describes their music as a brand of Desert/Appalachian Rock (or Allegheny Mt.) as they are known in Pennsylvania. Six songs from start to finish build a simmering ride of heavy post rock intertwined with a celestial superb prog that builds right to the end. I could compare them to Elder, Opeth, or Howling Giant but this album is some kind of special beast above and beyond while being their own brand of music. The outstanding, A-1 production is something that one expects from a release by Ripple Music. Magnificent vocals, guitar and keys throughout from John Huxley, together with Josh Emery’s impressive guitar and vocals, Justin Lober’s first-rate bass, and the superlative anchor Jordan Lober on drums bring it and bring it hard. This is an album that one doesn’t want to miss. It’s that good.
~ Mark Partin
8. DOMKRAFT – SEEDS — 25324
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.
~ The Doom Oracle
7. KABBALAH – THE OMEN — 25628
Edging it out by nearly 700 points, KABBALAH have made a statement. The Omen has cleary caught the attention of the Doom Charts council this month. Their second full length album and first on the esteemed Ripple Music roster, these 3 gals continue to progress their witchy harmonies beyond the tropes of stoner doom and into class of their own. The Omen opens 2021 with pure style and grace. Something the world needs right now.
~ Bucky Brown
6. KAL-EL – DARK MAJESTY — 26568
Norwegian Noise Druids KAL-EL epitomise the Sound of Doom. Their hybrid influences of BS, EW and CM are worn like proud bandanas, and rightly so! Their new offering “Dark Majesty” encapsulates the band’s ethos: create authentic, credible and exhilarating Doom metal in time-honoured fashion. Not only do they accomplish it, they surpass and raise the standard higher than ever. That classic Sabs background is there, but KAL-EL seem to have evolved it…run with it, made it something all of their own – and THAT is the beginning of Legends. No-Brainer for AOTY contention.
~ Reek of Stoom
5. THE AGE OF TRUTH – RESOLUTE — 26838
The Philly brotherhood is back preaching the truth via hard knocked hooks, pulsating rhythm and ferocious harmony. The fab 4 continue on their fight for humanity in the form of this 7 song self-titled with more grease than cheese steak it rode in on.
~ Bucky Brown
4. VOKONIS – ODYSSEY — 39991
VOKONIS has been moving ever forward from their doom metal beginnings to an ever more progressive future. New 6-track album Odyssey by the Swedish is their most accomplished yet; it makes expert use of all the progressive tension arcs available and still retains that incredibly heavy, doom and grunting edge. And extra cherry on top of it all is Opeth and Kamchatka’s very own Per Wiberg on keys. We all love Per and we all love VOKONIS!
~ Joop Konraad
3. SPELLJAMMER – ABYSSAL TRIP — 44754
Abyssal Trip is a sprawling, monumental and crippling slice of Psychedelic Doom that rivals Conan and Slomatics with it’s Jovian gravities and Ufomammut’s swirling, dark ambiences…TRULY EPIC! End of year lister guaranteed!
~ Reek of Stoom
2. GREEN LUNG – BLACK HARVEST — 88956
A more colorful reinvention of the band’s sound. This new GREEN LUNG album is loaded with hooks that seduce the listener with a rainbow of vintage sounds. Energetic songs with a retro aroma on a hard-progressive base, heavy-rock and successful vocal melodies. ‘Black Harvest’ is a dynamic, retro, and exciting album that quickly catches you on a journey to the late 70s and the golden age of heavy-rock. The great melodic work, the ability to arrange the songs, and the impressive production, together with the force of its powerful riffs, make ‘Black Harvest’, a serious candidate to top the charts of the best albums of the year.
~ Roberto Lucas
1. GREENLEAF – ECHOES FROM A MASS — 115192
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!
~ Doomsday Jesus
Serious AOTY contender Tommi and the guys totally killing it with ease…
~ Steve Rodger
Initial feelings are that this will be their best one since Trails. I’ll get back to you on that one!
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); Andy Kovalcik (Bandcamp-NYP-Hard&Heavy); 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); Fuzzy Cracklins (Fuzzy Cracklins); Geoff Leppard (Atom Heart Mutha); Graur Zaur (Crypt Guard); Gravitoyd HM (Gravitoyd Heavy Music); Gruby (Doomsmoker); Günther “Doktor420” (Stoner HiVe); Héctor “Mr. Heavyhead” Hurtado (More Fuzz); Hugo Hulleman (Metalfan.nl,Orange Maze); Ioannis Valiakos (Desert Vulture); Jamey Morris (Fistful of DOOM); Jay Morgan (High Desert Valley Radio); Jim Thompson (Heavy in the Hills); JJ “HP Taskmaster”Koczan (The Obelisk); John Gist, (Vegas Rock Revolution); Jonny Pirie (Hour of the Riff); Joop Konraad (Stoner HiVe); Ken Elliott (Heavy Planet); 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); Mike Williams (I Talk to Planets); Mr Stone (More Fuzz); 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); Shasta Beast (Stoner HiVe); Steve Howe (Outlaws of the Sun); Steve Rodger (God’s Holy Trousers); Steve Woodier (Deathrattle Podcast); Tanguy ‘Mr Fuzz’ Dupré (More Fuzz); Thierry “Pumpkin-T“ François (Metal Intégral); 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.