Time to move to the Nordic countries?
If you are wondering about the tag line, well, I had over amazing 200 albums in my notes and when I finally compiled my lists, there was an astonishingly amount of music from the Nordic countries. Not sure if it is a pandemic coincidence and after COVID ends (hopefully soon!), all things are functioning again within normal parameters.
I only photographed two live gigs for More Fuzz last year, one with Scorched Oak and Außerwelt and later on the EP release show of Neorite (with Special Guest: Fals). So it is still going slow – and at least in Germany – there is no real end for the live photographic drought in sight.
A surprise was the release of the title track of the Kickstarter-backed Australian Horror movie Lucifer’s Satanic Daughter: ‘L.S.D.’ by Electric Wizard. I even made a meme. 😉 The song certainly rips and it was fun to figure it out on guitar.
Electric Wizard – L.S.D.
So, you can stop now and relisten to ‘L.S.D.’ forever or – if you dare – bravely endure my subjective collection of EPs and albums.
A big thanks goes to the artists and labels who provided the More Fuzz team (and me) with promo material, Bandcamp links and more. Kudos!
Top 10 EPs of 2021
10. Hexenblatt – Through the Woods
Debut EP by Hexenblatt from Moscow, Russia. Great fuzzy doom, pretty catchy. Looking forward to a full album.
9. Sign of the Sorcerer – Obsessions of the Vile
Sign of the Sorcerer from Knoxville, USA deliver awesome psychedelic and horror infused doom. Fuzzy as hell and very sabbathic.
8. Doom Sessions Vol. 666 – Dead Witches & Witchthroat Serpent
Heavy Psych Sounds summoned Dead Witches from Bournemouth, England and Witchthroat Serpent from Toulouse, France to conjure up three tracks of pure doom. Psychedelic and fuzzy – the Electric-Wizard-influence is strong with both bands (no wonder with Dead Witches, it’s the brainchild of Mark Greening).
7. Dopelord – Reality Dagger
Another amazing psychedelic doom EP. This time by Dopelord from Warsaw, Poland mixing various doom, psychedelic and stoner influences into three tracks. Head nodding guaranteed.
6. Neorite – Kassandra
Heavy riffs incoming! Heavy metallers Neorite from Münster, Germany present three songs starting with stomping, melodic doom going to groovy thrash metal and back to a great cover of Black Sabbath’s “Symptom of the Universe”. A very convincing EP which might hint at what we might see on the upcoming album (no pressure, guys!).
5. Split Ungraven / Slomatics
A six track split EP by Ungraven from Liverpool, England and Slomatics from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Roughly thirty minutes of dark pummeling doomy sludge and spacey stoner doom will certainly get your head nodding and your body wobbling.
4. Völur – Zwischen den Wäldern
Völur from Toronto, Canada (in collaboration with Arif Mirbaghi) take the listener on a very atmospheric musical journey merging doomy folk, country and oriental influences. Highly recommended listen.
3. Superlynx – Solstice
The first occurrence of Superlynx from Oslo, Norway in this article. This EP contains four cover songs, ranging from Saint Vitus to Nat King Cole, getting the Superlynx treatment – resulting in great doom versions. Followed by two more Superlynx songs which did not make it onto this year’s full album ‘Electric Temple’ (see further below). Great companion EP to ‘Electric Temple’.
2. Lowen – Unceasing Lamentations
Lowen from London, England surprises with a fully acoustic EP. Nina’s powerful and beautiful voice takes the center stage. Eastern melodies very emotionally sung in Sumerian, Akkadian and Farsi take the listener to the Middle East, on a journey to vast, sunken ruins amidst the desert sands. For a further in-depth review, read Mr. Stone’s review.
1. Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou – Helm of Sorrow
Another companion EP: this time to last year’s album ‘May our chambers be full’ by US artists Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou. Haunting, crushing, emotional – simply a great collab between two great artists. If you liked last year’s album, you will certainly enjoy this offering.
Top 20 Albums of 2021
20. Heavy Temple – Lupi Amoris
Despite being in the game since 2012, ‘Lupi Amoris’ is the first full-length of Heavy Temple from Philadelphia, USA. Very enjoyable heavy and fuzzy blend of heavy rock and psychedelic doom. After a little more than thirty minutes of playtime you certainly yearn for more after the last note fades away.
19. Indigo Raven – Looking for Transcendence
The debut album of doom trio Indigo Raven from Toulouse, France enter the stage with hauntingly occult – even priestly – vocals, great instrumentation and interesting soundscapes. The song ‘Where Lies Our Heart’ really shows the great power of Julie Docteur’s voice. Amazing album.
18. Lucifer – Lucifer IV
Welcome to the spooky 70s! Doom rockers Lucifer from Stockholm, Sweden is one of the bands who really get the 70s rock mixed with spookiness right. Their fourth album is a fun ride and would be the perfect soundtrack for a Scooby-Doo cartoon. And if an album gets you to sing along and shakes one’s hips, it has to be good, right? Fun fact: the cover photo of Johanna on the cross was shot by photographer Ester Segarra.
17. 24/7 Diva Heaven – Stress
The debut album of riot punk trio 24/7 Diva Heaven from Berlin, Germany is dripping grunge, punk, noise and riotness out of every pore. And this sprinkled with some Sonic Youth influences. So let’s just get wasted!
16. Demonio – Electric Voodoo
The mighty fuzz and heavy distortion rule on the debut album of Demonio from Italy. Finest psychedelic, trippy occult doom. A sonic dance of the dead on mushroom clouds.
15. Lunar Swamp – Moonshine Blues
After last year’s great EP ‘Undermudblues’ Lunar Swamp from Catanzaro, Italy are back and release their first full-length album. Swampy and dark bluesy psychedelic doom. Splendid album. Grab a bottle of whiskey and enter the swamp.
14. Moon Coven – Slumber Wood
‘Slumber Wood’ is the second full-length of Moon Coven from Malmö, Sweden. Excellent hazy stoner doom with strong Sabbath and 70s influences. See also the in-depth review by Mr. Stone.
13. Blackwater Holylight – Silence/Motion
‘Silence/Motion’ is the third full-length of Blackwater Holylight from Portland, Oregon, USA. A very emotional and darkly melancholic album with complex compositions. I sadly missed their tour with Monolord due to the German Covid event cancellations.
12. Blóð – Serpent
‘Serpent’ is the second full-length of Blóð from Paris, France. A cross between sludge and funeral doom, sometimes bordering black metal. Very atmospheric. Excellent album.
11. Greynbownes – Bones And Flowers
‘Bones And Flowers’ is the second full-length of Greynbownes from Olomouc, Czechia. Fuzzy heavy rock blends with psychedelic and grungy elements. Very bluesy, very melodic. Amazing album.
10. Aiwass – Wayward Gods
‘Wayward Gods’ is the full-length debut of Aiwass from Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Incredibly good psychedelic doom with occult vibes (must be the nod to Aleister Crowley). Dark, heavy and fuzzy.
9. Jointhugger – Surrounded by Vultures
‘Surrounded by Vultures’ is the second full-length of Jointhugger from Horten, Norway. Psychedelic doom full of great fuzzy riffs, bluesy atmosphere and sprinkled with proggy elements. Very enjoyable album rich in variety.
8. Dunbarrow – Dunbarrow III
As the album title already gives away, this is the third full-length of Dunbarrow from Haugesund, Norway. Finest proto doom with psychedelic sprinkles – melodic and dark. Great album continuing Dunbarrow’s sound and songwriting from the two predecessors.
7. Agusa – En annan värld
Progressive rock band Agusa hails from Malmö, Sweden and ‘En annan värld’ is their fifth release. And two songs is all you need, with a total playtime of 46 minutes. An intricate and tranquil journey. Just put the album on, close your eyes and enter the dreamworld of Agusa.
6. Super Fat Ginger Cat – MAW
‘MAW’ is the splendid debut album of Super Fat Ginger Cat from Bologna, Italy. The trio plays fuzzy heavy psychedelic stoner rock crossbreed with alt rock, a lot of jazzy influences and nouvelle vagueish vocals. Very interesting and varied song structures. With each spin, you discover something new in the songs. Recommended listen!
5. Monolord – Your Time To Shine
The fifth album of Monolord displays the continuous progressive development of this doom trio based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Great musical craftsmanship: excellent songwriting, hammering drums, great fuzzy bass lines and admirable guitar melodies. It just shines. One little drawback: just five tracks.
4. Jess and the Ancient Ones – Vertigo
Four years have passed and Jess and the Ancient Ones from Kuopio, Finland are back with their fourth full-length album. It’s a very engaging and stylish album following in the footsteps of their last album ‘The Horse And Other Weird Tales’. It is successfully fusing occult rock with psychedelic elements from the swinging 60s and themes from creepy horror flicks. And I just love Jess’ powerful bluesy voice. A wild and superb album.
3. Superlynx – Electric Temple
The third full-length album of Superlynx from Oslo, Norway is a very atmospherical and emotional psychedelic doom album – with top songwriting, wonderful guitar lines, great drum work, topped with siren-like vocals and gnarly bass lines.” Really a great album to enjoy. Read more about it in my review of ‘Electric Temple’.
2. Domkraft – Seeds
‘Seeds’ is the third full-length album of Domkraft from Stockholm, Sweden. Fuzzy, heavy psychedelic doom – a thick, dark soundscape, heavy riffs … relentless, monolithic, aggressive. Great work! Read more about ‘Seeds’ in Mr. Momo’s review and interview with Domkraft.
1. Spelljammer – Abyssal Trip
The amazing album ‘Abyssal Trip’ is the second full-length of Spelljammer from Stockholm, Sweden and “it is oozing psychedelic doom […] – hypnotic riffs, heavy bass lines as well as heavy drums, and wonderful melodies interwoven with pretty progressive parts. Spiced up with a lot of fuzz, distortion, and feedback, it’s a welcome sonic onslaught on your ears!” – More about it in my album review.
Local Heroes of 2021
Last but not least some noteworthy albums of bands from my neck of the woods. Enjoy!
Daily Thompson – God of Spinoza
Excellent album of Daily Thompson from Dortmund, Germany. It’s their fifth full-length and a relaxed, lighthearted journey through desert, psych and grunge rock. Perfect sound and songwriting.
Eremit – Bearer of Many Names
The second full-length album of Eremit from Osnabrück, Germany is a crushing sludge steamroller, sometimes sprinkled with some post-blackmetalness. Epic and atmospheric and really heavy.
Plaindrifter – Echo Therapy
‘Echo Therapy’ is the debut album of Plaindrifter from Gelsenkirchen, Germany. It surprises with intricate Elder-like psychedelic soundscapes merged with stoneresque riffs. Great album.
Van Groover – Honk If Parts Fall Off
‘Honk If Parts Fall Off’ is the debut of Van Groover from Herborn, Germany. Groovy, bluesy stoner riffage, presented with a big tongue in cheek. Enjoyable van ride!