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If you are looking for new Stoner Rock, Doom, Heavy Psych or Sludge Metal bands, then you have come to the right place. Heavy Planet has been providing free promotion to independent and unsigned bands since 2008. Find your next favorite band at Heavy Planet. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

LP Review "Aeonian" by Ethereal Riffian

"Aeonian" is the result of the collective mind trip of Ethereal Riffian; 4 vibration shamans from Kiev who take psychonautical audio expeditions to unexplored heavy realms where they craft transcendent columns of brightly colored psychedelic fuzz supported by the unshakeable foundations of lowend riff-mantra doom. Ethereal Riffian, however, do not stop at simply repetitive doom and psychedelic fuzz metal, as an eclectic smorgasbord of vibrations are intricately woven into their heavy tapestry of illuminated sound. By exploring and then blending together the myriad of vibrations they discover, ER create an album that goes far beyond just 'run 'o the mill' psychedelic stoner rock and riff worshiping doom metal. "Aeonian" serves up a spiritual lesson.

There are riffs aplenty throughout "Aeonian" and they are delivered directly to your synapses from the off on the album opener "Thugdam (Sensation)". There is no time for introspective meandering or teasing with a preparatory minimal ambiance that inevitably leads to a stoner or doom riff climax as ER instead choose to launch head first into a blazing torrent of stoner metal explosions that immediately grabs and holds your attention whilst leading the way to spirit raising chants and heavy slabs of doom granite that slowly turn to shades of blissful psychedelia. A path is then laid by Ethereal Riffian that leads from the 5 sense prison to beyond the veil of illusion and reveals the hidden realms from where comes the source of all that we experience. We are then taken on a journey where spheres of blinding white light metal explode into endless meshes of vibrating riff heavy fuzz that are evoked by a boundless chanted mantra. The invoked astralscapes that burn into your third eye through the concentrated flame of white hot stoner metal provides a full blown psychedelic meditative experience without having to spend 10 years sat cross legged on a Tibetan mountain top or without having to imbibe and then purge a foul tasting root brew in the suffocatingly humid and insect ridden jungles of Peru.

What Ethereal Riffian deliver with "Aeonian" are infinite phases in sound that unfold like the petals of an eternal flower with each revealing a new dimension of hypnotically riff heavy and psychedelic stoner doom metal that is at least as transcendent as any of Om's spiritual workings and is, at times, as acid fried as any of Pink Floyd's weird sonic experiments. "Aeonian" is more than a fuzz and riff heavy stoner doom album, it is a valuable spiritual working; and with the aid of the book penned by 2 members of the band and which comes with the stunningly packaged CD, Ethereal Riffian offer themselves as learned guides towards higher states of awareness.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Band To Burn One To: Blackwülf

Heavy Planet presents...Blackwülf

Heavy on the heavy, doomy on the riffing, this vintage metal band from Oakland, CA has hit the nail on the proverbial head. Blackwülf  is comprised of Alex Cunningham (Vocals), Pete Holmes (Guitar), Dave Pankenier (Drums), and Scott Peterson (Bass). As I placed this red vinyl beauty onto my turntable. I gleamed with enthusiasm. The band's debut release "Mind Traveler" was all that I had hoped for. The record is filled to the brim with fist pumping metal anthems, head-banging rhythms and a clean impassioned vocal. A hint at late-eighties to early nineties doom can be heard throughout. Permeating into the doominess is a keen sense of melody that is interspersed with the album's hint at psychedelia.
This is meat and potatoes metal people. Dig in!

Favorite tracks: Royal Pine, Thunderwitch

Beer Pairing: Magic Hat Howl


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Sludge: Wizard Union - "Smoking Coffins"

As nuts as it can make me, I do have to give my boys credit for blindly following one rule: do whatever the fuck you want and make sure everyone else knows how good it feels. Maybe they've got the right outlook, or maybe I've allowed their misguidance to embed too deeply. But if I could capture the elation they find on a minute-by-minute basis, maybe I wouldn't need to slurp my senses toward 90 proof stutters. And how can I take things so seriously when the only lyric stenciled in my ear is "Lungsmen unearth the creed of Hasheeshian," y'know?

Fuck it, man. I needed a good time. Don't worry, the sludge-doom misanthropy, witch trials, and ultimate abandonment of the American Dream will all return next Sunday. Ann Arbor's Wizard Union sent me to a better place this morning, free of expectation and loaded with weedian repetition. You could squeeze in Smoking Coffins' six tracks during a smoke break to return refreshed and less hateful of your boss, your tie, and the realization that you'll never get promoted with that ink on your neck (your friends said she was no good, didn't they?).

If you're gonna open your debut EP with a track entitled Into the Wizard Sleeve, you could expect an element of doubt. The swampy fuzz immediately diminishes any bent schlock, however, chopping on metered licks just dirty enough to get under your nails and make small-town girls blush. Sure, there's a sleaze factor; isn't that the point? Echoing a whiff of John Garcia, the vocal slides up-close and greasy, inducing dizziness and crossing our eyes as we struggle to look forward.

Still churning but with more static is the follow-up, Aura of Evil. Dragging listeners through a poached, muddy field, this fuzz-coated lumber of slow-swung doom waits for you to dip your crusty toes and feel a quick pinch. But sting hits much quicker on the closing title track, a short and slippery beef chunk dedicated to dirty faces and swollen riffs. The chewy stoner-sludge ends abruptly, which is nice for a change. The parallels between tracks one and six are numerous and these fattened bookends are perfectly placed.

The rainy saturation of Sorcerer's Blues slices cheese and chips ice, stoning sludge-drafted rhythms with every repetitious riff. Progressions whittle on Thoth Amon, re-ascending on Sabbath-y wood-shredded slugs that burn like fire. But the spacey fuzz and sludge drag of Beyond This World lick and poke heads above cloudy water, only to convulse on licks and return to sludge tempos. Chippy brake-checks never quite stall the motor, and the hollow buzz swells with smoke and turns the track into the strongest on the EP.

These nugs are short, punchy, and catchy, while the buzz is nearly numbing. I tried to tell you this was gonna be fun. The second listen was better than the first, and I'm not leaving this EP any time soon. Sludge, doom, stoner metal... The influences here are numerous and well-honored. Smoking Coffins spreads with sores, but you can scratch that kitty with half-smiles when the burn is this mellow. Get a bucket; Wizard Union are about to fuzz.

For fans of: Sabbath, Fu Manchu, (some) Mudhoney
Pair with: Bell's Cherry Stout, Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

EP Review - "BongCauldron" by BongCauldron

The UK's BongCauldron get their green teeth stuck into 2014 with their debut release, the self titled "BongCauldron" released on Superhot Records, which contains 5 hits of big fuzzed, low down and pleasingly dirty stoner/doom metal with a big heap of sludge added to the deep bowl. Describing themselves as "Occult Intoxicating Doomfuck" they play "Coma-inducing, oppressive riffs" that, after the first hit will leave your head at first rattling with huge fuzz noise and then totally crushed by the billowing clouds of doom smoke delivered by BongCauldron.

"Tree Wizard" is the first hit from the bowl and from brief feedback that surges up your spine the riffs hit hard in a huge wave of weedian grooves and harsh sludge vocals that can only be coughed up from the lungs of a master bongsman. The hit rattles intensely with a catchy but pulverizing riff while violently bashed percussion drives the groove directly into your THC receptors leaving you all itchy eye'd and couch locked.

BongCauldron don't appreciate lightweights so another big hit is forced upon you with "Pissed Up" and a jammed out bass line that leads to another surge of THC fueled riff smoke that burns your lungs and steals the feeling from your legs. The groove in this hit unfolds and morphs from a stoned exultation to fast paced sludge paranoia and back again in a thick haze of slow and low then heart racing waves of impending doom.
The final minute of "Pissed Up" is incapacitated under a heavy blanket of droning sludge that briefly rises in fits and starts of stoned riffs until it all breaks down into screeching feedback.

Just when you're entering the dribbling sleepy zone BongCauldron wake you up with "Vehemence", a punch in the face offered as a big hit of some tearing thrash sludge, stinking of an EYEHATEGOD strain of heavy punk/metal. Double kicks over sludge grime make this a violently dirty hit of powerful smoke that gradually settles and slows as it takes effect and an almost relaxing fuzz tone slows to a near stop before a movement of upbeat bass precedes a surge of stoned excitation. The hit takes us then on a blaze of stoner metal elevations that rocket spaceward leaving a trail of colorful psychedelic smoke and fire.

Then comes "Gimp Jig", the biggest hit so far and one that fills the bowl with a blend of big stinky sludge and tasty bass grooves that jam out a satisfying churn of stoner and sludge metal not unlike those other dopelords Weedeater, Bongzilla and Sleep. The hit lurches along sloth-like and very highly baked until half way when a sudden rise in energy teases the senses before a heavier, slower and even more turgid sludge-out pins you to your couch. The filth then gives way to a fuzz rattling bass line and uplifting guitar riffwork which builds to a firestorm of stoner metal dedication to blow off the sludge steam; creating a gratifying hit from the BongCauldron which really hits the spot.

With the high of the previous hit still lingering, the 5th and final hit "Gauze Rite" carries forward the stoner metal dedication with satiating, repetitively heavy riffs that tumble forward with the aid of big grough, lung scorched vocals. At the half way point phazers are set to stoner-doom and so a thundering of stoner and doom metal rumbles and rattles the rafters and then builds to a bong lifting anthem that shows where BongCauldron's green hearts love to dwell.

These 3 dopelords have finely blended the rough with the groove in their heavy BongCauldron and have managed to deliver 5 hits of high grade weedian doom and sludge metal from the same strain as the bands I have already mentioned above. Go to their Bandcamp now so BongCauldron can pack your bowl tightly with their satisfying rendition of weed praising heavy metal.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Album Review: Moosataur S/T

The members of Moosataur enjoy drinking beer. And jamming. When they first got together they didn't set out to play any specific style, they just let muse and the booze be their guide. From these sessions came a punk album, but guitarist John Mckusick, kept pumping out metal solos that didn't fit with the feel of the punk album. Why was he playing these solos?

John didn't know, but the solos were recorded. Not sure what to do with the metal material, they kept the recordings on the proverbial shelf, until Ira Jones (bass) got a message. It wasn't a real message, just an idea, an urge, to draw a Minotaur. With the head of a Moose. Jon saw the drawing and uttered one word. 


After this vision and the band set about making an album in its image. John delved into ancient texts found in his local library to learn more about the Moosataur. He discovered this about the beast. "There is very little information on the internet so I had to refer to the ancient texts. Now what we know of the creature today is believed that he is Canadian. I just couldn’t accept that so I had to dig a little deeper and discovered the Älgfroden, a species of beast in Norse Mythology with these same characteristics. What I have come to understand is that even though Älgfrode was mostly a peaceful species, when their tribes were threatened they could become extremely protective and capable of great force and violence due to their size. The vikings grew to fear them so they had come together and made the plan to capture the beast. They then brought it to and released it in the Northern Americas years before any civilization where he roamed aimlessly, the last of his kind. I believe what we have now is the ghost of the beast, Still capable of great terror. I believe great supernatural abilities have been bestowed upon the Moosataur due the the extremely painful fate it had been dealt. He stalks the night!

Perhaps the spirit of the Moosataur compelled John to play those riffs. Perhaps its spirit willed Ira to draw that strange combination of man and moose. Whatever it was that gave them the idea they couldn't shake it. They brought in a professional to draw the Moosatuar album cover. They dusted off those solos Jon stored away. They began to stretch their punkish jams, adding a dose of psychedelia, and some old school grunge. 

And now the album is complete. They are ready to share the story of the Moosataur with us. Start with the tune below, but be sure to check out the entire album. It's a an old school concept record. Telling a story that's never been told. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Sludge: Ladybird

Better late than never? The landlord won't let you get away with that shit, man. He also can't stand all the complaining from your neighbors upstairs. The knocks couldn't disrupt your weed coma, he can't collect, and the fuzz from below ain't exactly keepin' Bruce's feet warm. I spent a bit too much time livin' the high life and now it's just me and a few dusty records sorting out ends and pieces.

2013 is gone, but look what just fell outta my pocket. Phoenix trio Ladybird released a pair of puffed-out albums that display their range and their hazy focus. It took damn near a half-year, but I was... uh, busy. Offering spacey psych on Spliff & Wesson and hillbilly doom on Tombstoned, Ladybird may be the most prolific riff-wringing band you haven't heard. I hope you brought snacks; ah, Saladitos! Perfecto.

I wasn't sure where to start, and it probably doesn't matter. Spliff & Wesson is the tandem's cosmic haze, echoing with pans and warbles for twenty-four minutes of long drags. Numbness creeps in and your ears are gonna itch from the collected fuzz, progressively lumbering upward and outward. The growl revealed between shrill, spiking stalagmite licks rips with malevolence, so when you flip the cassette to Nossew & Ffilps, you'd better make sure the balance of your buzz doesn't rest on paranoia. Yes, you knew this would happen. Ladybird eliminated the dirty work for us and flipped their psychedelic stoner-doom square on its ass. And it's awesome.  

When you're ready to come down, have a seat with Tombstoned's Intro, a bayou-plucked reprieve that's wholly misleading. Five and a half clicks is hardly enough time to clean up, but it's reflective, soothing, and clear by comparison. Weedy doom rolls in on Papers, crashing through your trailer wall like a jilted lover after uncovering the truth. The drone tapestry shakes with every interruptive riff, and Ladybird strike hard and often. Repetitive, reverberative riffage introduces the crushing No Reason, a blow after blow punishment for the glutton. There's even an astral nod to S&W, glowing through bed sheet window treatments until the furry beast returns. Ending your trip with the twenty-two minute Marble Orchard may be the best or worst decision you'll make today. Doom landmines are promised at every step, so steady your stare and tread lightly.

You're gonna have fun with these releases. You'll discover occasional parallels, and Ladybird's divergent paths hardly pose a red pill/blue pill dilemma. Shit, take 'em both. Just know your limits and don't test them. If you've got the time, you'll have fun tackling both Spliff & Wesson and Tombstoned on a Sunday drive. And if you've lost your steam, put Ladybird's leftovers in the fridge and enjoy them tomorrow. Heavy Planet honors and showcases stoner rock, doom metal, sludge metal, and psychedelia. Sounds like Ladybird fucking nailed it!

For fans of: Weedeater, Sleep, Salem's Pot
Pair with: Raison D'Etre, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Reg's Top 20 of 2013

As we enter a new year, we reflect back on some of the best releases of the past year. Everyone has their favorites, many of which show up on multiple lists. We have the unique opportunity at Heavy Planet to hear some of the best independent and underground bands from around the world as well as some of the more popular artists we love and enjoy. Some of these albums may come as a pleasant surprise to many of you, and many will be of no surprise at all, especially in my case with three of my all-time favorite bands putting out a release in 2013. So here it is, in all it's ear-gratifying glory, my Top 20 albums of 2013.

20. Weed is Weed-Blunt Force Trauma

After seeing these guys perform at the Borracho "Smokin" Brown Ale" release show in DC last spring, I have had this album in heavy rotation. Tasty riffing, doomy grooves and gruff vocal barking from Dave Sherman (Earthride) provides the backbone for this album about what else, weed. It also marks the reunion of Gary Isom and the aforementioned Dave Sherman, both from Spirit Caravan. Tracks such as "Weed is Weed", "Low To No", and "Big Green Patch" are highlights of this killer, soon to be legendary stoner doom record. Look for it's re-release by Ripple Music sometime this year (hopefully on Green vinyl).

19. Orchid-Mouths of Madness

The last release "Capricorn" from Orchid was my number one album of 2011, now it is 2013 and these dudes from San Francisco keep laying on the 70's Sabbath-influenced jams. Possibly the most prolific new doom rock band to come out in the past few years, they have inspired a new legion of fledgling bands to follow in their footsteps. Great riffs, awesome retro feel and precise delivery. Personally, I have to say that I love this band.

18. Monster Magnet-Last Patrol

Sure, Monster Magnet goes down in the books as one of my favorite bands of all-time and if it were not for all of the remaining albums on this list, "Last Patrol" would have probably been ranked much higher. The band returned primarily to it's roots providing a more vintage sound and a less "commercial" hard rock sound. This album is more psychedelic and atmoshperic than their previous few efforts and provides a more trippy vibe. I can dig it.

17. Arrowhead-Atomsmasher

This three-piece from Australia is stoner rock in the truest sense of the genre. Warm and fuzzy guitar tones, seventies psychedelics, doomy riffs and a steady groove glisten amongst tight melodies. Reminescent of such luminaries as Dozer, Lowrider and Truckfighters. Don't let this one pass you by.

16. Beelzefuzz-Beelzefuzz

Harkening back to a bygone era, the seventies were possibly the best time for hard rock music. Beelzefuzz has managed to capture that sound. While not your typical doom, the music does have a doomy feel but is more in the hard rock variety. Great melodies, tight musicianship and a vocalist that for some reason reminds me of Michael Kiske of Helloween fame makes this one a winner.

15. Lumbar-The First and Last Days of Unwelcome

Facing a daily battle with Multiple Sclerosis, Aaron Edge (Himsa) poured out his heart, soul and emotion onto this record. With the help of Mike Scheidt (YOB) and Tad Doyle (TAD) how could you go wrong? The riffs are gigantic and the tone is merciless. Intense, vile and grim sludgy doom... just the way I like it.

14. Sons of Huns-Banishment Ritual

This is my pick for the album that basically just kicks your ass. Portland, Oregon has recently become a hotbed for great music and with the release of "Banishment Ritual", Sons of Huns has firmly cemented a place in my top 20. From 70's inspired super-bluesy doom riffs to sonic blasts of stoner metal fury, there isn't a bad one in the bunch. The vocals lie somewhere between Brian Connolly of The Sweet and J. D. Cronise from The Sword. Each time I listen, I feel my beard getting thicker and thicker.

13. Paissano-Paissano

While I was on vacation this past spring, Seth did a "New Band To Burn One To" on this band in my absence. Ever since I have been hooked. Hailing from Argentina, this full-length from Paissano is an addictive hard-driving blast of fuzz-fueled stoner metal. Thanks for this one Seth.

12. Stoned Cobra-High and Mighty

An awesome psyche-tinged stoner doom band isn't something that you would typically find in the state of Alabama, at least one without a glimmer of southern sludge, but Stoned Cobra came as quite a surprise. Slow chugging rhythms, mind-bending psychedelics and a vocalist with great chops. From soft balladry to heavy as fuck pummelling, these guys found the right balance to make one hell of a record. 
High and Mighty indeed!

11. Earthless-From the Ages

The last time Earthless released an album was in 2007 with the classic "Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky", a year before Heavy Planet made its internet debut. Well all I have to say is it is about damn time. For those of us that have patiently waited for this release, many like myself were not disappointed. Personally, I am a huge fan of instrumental albums and the great thing about Earthless is that their music demonstrates a huge emotional connection with the listener. The musicianship is once again stellar and the songs just ebb and flow with key precision and timing. So freakin' amazing!

10. Black Rainbows-Holy Moon EP

One of my wife's favorite bands has quickly become one of my favorites as well. And why not, this "EP" is a perfect representation of what is so great about this genre of music. Hailing from Rome, Italy, the band rages on with breathtaking psychedelic freakout soloing, face-melting fuzziness and a kick-ass groove to boot.

09. Switchblade Jesus-Switchblade Jesus

Oh hell yeah, my buds from Corpus Christi, Texas finally released their debut album and what a killer album it is. Don't let the intro fool you folks, this is one scorcher of a record. Great riffing with a southern swagger and a groove, dare I say, the size of Texas. Stand up and take notice because Switchblade Jesus is kicking ass and taking names. Vinyl coming sometime in 2014.

08. Egypt-Become the Sun

This album came out way back in January of 2013 and I tucked it away so I wouldn't forget about it which I tend to do with releases early in the year. This is such a great rock record. The mega-riffing and gruff vocals from this Fargo, ND band will stick to your ribs on a cold and snowy night. Unfortunately, I missed out on my vinyl copy of this release. By the way, they also released a killer split with one of my all-time favs Wo Fat called "Cyclopean Riffs". You should check that one out as well.

07. Summoner-Atlantian

The sophmore effort from this Boston-based band under the Summoner moniker is full of strong song structures, swirling psychedelics and chest-crushing riffs which captivate and obliterate as you are guided through this epic and mighty journey. This album is the perfect follow-up to the band's critically-acclaimed full-length "Phoenix" released in 2012. Vinyl is the way to go on this one, you'll thank me.

06. Tumbleweed Dealer-Tumbleweed Dealer

Opening track "Opiates" is hands down my favorite song of the year. That song is the perfect introduction of what to expect on this intense and brooding instrumental masterpiece. The perfect album to put on headphones and chill-out to.

05. Vista Chino-Peace

Finding the right words to say why you like an album can sometimes be a daunting task, whether it is was because you were expecting something different or you were so knocked off your feet that you were at a loss for words. This album for me is a little bit of both. For one, I was expecting something a bit heavier. Secondly, some songs on this album are just so damn good. Primarily speaking, "Adara", "Still Remain" and "Barcelonian". Sure, this album is still heavy, but in a different way. The intense vibe and song build-up is more vibrant and song-writing is just superb, Garcia's vocals are as good as ever and Brant Bjork's drumming is so fluid. Bruno does a tremendous job and Nick provides a solid bass line. 
That's enough, just enjoy.

04. Borracho-Oculus

I had the opportunity to meet these fine gentlemen and had the pleasure of seeing them play live on a few occasions this past year. After hearing them play the songs live, I couldn't wait to hear them on record. We were even given the opportunity to have the exclusive stream of this gem back in July. These guys in my opinion are one of the premier bands in the land and "Oculus" just blew me away.

03. Supervoid-Filaments

One of the shows that I was referring to in the Borracho script also included this band from my backyard. This five-piece progressive studge metal band from Pittsburgh, PA blew my mind as well. It was not until the second time I saw them that I had mentioned to a few of my fellow Heavy Planet compadres, that were also in attendence that these guys would sound awesome on record. They agreed, and Supervoid did not disappoint.

02. Black Sabbath-13

While the album was maybe a tad bit over-produced and didn't capture the "sound" that I was expecting and was a bit dissappointed to see Bill Ward not partake, the album still had plenty of great songs and masterful riffing. I could probably write a book on what is good and bad about this album, but I don't want to bore anyone. Black Sabbath will always be my favorite band. This is primarily a nostalgic ranking and if not for a primo release by the next band this would have been number one.

01. Clutch-Earth Rocker

Well, would you expect anything else? It is no surprise that this was my number one album of the year. How many bands can actually go on tour and play just about every song off of a new album and have their fans not give a shit because it was so damn good. That takes balls. This was an amazing album throughout and the band still impresses with their live performance each and every time. 
Thank you Clutch!!
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sam's Top 20 of 2013

I didn't start my 2013 expecting to write up a top 20, but I am certainly thankful now for the gems I unearthed in anticipation of the year end lists. I feared the untimely deaths of Slayer's Jeff Hanneman and Eyehategod's Joey LaCaze would cast an shadow on the year as a whole. Those incidents paired with half of Baroness' departure (following the bus crash) soured my year early. Thankfully 2013 left a lot to be explored and I'm far from discovering all it had to offer. From what I managed to delightfully cram into my ears, here is my top 20.

20. Wet Nuns – Wet Nuns


Earlier this year I was addicted briefly to the UK duo Wet Nuns. The rude n' raw "Broken Teeth" caught my attention and I went from there. I soon found I had played out just about everything they'd released and I ached for new fuel. The good news is they delivered a gritty and shamelessly fun debut LP in October; The bad news is they broke up pretty much immediately afterwards. I'm bummed that I'll never get the chance to see them live, but fairly understanding of the "jokey band, one album" breakup cliche. Not to mention the poor public appeal of Wet Nuns merch. My logo patch draws some unbelievable hate glares.

19. Lord Dying – Summon The Faithless

I saw Lord Dying open for Black Tusk and Red Fang back in 2012. I remember this moment mostly because I had, until Lord Dying took the stage, assumed that guitarist/vocalist Olson was the venue security. He's a bear of a gentleman and mutilates a six-string with expected proficiency. Summon The Faithless is a beer soaked grizzly set ablaze and It more than satisfies the cravings of a starving High On Fire fan like myself. Lord Dying play a familiar, thunderous brand of metal that really never gets old. Summon The Faithless is rock solid and an easy record to include in any end of year list. 

18. Anciients – Heart Of Oak


Catching my attention with tantalizing art, Heart Of Oak's prog infused riffing delighted me instantly when peeking beneath the cover. The fantasy-oriented balladry appealed to the 9th grade power metal nerd that's apparantly still hiding somewhere inside me. The song “Giants” struck a chord from the first listen and encompasses much of what Anciients get across in the release. Arabic melodies meets double-kicked doom meets 80's solos. Good Stuff. 

17. Doomriders - Grand Blood


Doomriders are sinister, doomy sludge at it's finest. Dark and raunchy, Grand Blood is chugs it's way into the 17 spot.

16. Melvins - Tres Cabrones


The Melvins have always been a huge influence to me and I've been ecstatic to see them put out so much stuff recently. I was content with Everybody Loves Sausages but hell I'll take a whole new LP of original material and shut up. Tres Cabrones is quintessential Melvins and holds on to all the power grooves and whacked-out vocals I'm used to, but the Melvins never fail to surprise listeners at least a little bit. Tres Cabrones has some catchy hooks and fun experimentation - another easy top 20 for me.

15. Vista Chino - Peace


Vista Chino is new Kyuss, and once I got that through my skull I really started to appreciate the Vista Chino release for what it is - fuzzy desert rock. I'm a sucker for any Garcia lead Kyuss project and though Peace didn't exactly bring any staggering stylistic changes to the table, it holds up enough to spin pretty regularly.

14. Hot Lunch - Hot Lunch

Leering at me from between the pages of Decibel magazine, Hot Lunch caught my eye with the brightly colored ads and of course the unusual band name. I was a little late to the party when it came to actually giving Hot Lunch a spin. This record is sure to grow on me even more than it already has in the few short weeks I've lived with it. Hot Lunch offer up a flavorful, powerful blend of vintage acid rock and are drawing a lot of positive attention because of it - and rightfully so.

13. Black Sabbath - 13

I will appropriately include Sabbath at number 13, and I would go so far as to say they deserve it. Most truths about this record have already been spoken. In the grand scope of Sabbath records, 13 is a drop in the bucket, but for the year it wasn't half bad. Ozzy and the gang knocked out a few tasty licks and fun was had by all. I would have liked Ward to keep drum duties but hey I'll take whatever Sabbath I can get. 

12. Pelican - Forever Becoming

Forever Becoming is a superb record and more importantly a reassurance that Pelican is going to contunue making new music and performing. Pelican meld fearlessly heavy riffs with calm post rock elements and have released nothing but solid records since their inception 

11. Earthless - From The Ages

Earthless play some endlessly grooving psychedelic dream rock that I can't imagine going to sleep without anymore. Though often interchanged with similar sensations like Samsara Blues Experiment or Pelican, Earthless continue to drop quality and spacey jams.

10. Red Fang - Whales and Leeches

I was excited about the new Red Fang release for what felt like ages before it came out. I wasn't particularly enthused by the single "Blood Like Cream", it was catchy enough for me to keep my hopes high for the record. Sure enough, Red Fang deliver an ultra-catchy yet gloomy third LP. Red Fang may never make another "Prehistoric Dog", but they're far from making a bad record. The popular music videos and Late Show appearances don't indicate any one hit wonder burnout, so I'm happy. 

9. Howl - Bloodlines


Howl are filthy, industrial tinged sludge and I love it. While I don't think their sophomore attempt is quite what Full Of Hell was; but it is catchy and angry as hell - which is really all that's important. I kid, but Howl stuck a few bomb tracks under some pretty cover art and I ate it up. 

8. Monster Magnet – Last Patrol

Seth mentioned last Sunday that this was his favorite artwork of the year and I certainly agree. Beneath the celestial minotaur that rocks the cover, Last Patrol is an anthem-packed composition of Wyndorf-fronted, fist-pumping rock. What more could I say?

 7. Orchid – Mouths of Madness

If you've been anywhere near the psychedelic rock or metal scene lately, you've probably heard of Orchid. I caught the buzz about them at the same time as everyone else and naturally sat down to give Mouths Of Madness a listen. Orchid play impeccable retro rock but with a bit more bravado than most related acts, which gives them a real standout persona. I'm spinning Mouths Of Madness weekly and with no end to the ritual in sight, therefore Orchid makes my top ten with flying colors.

6. Kadavar – Abra Kadavar

I was happy to see a follow up album to 2012's self titled so quickly. I was quite stricken by their first attempt and just as pleased with last years montage of thumpy 70's basslines and bone dry drums. Abra Kadavar is, for better or worse, a more polished sounding record than the debut but no doubt a monument to revival style psychedelic rock.

5. All Them Witches – Lightning At The Door


I heard the track "When God Came Back" between sets at a local venue a few months back and it blew my mind. I tirelessly quested to find the name of the band only to realize it was by the all too familiar All Them Witches. I of course knew them from 2012's Our Mother Electricity but didn't remember them sounding like this. Lightning At The Door is jam packed with chunky riffing and a tasteful teaspoon of folk: An especially good spin cover to cover, but the aforementioned When God Comes Back is monstrous enough on it's own to satisfy a quick fix.

4. Kylesa – Ultraviolet


It was hard to keep from running down the street shaking small children and animals while shouting “New Kylesa!!!” when I first heard there was to be a new Kylesa record. After their last two  compulsory headbang inducing releases, I think it's safe to say they've made it a streak. Ultraviolet is brimming with punky sludge and driven by even more double drummer mayhem. Ultraviolet is a top ten gimme in my opinion.

3. Windhand - Soma


Soma is damn catchy. Hook driven and down tuned - I was all over it as soon as I could get my hands on it. Soma possesses a certain rare ambience that makes it rather therapeutic to listen to in the car or while engaging in other mundane or relaxing activities. Enjoying the record passively tends to make the gospel of an LP feel like only a few tracks, but it's hard to complain when each song is an epic in it's own right. Call it a hometown bias, but I'd be a fool to leave it any lower on my list.

2. Jex Thoth – Blood Moon Rise

Jex Thoth's self titled is easily one of my top 20 all time favorite records, so naturally the bar for Blood Moon Rise was set pretty high. That being said, Blood Moon Rise is incredibly moving and is very nearly on par with my number one pick. The single “KeepYour Weeds” initially caught me off guard with it's hazy, haunting softness – not like the gut crushing sludge of the self titled. After embracing the stylistic changes, I quickly found myself listening to the release daily. I am impressed with the album as a whole though especially in awe of Keep Your Weeds and following track Ehja. Jex delivers a tome of ethereal psychedelic doom that beats you to shit and then leaves you to enjoy a recurring introspective journey. A unique combination of experiences.

  1. Clutch – Earth Rocker

Here it is: the Big Kahuna. No surprises Clutch made their best album in a decade and it's a hell of a spin. To start, theres not a bad song on the thing. Every single track is a catchy dose of badass blues rock. Clutch return to some of their former heaviness (not quite 1994 heavy, but heavy) to serve up a pound of steaming hot grooves. Neil Fallon has developed magnificiently as a vocalist and really works the pipes throughout the album, never abandoning the free-form stream of conciousness lyrics we know and love. Like I said, Clutch are no strangers to the top but I was more than impressed by the promisingly-advertised Earth Rocker. My Virginia hometown is being graced with their presence tomorrow night and I'm anxious hear the record the way it's meant to be heard!  

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