Fuzzy Charts: Every month we write about your favorite albums!
We brought back the Fuzzy Charts to make a monthly poll of the albums that left a mark in YOUR ears. Since multi-answer polls are no longer available anywhere on facebook except in groups, it made it a bit trickier. So I created it into the Fuzz Temple group that Mr. Fuzz created a little more than a year ago. Then I added a bunch of records from my Bandcamp notifications and left the poll open for other answers. The more, the merrier, right?
The first days of the votes saw lots of changes, as usual, but it slowly took form to this final order. There were a bit fewer votes overall this month, even if I let it last a bit longer again, not sure what is the cause, though it might be a lack of strong albums. Anyway, this top ten is still only quality releases, with a really good surprise discovery ranking first!
After Mr. Cromlech for March, and Mr. Fuzz last month, this time, Mr. Black Kraken took care of two of his favorites from the list. Mr. Fuzz also wanted to keep going, so this is getting more collaborative every month and will probably keep going in that direction.
To write on this, I made myself a Spotify playlist with all of these cool albums, ordered by rank. I just put it on ‘public’ so you can enjoy it as well, 7+ hours of the best of May’s fuzzy music!
Feel free to tell us what you think of this idea and if you got any ideas on how to improve it. The point here is to make it more about you than us.
We want to see which albums really got into the audience’s ears and if we missed some gems. That’s also a good way to inventory everything that went out in a month, giving some light to some records that might have gone unnoticed otherwise.
Here is the result of this poll, for the month of May, enjoy!
Top 10 Albums of May 2021
This time, the top 10 is actually only ten eh eh. As usual, you might be familiar with at least some of them since we reviewed two of them on More Fuzz last month 😉
9 ex–æquo: Robots of the Ancient Worlds – Mystic Goddess (6pts)
FFO: High Reeper, Spelljammer, Wo Fat, Sergeant Thunderhoof, Lord Vapour
Robots of the Ancient Worlds is a quintet from Portland, Oregon, USA, who self-released a debut EP in 2017 and a first LP in 2019, getting produced for this sophomore by Small Stone Recordings.
Somewhere at the crossing of Stoner Rock and Doom Metal, with serious grooves all over the place, and grungey vibes shining through, they are here to rumble. And rumble is what ‘Mystic Goddess‘ does, not without any more refined nuances here and there for sure, but overall it’s coming at you massively, with only one goal: making you shake your ass and bang your head.
Blurb by Mr. Stone.
9 ex–æquo: Moon Coven – Slumber Wood (6pts)
FFO: Dopelord, Beastmaker, Mars Red Sky, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Rezn
With 8tracks summing up around 42min, Slumber Wood is an always interesting journey and a flawless album that can stand amongst the best references of this genre to me.
This catchy blend of mighty riffage, striking drumming, dazzling vocals, refined composition, and wisely distilled subtleties, in a genre that isn’t particularly known for it, make it shine all the more.
Blurb taken from Mr. Stone’s review, read it in full here.
7 ex-æquo: Jess & The Ancient Ones – Vertigo (7pts)
FFO: Jefferson Airplane, Jex Thoth, Sabbath Assembly, The Devil’s Blood, Blood Ceremony, Psychedelic Witchcraft
Four years have passed since ‘The Horse And Other Weird Tales’ and Jess & the Ancient Ones are now back with their latest occult offering: ‘Vertigo’. It seamlessly connects to the previous album revelling in late 60s psychedelia and rock.
Mix Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Doors with Scooby-Doo, and The Exorcist, and you know what to expect. Excellent craftsmanship on all levels. Highly recommended listen!
Blurb by Mr. Black Kraken.
7 ex-æquo: Hippie Death Cult – Circle of Days (7pts)
FFO: High Reeper, The Obsessed, Goatess, Spirit Caravan, Spelljammer
Two years after their killer debut ‘111‘, Hippie Death Cult are back at it with a new record, on Heavy Psych Sounds again. Less straightforward than its predecessor, ‘Circle of Days’ is showing the range of what HDC can deliver.
Alternating between kickass stoner riffage, sick proggish grooves, and sheer beautiful moments, with some inclinations to the grunge side here, more bluesy vibes there, and angry metal energy there. This album is quite dense and rich, the Quatuor from Portland manages to keep our attention all along, with the insanely powerful and amazing voice of Ben Jackson giving even more depth to the sonic identity of Hippie Death Cult.
Blurb by Mr. Stone.
6: Savanah – Olympus Mons (8pts)
You can definitely feel ‘Olympus Mons‘ is Savanah‘s most finely crafted release to date, both in terms of composition, production, and overall maturity. And that’s of course what you want to see with any band, especially for a 3rd album, which is often viewed as a milestone in a band’s carrier.
Basically, they pushed their sound even further, refining it from what they already built with the first 2 LPs. Now, we’re in front of the ultimate explosion of heavy, angry, and very tight riffs, which are all real neck-breakers if you ask me. But Savanah also continued to build upon those more expansive and psychedelic moments, to bring nuances in the songs’ composition, making it all more epic than ever, and not just a succession of riffs.
Blurb from Mr. Fuzz’s review, read it in full here.
5: Vokonis – Odyssey (9pts)
FFO: Baroness, Mastodon, Domkraft, High on Fire, Forming The Void, Elder
I must admit I didn’t give too much attention to Vokonis since their first release in 2016. Now the Swedish took a new direction since this first EP, they definitely forged their own identity by going even more into the Prog Metal territory on this one, and ‘Odyssey’ is quite a monumental album, to be honest.
First, the album is awesomely produced, Vokonis‘ sound is BIG and expansive in those 6 tracks. Huge proggish riffs and melodic solos go into combination with epic keys by Per Wiberg (Opeth, Spiritual Beggars, Kamchatka), the rhythm part is powerful and varied, and the duo of vocalists, with the growl of Simon and the ethereal voice of Jonte, is very interesting and brings another layer to their sound palette.
Vokonis managed to create a particular soulful atmosphere with ‘Odyssey‘, torturous and crushingly violent while also melancholic and imaginative, their music is dense and might not please everyone, but those who dig a more demanding kind of metal should definitely check it out!
And a big bravo to Kyrre Bjurling for this stunning artwork 🤯
Blurb by Mr. Fuzz.
4: Atomic Vulture – Moving Through Silence (10pts)
FFO: Rotor, Colour Haze, Bismut
I think Atomic Vulture‘s first album in 2014 was one of the very first I sent via email when More Fuzz was still a newsletter-only thing. Since then they released their 2nd album in 2018 and “Moving Through Silence” is the trio’s 3rd offering.
Fully instrumental as they are known for, they go through the full spectrum of the fuzz scene, from pure Stoner Rock to Doomish vibes, without forgetting that Heavy Psych and that Proggish side. The album is made of 8 varied high-quality tracks and will go from pure raw heavy riffs to more mind-expanding moments, you’re in for a trip with Atomic Vulture, that’s for sure!
Blurb by Mr. Fuzz.
3: Alastor – Onwards and Downwards (11pts)
FFO: Salem’s Pot, Magmakammer, Electric Wizard, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
After two EPs in 2017 and their first album in 2018 Alastor release their second full-length ‘Onwards And Downwards‘ into the wild.
The new album surprises with its accessibility while still being pretty dark and atmospheric – and according to the band, “a gradual slip into insanity”.
It’s classic stoner doom with sabbathy riffs in a highly enjoyable offering.
Blurb by Mr. Black Kraken.
2: Dunbarrow – III (12pts)
FFO: Witchcraft, Graveyard, Demon Head, Pentagram, Candlemass
My favorite proto-doom band is back in 2021 and it’s definitely a welcoming return for Dunbarrow. After placing their previous release 3rd in my Top 2018, this one might also end up high in the 2021 list!
All the ingredients that made ‘II’ a killer album are back in ‘III’: that vintage touch, devilish riffs yet still energetic and highly memorizable, great solos, and those unique vocals with dark lyrics that fit perfectly with their style.
Special mention for the song “Turn in Your Grave“ that ends the A-side of the LP beautifully. It’s a delicate acoustic poem with some awesome vintage keys and haunting lyrics during the first half and then goes into some kind of a lullaby with that repetitive gloomy riff and those keys doing the melody. A welcoming moment of calm between the other heavier tracks.
Blurb by Mr. Fuzz.
1: Jack Harlon & the Dead Crows– The Magnetic Ridge (15pts)
FFO: Red Mountains, All Them Witches, Saint Karloff, King Buffalo, Elephant Tree
Since I didn’t really pay attention to it when it got released last month, I was quite curious about this one when I saw it go up the votes pretty fast. And I wasn’t disappointed. After releasing a couple of EPs in 2016/17 and their debut LP in 2018, the Aussies took over our fuzzy scene in this month of May with their outstanding 2nd album, ‘The Magnetic Ridge‘.
They recorded, mixed, and mastered it themselves, handling the release with Psychedelic Salad Records and Forbidden Place Records, with a cover designed by the brilliant Adam Burke, aka Nightjar Illustration.
It’s got everything you could want, and even more. Bluesy vibes, eerie psych passages, nasty doom riffage, powerful thrusts, nifty prog developments, a little grungey vibe, and a clearly occult coloration all over. But it’s not just a compilation of all that, rather an intricate blend, meticulously crafted and worked as a whole, forming their distinct universe to serve the story the band wants it to.
The record takes us on a powerful journey, following the mischiefs of a “drug-addicted outlaw in the west”, and clearly, there is that feeling of being somewhere halfway between “A Fistful of Dollars” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas“. In just 48min and twelve songs, Jack Harlon & the Dead Crows manage to express grandiosely, and seemingly effortlessly, demonstrate their first-class musicianship.
Blurb by Mr. Stone.
Thanks for reading and Keep it Fuzzy!
Mr. Stone, Mr. Black Kraken, Mr. Fuzz & the More Fuzz Team