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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Album review: DRYLAND-S/T LP (Stoner-Metal-Punk)

"Dance on the pelts of your enemies, drunk on the blood of a jaguar..."
 Dryland™ formed in the winter of 2014. Members Brad, Clapper, Ryan, Luke and Hollie are here to play you some loud, long, crunchy songs full of thunderous riffs and bizarre, unsettling lyrics. 
Some great albums came out in 2016 and if Dryland's 7 song lp is any indicator of 17' then we're already off to a great start! Each track is full of great heavy tones accentuated with Brad Lockhart's vocals which remind me subtly of some great early 90's noise rock styled vocal deliverance, which is a-ok in my book. From Second Hand Smoke to Moss Witch you can't go wrong.
Someone needs to put these songs to vinyl so I can post pics of it spinning on  my turntable. This band is turning heads and I'm sure will be doing plenty of stage leveling in the years to come.
Catch their release show Feb 25th in their hometown of Bellingham Wa, at the Shakedown  with Helms Alee and Wild powers! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

WM's Top Ten for 2016

It’s that time of year people, there is snow on the ground, the fireplace is flickering its satanic majesties in the background and I just curled up in my red and green SnuggieTM with a Jameson neat to give you the gift that keeps on giving.  Yes, it’s time for my Top Ten List of new albums for 2016.  

2016 was a tough year, my spiritual guide Lemmy died three days before it started.  Then Bowie died and everyone else it seems.  But the music of 2016 was amazing.  We saw some new bands and some familiar ones put out an astounding number of great albums.  To put all of those together into a list of ten based on my personal preferences is tough to do because there was so much that I enjoyed this year.  But for you good people, I will do my best.  

10. First up is Mississippi Bones and their fourth release 2600 A.D.: And Other Astonishing Tales.  

Heavy, crusty blues rock from this 6 piece band from Ada, Ohio that is so prolific they don't have time to take themselves too seriously.  2600 A.D. is catchy, very well done and one I found myself going back to frequently this year.  

Facebook | Bandcamp

9. Next we have from Bordeaux, France Mars Red Sky and their third release Apex III: Praise For The Burning Soul.  The album is a wonderfully crafted, complex journey of sound.  The ability to take a song from the first few notes of massive and crushing fuzz to a delicate meandering piano accompanied only by vocals, as they do in the title track Apex III, shows their mastery of dynamics and arrangement.  

Facebook | Bandcamp | Website

8. In the eight spot is Nine Years from Montreal, Quebec's Mountain Dust.  Pure, gritty, beautiful heavy blues rock and roll in all it's glory.  Nine Years is one you instantly fall for and fall hard.  It is a turbulent love affair and the emotion is always center stage, but brought forth in tones that shift from boozy bravado to placid introspection.  A tremendous album and now one of my favorite bands.      

Facebook | Bandcamp | Website

7. Orion by King Buffalo takes my seventh spot.  This album is a gorgeous and dizzying journey of heavy riffs and driving percussion delivered with vocal elegance from this Rochester, New York trio.  This is not one of those albums you skip from song to song trying to get to your favorites, it is an experience that can only be undertaken properly from beginning to end.  

Facebook | Bandcamp | Website

6. Whores. Gold. A raucous front kick in the face that is almost as good as seeing them do what they do in front of a crowd.  This album hits hard again and again and then it hits you once more for good measure after the cops have locked them in handcuffs.  This three piece out of Atlanta, Georgia have made an album that has taken aggression to its most beautiful state, completely raw and unforgiving with the sarcastic brilliance of the lyrics being the only thing as malleable as the title of the album.


Facebook | Bandcamp | Website


5. In my fifth spot I have the return of one of my favorite bands.  Greek stoner legends 1000mods brought us their third full length release Repeated Exposure To... and it is everything I could have wanted. 

Facebook | Bandcamp | Website

4. Coming in at the number four spot is the London four piece Elephant Tree and their self-titled first full length album.  This album is beautiful, cohesive and impressive.  Combining elements of blues, stoner rock, doom and psychedelia this is where music is headed.  The sixth track Echoes is my song of the year and a great illustration of their abilities to bring all these elements together and move music forward.  

Facebook | Bandcamp

3. In the third spot is Swan Valley Heights from Munich, Germany and their self-titled debut.  You know you are listening to something special when after each spin you find something more to enjoy, your favorite song changes again and again until it covers every single one on the album.  This album is a masterpiece. 

Facebook | Bandcamp | Website

2. The second spot goes to Borlänge, Sweden's one and only Greenleaf and their Rise Above The Meadow.  With each listen I am more impressed with the talent, songwriting ability and obvious love of their craft that these four gentlemen possess.  Individually they are all amazing in their own right, together as they show through this release they are somehow even more.   


Facebook | Bandcamp 


1.  My album of the year goes to Boston's own Gozu and their fourth release RevivalWhat struck me from my first listen of Revival is how resolute these four gentlemen are in their single purpose of  bringing something different and truly their own to the table.  To do so with the precision, style and fearlessness they display on this album is a triumph we all get to share. 

Facebook | Bandcamp | Website


Monday, January 16, 2017

Toby's Top 10...Err 11...of 2016

Being that we’re already two weeks into 2017, let me be the last to wish everyone a happy new year.  My words don’t grace the pages of Heavy Planet as often as they once did, but I can tell you that I still follow this amazing music scene as fervently as I always have.  As a result, I’ve got a few records I’d like to share with you all.  Some of these have already been mentioned by Reg and the other members of the excellent HP staff and some may be new even to them.  So without further ado, here are my favorite albums from 2016.

11) Feller Buncher – 203040

For starters, yes I’m including a #11 this year.  The reason being is that technically this is not a full length album, but rather a 5 song EP.  But it’s so fucking good that I just couldn’t resist including it here, so voila, we have a list that goes to 11!  Now a feller buncher…in case you’re wondering, as I was…is one of those massive harvesting machines that’s capable of cutting (felling) and gathering (bunching) several trees at a time.  They’re heavy machines that can cause a lot of destruction in a short amount of time.  And that pretty much sums up this EP.  Hailing from Paris, France, Feller Buncher combine mammoth riffs with a melodic, drill sergeant bark (think Neil Fallon meets Mike Patton), and some of the best drum work on display in 2016.  Had 203040 been stretched into a full length, this very likely would have been my favorite album of the year.  Check out “After You” for a quick hit sample.

10) Wretch – S/T

The self-titled debut from this Indianapolis power trio is much, much more than a simple doom record.  Wretch is a band that has risen from the ashes of what was once, doom stalwarts The Gates of Slumber.  When Jason McCash, former bassist for that band, passed away in 2014, vocalist/guitarist Karl Simon decided not to carry on under the moniker of his original band out of respect for his fallen brother.  Taking the new band name from the title of the final Gates of Slumber album, Simon recruited drummer Chris Gordon, who had played with Slumber on and off in the past, and newcomer Bryce Clarke on bass.  The resulting debut record is one of immense sorrow, pain, and regret all buried beneath a wall of plodding riffs.  Simon himself says that he’s “often on the verge of tears while playing,” and I can’t think of anything more sincere than that.  This is the real deal folks, pure emotion set to music and the results are staggering.  Give a listen to “Rest in Peace” for a sample.

9) Greenleaf – Rise above the Meadow

This one was released way back in February and was probably the first record of 2016 that I absolutely knew would end up on this list.  Greenleaf are kind of an interesting band given that the only consistent member is guitarist Tommi Holappa of Dozer fame.  The band was originally a sort of side project for members of various Swedish bands (Demon Cleaner, Lowrider, Truckfighters, the aforementioned Dozer), but seems to have become Holappa’s primary gig.  You’ll get no complaints from me.  Rise Above the Meadow sees the band taking a leaner, meaner approach to what we heard on 2014’s Trails and Passes and that’s evident right from the opening punch of “A Million Fireflies.”  Don’t get me wrong, Greenleaf still showcases their bluesy backbone throughout the album, but there’s an urgency here that I didn’t hear on its predecessor.  Put plainly, this thing rocks.  Check out “Howl” for a taste of what to expect. 

8) Whores. - Gold

Atlanta’s Whores. proudly carry the torch for early 90’s noise rock, bringing it screaming into the modern era and shoving it right up the ass of today’s PC culture.  The band pummels your eardrums with feedback laced guitar and militaristic drums while vocalist/guitarist Christian Lembach channels his inner-David Yow as he screeches on “Baby Teeth”…“this place is a joke, always broke…cannot save, what I don’t own.”  Yeah these guys are pissed the fuck off.  As with it’s title and cover art, the album is drenched in dark humor and scathing social commentary.  Check out the track “I See You Are Also Wearing a Black T-Shirt” where Lembach screams ”can’t pretend it’s getting better, can we talk about the weather?…or something else benign…can’t you see we’re closing in, on end times.”  Yeah, listening to Gold will bring you back to a time when Amphetamine Reptile Records ruled the underground and bands like Helmet were on the verge of blowing up the mainstream.  Whores. are the last of a dying breed, they are the noisiest, most chaotic band making music these days, and I’m here to tell you, chaos never sounded so good.

7) Dinosaur Jr. – Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not

This is the 4th album released by the original Dinosaur Jr. lineup of J Mascis (guitar/vocals), Lou Barlow (bass/vocals), and Murph (drums) since their reunion in 2005 and it has all the hallmarks of the band’s feedback drenched sound that made them alt-rock heroes in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Heavy Planet readers will likely be more familiar with Mascis’ stoner rock side project, Witch, but shouldn’t sleep on the band that made the man famous.  Dinosaur Jr. are masters of layering fuzzed out tones under mountains of distortion all the while keeping a keen sense of melody as Mascis delivers his signature whine.  Sure, underneath all that fuzz, these are in essence pop songs, but Dinosaur Jr. somehow manage to make them sound incredibly heavy.  Check out “I Walk for Miles” and hear for yourself.  Dinosaur Jr. may not be what you’d typically think of as “heavy,” but that word can mean a lot of things and to my ears, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not earns a well deserved spot on this list.  

6) 1000Mods – Repeated Exposure To…

I got into 1000Mods after hearing their contribution to our first HP compilation Bong Hits from the Astral Basement back in 2013, and I kept right on getting into them with the release of their 2014 album Vultures.  With this latest record, the four piece from Chiliomodi, Greece picks right up where they left off with a heavy dose of low end grooves, tasty riffs, and fuzz for days.  Fun fact…1000Mods is a play on words related to the band’s hometown, as “chilia” means 1000 in Greek.  Right from the opening churn of “Above 179,” the band’s massive dual guitar assault is evident and as you make your way through the record, that heavy riffage gives way to introspective solos and nuanced vocals that add depth and layers to these songs.  I’ve noticed Truckfighters popping up on festival bills around the U.S. over the past couple of years and it seems to me that Repeated Exposure To… may just be the album that similarly brings 1000Mods over to the U.S. for some well deserved…well…exposure. 

5) Droids Attack – Sci-Fi or Die

It had been about six years since we last heard from Madison, Wisconsin’s Droids Attack by the time they finally released Sci-Fi or Die.  A rotating cast of bass players was to blame for the delay, and in Darwin Sampson, the band finally found the yin to drummer Tony Brungraber’s yang.  On this latest record, Droids Attack bobs and weaves in and out of stoner rock, punk, and thrash as the trio, rounded out by vocalist/guitarist Brad Van, rage full steam ahead as if they’ve got to make up for the lost time in pure volume and aggression.  Check out the crushing “Brahma Astra” for a sample of the aural devastation as Van screams “your prayers will not protect you” over a bouncing groove that’ll have your neck snapping to and fro in no time.  Six years is a long time to wait for a new record from anyone, but Droids Attack make quick work of reminding everyone what they’re capable of on Sci-Fi or Die.  Also, this is the only stoner rock album I heard in 2016 that had a saxophone solo (“Mashenomak Strikes Again”) so there’s also that.   

4) High Fighter – Scars and Crosses

High Fighter, from Hamburg, Germany, burst onto the scene in 2016 with a debut album that most bands will struggle entire careers trying to match in intensity, musicianship, and pure quality.  Sure, the band is plenty heavy enough, what with dual guitars playing off of each other, creating mammoth riffs and moody atmospherics, but its the dynamic vocals of Mona Miluski that made this album standout amongst its peers.  Listen to the album opening “A Silver Heart” where her voice morphs from a beautifully haunting musical accompaniment into a demonic shriek that’ll have hairs standing on the back of your neck.  It’s as if Angela Gossow dropped death metal and decided to front a stoner band.  “The Gatekeeper” is another great example of Miluski’s range and of the band’s ability to match her intensity with swirling guitars and a gut punching rhythm section.  Easily one of the best records of 2016…and to think this was High Fighter’s debut.

3) Kvelertak - Nattesferd

My boy Reg already mentioned the show stealing performance we witnessed from Kvelertak (Norwegian for stranglehold), who played alongside Torche and The Sword, among others, when we saw them back in the Spring of 2016.  Don’t get me wrong, I was already a fan of the band based on the self-described “death and roll” that I’d heard on their 2013 record Meir and their 2011 self-titled debut.  But something about seeing this six piece (yes…six piece) lose their shit live really puts their music in a new perspective, so I was eagerly anticipating the release of Nattesferd.   Whether its the album’s single “1985” or a song like “Svartmesse,” Kvelertak is kind of like taking hair band guitars, stoner rock grooves, and a death metal vocalist and throwing it all in a blender.  To be sure, Nattesferd lived up to the expectations I had for it and this Norwegian juggernaut continues to be one of the more interesting bands on the scene today. 

2) Youngblood Supercult – High Plains

Youngblood Supercult are a trippy, bluesy, psyche band from Topeka, Kansas who describe themselves as “a sinister, fuzzy ride through a lysergic version of the Midwest.”  Now that sounds like something we can all get onboard with, don’t you agree?  Listening to High Plains was certainly a hazy trip that I returned to again and again in 2016.  With its swirling, fuzz laced guitars and almost lo-fi sounding production, if you closed your eyes while listening, you may have been inclined to think you’d been transported back in time to the 1970’s.  Vocalist David Merrill alternates between quiet, seance-like passages and over the top crooning, as the band combines dirgey Sabbath riffs with the folksy side of Zeppelin.  Easily one of my favorite records of last year.  “Nomad” is my recommendation for a quick sample.

1) Backwoods Payback – Fire Not Reason

Released in December, Fire Not Reason came out of nowhere right at the end of the year, snuck into my top 10 and then quickly raced right to the top.  Backwoods Payback, from West Chester, Pennsylvania, are everything I love about this music…no filler, no wasted time, just straight to the point, kick ass, heavy rock n’ roll.  The first track, “Elephants” could not be more aptly titled (it’s as heavy as all fuck) and the three-piece unleash hell from the get go with a barrage of monolithic riffs as vocalist/guitarist Mike Cummings lets forth a blood curdling howl, all within the first 15 seconds of the album’s runtime.  Right then and there you’ll be hooked.  On subsequent tracks like “Dirge,” “Tuxedo,” and “That Dream Again,” bassist Jessica Baker and drummer Erik Larson lay a steady foundation of massive groove as Cummings’ guitar washes over it all in glorious, reverb-laced, aural destruction.  Even the stripped down, acoustic “Even Odds” carries a weighty tone that delivers an emotional impact to the listener and serves as a perfect segue into the album’s final third.  That’s the thing about Fire Not Reason, every song is perfectly placed, they’re all killer, and Backwoods Payback waste not a second of your time.  This is a band and an album that gets right to the point, and likewise, I’ll get right to mine…this was my favorite record of 2016 and one that I’m continuing to return to over and over.  My sampling recommendation on this one is to simply hit play and let it roll.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Reg's Favorite Albums From 2016

As always, this has become a huge undertaking. 2016 delivered some pretty amazing records from the Stoner/Doom/Heavy Rock genre. I have finally narrowed it down to basically the albums that I listened to the most.

Now, in no particular order, here are my favorite releases from the past year.

King Buffalo-Orion

With their debut full-length, "Orion", King Buffalo has cemented themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Through brilliant song-writing, stellar musicianship and an intense live experience, the band will be delighting audiences for years to come. Seeing this band open for another favorite of mine, All Them Witches, was a highlight of 2016. Although still unsigned, Stickman Records has recently released the band's stunning debut on CD and Vinyl.

bandcamp|stickman records|facebook


Last April, my wife and I took a trip to DC to meet up with Toby and his wife for a day filled with beer, food and music at the DC Brau Brewing Co. The one band that I didn't really care to see that day was Kvelertak. Funny how things work out. They turned out to be my favorite band that day and after seeing them I went onto Spotify and listened to all of their music. After listening to their latest album, "Nattesferd" it didn't leave my playlist for weeks. Death and Roll baby!


Brant Bjork-Tao of the Devil

Brant is one of my favorite artists of all time and I couldn't wait for this album to drop. Honest, easy-going, and full of riffs, songs like "Stakt" , "The Gree Heen" and "Luvin'" are instant classics in my eyes. You're the man!


Buzzard-Sonic Renaissance

Featuring members of The Mighty Nimbus and Pentagram, these Minnesota heavy rockers levy a huge backhand of doom hungry riffs and melody. Songs such as "Get Gone","Kingdom" and "Feathers" will get your ass groovin' and your body movin' with a ton of sway and swagger.


The Judge-The Judge

One of the best hard rock albums I have heard in a long time. Heavily influenced by the seventies, primarily Cream and Black Sabbath, this band soars high with killer vocals, a bluesy feel and smokin' riffs. Favorite tracks include "The Witcher" and the very doomy "Planet Doom".


Black Rainbows-Stellar Prophecy

Upon first hearing this band back in 2007, I knew that they would stick around for years to come. The band plays a very organic and catchy brand of Stoner Rock with touches of heavy psych making them one of the premier bands of this genre. Tunes such as "Electrify" and "Keep the Secret" are money. Grazie Black Rainbows!



After the untimely loss of fellow The Gates of Slumber band member Jason McCash, Karl Simon dug deep into his soul and brought forth one of, if not the most heartfelt records I have ever heard. Doom is not just about slow tempos and huge riffs, in Karl Simon's case, it was put forth in the form of enormous riffing and intense emotional playing honoring an amazing personal and musical friendship. Goddamn melodic doom at its finest!


Strippers in Love-I Am What I'm Becoming

Strippers in Love is an oddly unique name for a band, but is appropriately fitting. The band's sound is both tranquil yet crushing, combining warm guitar tones, amazing vocals, stellar songsmanship and mind-blowing heaviness. This album quickly became an instant favorite. "Nightblooming" is absolutely insane!



Mr. Pat Harrington and crew are at it again, bringing more of the same bluesy rock infested groove to the table that has made them widely adored by so many. This time around Ripple Music has decided to release this bad ass gem to the masses. Pat's fuzzed-up guitar playing and thick bearded vocals make for an album filled with fun tracks such as "One Leg Up" and the uber-distorted "Stoney Pony".


Son of a Witch-Thrones in the Sky

Sabbath-sounding doom is always a good thing and these fellas from Brazil make it their own by adding a touch of psych to get very spaced out, cosmic and extremely heavy. Hazy riffing, and a stout intensity add to the excitement. Deservedly, the band will get a proper vinyl release early 2017 on Kozmik Artifactz.


Well, there you have it.  As we enter into our 10th year of existence, Heavy Planet will make sure we infiltrate your mind with all the best heavy music it can handle. Throughout the year, we will provide a retrospective of some of the highlights and the successes of many of the bands we have covered, as well as some other cool things to celebrate our 10th year.

We at Heavy Planet thank you for your loyalty and patronage over the years. Also, thanks to all of the labels, bands and PR companies that allow us to provide all of this music to you.

I would like to offer a huge Thank You to my awesome staff for keeping this thing going. Without you guys Heavy Planet would be long gone. Also, thanks to all of the amazing bands that have sent over their band submissions to us this past year. Trust me, your band does not go unnoticed. Unfortunately, we do not have the time to review every submission. And finally, the biggest thank you in the world goes out to my main man Stump for posting music endlessly on our Heavy Planet Facebook page. You are definitely one of a kind my brother.

Cheers! Here's to an awesome 2017!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

EP Review: Kung Funghi by Kung Funghi

Now THIS is the shot to balls we've been waiting for this new year to attack us with! Energy and aggression are the two prominant things on display on the self-titled debut EP from Sweden's Kung Funghi, mix them with beer and riffs and you've got a hell of an exciting listen on the go. The five Swedes tread a slightly different kind of line of stoner that we'd normally refer to on here, where instead of chugging riffs and headbanging, the band wander into screaming territory along with the likes of bands such as Refused, add into it elements of fuzz, and, hell, we've got a party on our hands.

Opening track 'Kill or Be Killed' hits its stride as soon as Vincent Mommeni starts screaming his guts out to a glorious cacophony of riffs and thrashing drums as you barely realise what's hit you as the energy and sheer anger of it all makes you take a step back with a thought process somewhere along the lines of "Woah....what the f.....fuck YEAH!" The fuzzy, bass laden 'One-Eyed Skoll' shows off the Red Fang x Refused crossbreed the band are mashing up so well with heavy stoner riffs mixed in with a youthfully pissed off vocal. The band don't care about what genre lines they cross over, and it's to our delight that they do this; 'No Name' has elements of 80s avant garde, stoner, sludge, hardcore and stoner, while 'Son of a Goat-Dog' is the song that Queens of The Stone Age should be writing these days.

As 'Zugzwang' closes the EP with it's funky-kind-of-Doom, you find that your heart is beating faster than normal and you're slightly panting for breath. Kung Funghi may be short but for the first time in a while it's something new to the stoner genre that can give it the kicking that it sometimes needs. Kung Funghi are that little shot of caffeine you need in the morning to start your day, that little reminder that you're not the same as all of the other droids out there, they're that little voice in your ear that screams 'let's fucking have it'!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Nuclear Dog's 2016 Favorites

I know I'm late. Schedules are hectic and excuses are thick. Not to mention choices are numerous. There is always such a plethora of great new music released worldwide each year.  That's a great thing, wouldn't you agree?

My favorites are, and have always been, albums with key characteristics, namely lots of guitar, most of it of the fuzzy variety, decent to great vocals, melody in song structure, and either memorable songs or a memorable sound, or both. I am not musically technical, unfortunately, so what I mean by melody in song structure simply means old fashioned song arrangements with rhyme scheme stanzas, choruses, solos, bridges, etc. at a 'fun' tempo, whatever that may mean.  Vocals to me are of utmost importance. A great vocalist can make or break what is otherwise a great album. When it comes to rating an album I often find that if there are a number of songs I put in my top playlist then, obviously, the album gets 'starred' as well. But sometimes there may not be a standout song so much as all the songs resonate greatly for an overall quality of awesomeness. The best example of that might be Nuclear Dog's favorite album of 2014, ¡Pendejo!'s "Atacames", or The Phuss' "On the Prowl", both of which are replete with great sounding songs, each as awesome as the last. And, of course, topping the list of prerequisites, the reason we all listen to these genres, the reason thousands of musicians worldwide generate this music despite the paucity of fortune or fame, is the guitar - BIG juicy, powerful guitars, generally tuned toward the low end with only the occasional foray into high falutin' solos - this is what drives us, artist and listener alike.

As usual, there were too many great releases this past year to have a conclusive 'best of' list. Any list may be missing an incredible album that simply escaped the notice of the lister. It's happened to me each year, usually at the hands of our HeavyPlanet guru, Reg, who always uncovers an album that would easily slot into my own list, if only I had known of it, if only I had been paying attention. But that's the fun of having so many lists, there is always something new and great to discover.

At HeavyPlanet.net and www.facebook.com/HeavyPlanet we strive to introduce the world to great music, most of it newly released, much of it from bands who've yet to 'make it', and all of it simply musically, heavily, fuzzily awesome. My list will have a paucity of 'known' bands or albums, keeping to the HeavyPlanet tradition and intent, but this is primarily a coincidence. Out of the thousands of worldwide releases in 2016 these simply are my favorites, no other agenda present, starting with #20 and working up to numero ichi.


20. Stone Cream - "Rust"

Pure stoner goodness out of Greece. Not much is known yet of this band. They released this album via bandcamp in December and then another full LP in January of 2017. I suspect we'll learn more of who they are in the coming year, but in the meantime we have this magnificent music.

Release date - December 7, 2016

Favorite track - "Haunted Train"

Hometown: Somewhere in Greece

19. Stone House on Fire - "Neverending Cycle"

Sophisticated, clean, psychedelic, and deep. This is the third album from this Brazilian four piece.

Release date - June 14, 2016

Favorite track - "Anger"

Volta Redondo, Brazil

18. Wreck Plus - "Dark Constructor"

Tight and imaginative retro-fuzz from this gifted quartet that rocks hard and fast with relish and rigor.

Release date - December 11, 2016

Favorite track - "Starcrossed Lovers"

Hometown: Paris, France

bandcamp ||  facebook || youtube

17. Black Doldrums - "Exit City Lights"

Moody, mysterious, and deliciously dark psychedelia from this warrior isles duo.

Release date - August 12, 2016 & December 29, 2016

Favorite track - "It's a Dandy Massacre"

Hometown: London, England

bandcamp || facebook || twitter || tumblr || bandcamp

16. Wasted Theory - "Defenders of the Riff"

Lots to love here. Big, bold, and brash sound. Hot, swampy vocals. Crude, honest, rock n' roll lyrics. A full ten song LP of great butt-kick fuzz from this gnarly quartet.

Release date - October 30, 2016

Favorite track - "Belly Fulla Whiskey"

Hometown: Somewhere in Maryland and Delaware

bandcamp || facebook

15. The Freeks - "Shattered"

This band can be classified as somewhat of a supergroup, with founding members of Fu Manchu, Nebula, Backbiter, and others, but really the supergroup status lends itself more to the music that to anyone's CV. This is an album swollen with high energy music that runs roughshod through punk, funk, stoner, grunge, psychedelic, and seventies sounds. It's edgy, jagged, melodic, and quite brilliantly a riotous, romping lot of fun.

Release date - November 11, 2016

Favorite track - "Ivana"

Hometown: Rome, Italy

bandcamp || facebook || website 


It probably goes without saying that any of the top 15 albums in my list could just as easily have been in the top spot. They're all exceptional and have made 2016 another incredible year for the fuzz.

14. Geezer - "Geezer"

Geezer have a mammoth sound, including perfectly tinged vocals, driving drumwork, massive bass, and monstrous guitar. They continue to deliver some of the most intoxifying music of the stoner/blues/metal genre. This album is replete with deep, tightly woven psychotropic threads of brilliance. Now part of the Ripple Music label, Geezer continue to grow, expand, and deliver. Bravo.

Release date - November 18, 2016

Favorite track - "Sun Gods"

Hometown: Kingston, New York

bandcamp || facebook || label

13. Cybernetic Witch Cult - "Spaceous Cretaceous"

This album is fun, enjoyable, unique, and chock full of knock yer block off rock woven around stories of fantasy and science fiction. While the theme is imaginative and quixotic, fun and exhilarating, rendering tales of deep space, mythical beasts and beings, mesmerizing magic, as well as the frontiers and power of science, the underlying structure of musical magnificence is what carries the day with deft musicianship and elegant melodies steeped in soaring blues rock, a pitch perfect vocalist with both edge and range, and supremely spellbinding guitar mastery.

Release date - May 28, 2016

Favorite track - "Enchantress"

Hometown: Cornwell, England

bandcamp || facebook || website

12. Deep Aeon - "The Devil's Vision"

Well, fuck! This one is both a celebration and a fare thee well, of sorts. After releasing some of the juiciest stoner rock over the course of three short years (too little of it for my covetous desires) Deep Aeon have called it kaput. Before disbanding they had begun production on a new album, and this EP is what they were able to record before the fateful fuzzy fission.

I realize this is only two songs and probably shouldn't be considered, but..........but, these two songs are simply magnificent. Well structured melodies of memorable scope and quality are bound on all sides by deep musical skill and deft delivery. The music is brooding and intense, the vocals penetrating, the melodies wonderful and memorable, and the guitars offer intricate tapestries of fatal, cold-blooded amplifications of doomsday steel.

The good news is that three of the four Deep Aeon members will remain together, forming soon a new band under the cognomen of Heavy Beam, having already recruited a new vocalist. This is exciting news. We extend to this coalescing stoner fuzzcraft, consisting of the aforementioned new singer as well as members Nickolaj Marfels, Alexander Weber, and Axel Meyer, all the hope and good will we can muster, which is a purely self-serving bestowment....BECAUSE WE WANT MORE!!

Release date - July 4, 2016

Favorite tracks - "The Vision", "Devils"

Hometown: Düsseldorf, Germany

bandcamp || facebook

11. Youngblood Supercult - "High Plains"

The evocative atmosphere wrought by this flatlander quartet is one of a piercing, keening young love lost, of heightened senses in bitter cold darkness, one of despair and desperation in bleak and lonely places. That's the incredible haunting sense of mystery and nostalgia fashioned by the twin engines of Youngblood's psycho-blues guitar sound and nimbly ardent vocalist.

Release date - February 19, 2016

Favorite track - "Monolith"

Hometown: Topeka, Kansas

bandcamp || facebook || website


10. Desert Colossus - "Desert Colossus"

Fun and athletic is the atmosphere for most of this LP of initial release and signal quality from this exciting new quartet. There is fuzz galore and a sound that is smack dab in the middle of stoner/desert/fuzz rock. They do not so much as sound like Kyuss, but sound like a perfect fit for whatever exact genre Kyuss slots into. Melodic, upbeat, and deeply intriguing melodies are matched by twin guitar energy, powerful rock vocals, deftly driving drums, and a bass that'll cause you to bob and weave in ecstatic splendor.

Release date - January 3, 2016

Favorite track - "Fat Chicks"

Hometown: Zaandam, Netherlands

bandcamp || facebook

9. Slumber Dust - "Slumber Dust"

Another initial release from gifted artists striking out with deftly crafted songs of deep reverberations and mighty fuzztone fabrics of sound. Intriguing melodies intertwine seamlessly with psychedelic stretches of mind expansion and tribal intrusion.

Release date - October 22, 2016

Favorite track - "Pyramids"

Hometown: Saint Catharines, Ontario, Canada

bandcamp || facebook || soundcloud

8. Samba Cemetary - "The Bushgate"

This music is at once powerful and intelligent, driving hard ahead with white hot fierceness just as it slips smoothly into the icy coldness of psychedelic underfuzz. The riffs pummel and penetrate, drawing little blood in their sharpness while inflicting maximum metal carnage. Song structure is nimble and enduring, drawing in the listener over and again to consume the heady, quixotic experience. The vocals are unique and intriguing, adding to the overall thrill of new discovery and familiar heat as each song is savored and embraced.

Release date - September 19, 2016

Favorite track - "Last Samba"

Hometown: Berlin, Germany

bandcamp || facebook || youtube || website

7. Mesmer - "Mesmer"

The guitars are a dazzling, haunting, massive sound of macabre metal carried along by dark, delicious melodies and a vocalist of eerily beautiful tone and timbre, evoking haunted houses of horror and towers of terror through keenly wrought edges of nervous awareness.

Release date - June 3, 2016

Favorite track - "Weight of Confusion"

Hometown: Oakland, California

bandcamp || facebook

6. Stone Witch - "Order of the Goat"

This album is like an incessant, relentless heavy armored track brigade grinding and crunching its way through black forest gravel roads sodden and sopping with the dark blood of a thousand zombie amplifiers wailing and howling through the dank, dark night into the eternal stygian abyss. Dual guitars are unremitting in all-out onslaught of riff and solo, while the vocals deliver exquisite, alluring, haunting lyrics of depth and melancholy. Earth-rattling bass and superhuman staccato stickwork pulverize to bliss and submission.

The desert climes of Arizona are home to this magnificent quartet and their initial foray into the bastions of stoner rock, desert rock, and occult rock.

Release date - July 13, 2016

Favorite track - "Blood Feast"

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

bandcamp || facebook


I'm tempted to list the final five as 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e. Any of these five could've made my #1 position. But that's a cop out, so in the immortal words of William Shakespeare, "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;"

5. Fall of an Empire - "Croweater: An Echo in the Bone"

Fall of an Empire released one hell of an album in 2014 in "Songs of Steel and Sorrow". Following up with something that good and that successful must be a neat trick (sarcasm), because as often as not a sophomore event struggles to match the heart and magic of the inaugural product, so when "Croweater" was released it was like an overwhelming rush of sweet snowy air. The talent and ability of this savvy quintet of stoner rock fabulists carried the day in overwhelming style. They again achieved a mighty and preeminently worthy collection of massively thrilling tales ensconced deeply in thick magic woolen riffs and heart piercing musical tales of medieval woe and enchanted adventure. The scope is huge, the delivery massive, and the experience thrilling.

Release date - August 17, 2016

Favorite track - "Uprising"

Hometown: Spartanburg, South Carolina

bandcamp ||  facebook

4. Mississippi Bones - "2600 AD: and Other Astonishing Tales"

Prolific, esoteric, and deep fried in southern stoner fuzz, Mississippi Bones are as gifted as a band can be. They create a LOT of music. They create a lot of GREAT music. Their songs are musically and lyrically profound, pulling you in myriad directions of intrigue, alluring in quality of riff and reverb, mesmerizing in tale, primal in melody and rhythm, there is more to chew on than ever meets the external acoustic meatus at first echo.

Release date - September 2, 2016

Favorite track - "Outhouse Poet (or Shitty Lyricist)"

Hometown: Ada, Ohio

bandcamp ||  facebook || twitter

3. Buzzzard - "Cold Blood"

Finding "Cold Blood" is a coup in my reckoning. The characteristics and qualities I always listen for when first experiencing an album, whether from a known group or someone new, are all present on this album. Twin guitars of heat and smoke, along with a bruising bass and piercing drums blister the auditory system in unrelenting brilliance. Three vocalists harmonize in glory and grandeur, led magnificently by a quintessential lead voice of fuzz rock purity. The primal chord of melody is fully exploited through each track by this melancholy stoner blues machine, combining to deeply hypnotize from the initial fuzz pedal power up to the last skin rap and cymbal tap.

Release date - November 23, 2016

Favorite track - "Nowhere to Go"

Hometown: Carbondale, Illinois

bandcamp ||  facebook

2. Ruff Majik - "The Fox"

The fuzz is huge on this magnificent album out of South Africa. A splendid blending of mammoth riff distortion driven by captivating and beguiling song structures as well as a new age vocalist of ability and intrigue. This threesome are nimble in execution yet powerful in deliverance. The music is uniquely their own, with little in the way of homage other than maybe the tonal range they choose to chisel from the stoner rock escarpment and vague references to a half dozen foundations of metal.

Release date - September 1, 2016

Favorite track - "Canned Fruit Bats"

Hometown: Pretoria, South Africa

bandcamp ||  facebook

1. Black Water - "Edison's Elephant"

I want to start by pointing out I know that technically this album was released in 2015, but it was a December release date and I didn't come across it until late January of 2016. This album is just too good to not share with as much of the world as is willing to peruse my list and perhaps sample the music therein. If you're as much a fan of bluesy stoner desert magic as I am then you'll surely appreciate the magnitude of what these Virginians have wrought. They are incredibly gifted song-writers, with half of this album getting the 5 star treatment on my personal favorites playlist. The melodies are immortally memorable, the tenor pure blues melancholia, the guitars as fine and ferocious as can be found in the dark, mossy metal underground, an inspired drummer and brutal bassist, an adept, keen vocalist and an ability to galvanize the disparate pieces into something truly special and enduring.

Release date - December 10, 2015

Favorite track - "Blueser"

Hometown: Rocky Mount, Virginia

bandcamp ||  facebook || twitter


As with many bands that ply the stoner/doom/psychedelic/retro/blues waters the artists featured here are inspired by their love of the music and abilities that allow them to lay tone to tape. Brilliance isn't always discovered by record labels, late night TV hosts, or reality television. It doesn't mean that innate genius isn't to be found and enjoyed, at least not anymore. While Black Water, Ruff Majik, and Buzzzard, and the other bands on lists present and past, might not enjoy a tour with Disturbed, or whatever pretender gets the luxury of backing these days, I hope that at the very least they find their way into the hearts of the lovers of the best rock and metal on the planet. 

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