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.
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.
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!
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!