The pterodactyl flies again!
In 2018 we saw an enormous flood of albums (and EPs) arrive on our shores. This time I tried not to miss some relevant albums (at least for me).
When I was compiling my lists for last year’s article, I had the “bright” idea to take more notes in 2018. Well, over eighty Doom/Stoner/Psychedelic albums made it into my final notes. I was a bit overwhelmed – I have a tremendous respect for JJ of The Obelisk and all other more professional reviewers – I have no idea how you all handle the influx of all the albums. So, a kudos to you!
And because my purely subjective lists did not want to get shorter, I decided to split them up between EPs and albums. I only took note of albums I got access to via self-bought stuff, promos or official Bandcamp streams (Sorry, I still do not use Spotify!). So, a big thank you to the labels and bands who provided the More Fuzz team and me with access to promo material.
I also attended a lot of local concerts as well as Desertfest Berlin and in last autumn also Up in Smoke VI in Switzerland (where I finally met Electric Wizard in person = read: I disturbed their dinner.) – which I all covered for More Fuzz as a photographer.
Let’s hope 2019 will be as bright and crazy as last year!
“On tall black horses we ride
With sharpened knives
Evil is closing your eyes
It’s time to die!”
Quick links :
Top 10 EPs of 2018
So here are my favourite EPs of 2018:
10. Mellowdeath – Deadly Stares
I start with something more experimental: the duo Mellowdeath from Germany bring us instrumental doom jazz played just on bass and drums. Insane!
9. Black Capricorn – Equinox EP
Black Capricorn from Italy enjoy us with fuzzy psychedelic doom spiced up with stoner rock undertones.
8. 24/7 Diva Heaven – Superslide
Rotzig, frech, Grrrl Power! A mix of explosive garage rock, punk and grunge by 24/7 Diva Heaven from Germany.
7. Moon Mother – Goodbye Sea
This time it’s a melancholic acoustic set from psychedelic rockers Moon Mother, Sweden.
6. Planet of Doom: First Contact
5. Electric Hydra – World Domination
4. Alunah – Amber & Gold
Doomsters Alunah released the first EP with their new vocalist Siân Greenaway. A great new start – and it contains a wicked cover version of Wicked Game.
3. Gaupa – Gaupa
It’s a fabulous debut by Gaupa from Sweden, perfectly mixing stoner and psychedelic rock with folk and even some doom – which is lingering pretty subversive in a layer underneath.
2. Windhand / Satan’s Satyrs – Split
1. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard / Slomatics Split – Totems
A special mention: Beastmaker
Top 20 Albums of 2018
20. Domkraft – Flood
Domkraft from Stockholm, Sweden already blew me away when I saw them live at Desertfest Berlin in 2017. The second album neatly connects to their first album – it’s full of sludgy and majestic doom riffage, touching some prog and psychedelic tunes during the journey.
19. Hazemaze – Hazemaze
More Swedish doom power: Trio Hazemaze from Stockholm tend to the more bluesy and hazy side of early doom. Cool, groovy riffs and pure 70s worship.
18. Witch Mountain – Witch Mountain
Witch Mountain from Portland, USA brought us a new album – with their new singer Kayla Dixon. Bluesy doom riffs meet deep basslines and the powerful vocal variety of Kayla Dixon. And I just love the track “Nighthawk” – it transports you directly into a dark and hazy small club – which later on needs rebuilding.
17. Magmakammer – Mindtripper
What do you get when you forget Uncle Acid outside in the icy winter of Norway to freeze? Magmakammer from Oslo with their psychedelic garage doom. A trippy and psychedelic doom adventure. I quote Mr. Darkstar here: “A kickass album.”
16. Alastor – Slave to the Grave
More Scandinavian doom: With their first full album Alastor from Sweden continues their forage into occult doom. You hear their influences: Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Windhand, Beastmaker and they mix them well and come up with an enjoyable album.
15. Aboleth – Benthos
The debut album of US doomsters Aboleth (from Los Angeles, California) took me by surprise – did I just got a visit from Janis’ ghost? Those whisky-tainted vocals by Brigitte Roka … I instantly fell in love. Grungy blues, stoner and doom all on one album.
14. Tempelheks – Midnight Mirror
The third album of Norwegian occult rockers Tempelheks from Oslo oozes of 70s inspired psychedelic doom rock. And you still find some tracks where you can heartily sing along (like on the predecessor album). Very enjoyable.
13. High on Fire – Electric Messiah
The new album of US sludgers High on Fire from Oakland, California rampaged through the list of my notes. Bludgeoning drums and basslines, heavy riffage, Matt’s vocals – a rampage to joy.
12. Dopethrone – Transcanadian Anger
Another sludge steamroller: Canadian sludgers Dopethrone from Montréal gave us their fifth album full of sludgy doom. Killdozer plainly kills. The album also contains a highly enjoyable ZZ Top cover.
11. Besvärjelsen – Vallmo
Besvärjelsen from Stockholm, Sweden surprised me last year with their new album. Some serious Windhand-vibes mixed with elegant doom and progressive undertones. While listening to it I got goose bumps – not many songs accomplish that. \m/
10. CHRCH – Light Will Consume Us All
Epic doom is brought to life by American quintetCHRCH from Sacramento, California on the second full-length album. Three songs – 45 minutes. Excellent arrangements of songs. Strong Monarch-vibes. Pure waste-laying power.
9. Electric Citizen – Helltown
Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, the third full-length album of Electric Citizen is another surprise for me. I knew the band only by name, but with Helltown instantly buried deep into my heart with their take on 70s inspired psychedelic doom rock. I am looking forward seeing them tour in Europe.
8. Dunbarrow – II
Occult heavy rockers Dunbarrow from Haugesund, Norway delivered another fine album. Their first album saw the light in 2016 and Dunbarrow continue their occult path on II. Vintage and raw, full of occult atmosphere and jazzy as well bluesy undertones.
7. Holy Grove – II
Holy Grove (Portland, Oregon, USA) released their second album, only titled “II”, last year. II is pretty epic heavy blues-infused doom.
6. Black Rainbows – Pandaemonium
A fuzzy, psychedelic rock journey is brought to us by Black Rainbows from Rome, Italy. Heavy psych stoner rock with a doomy attitude.
5. MaidaVale – Madness Is Too Pure
Psychedelic rock quartet MaidaVale from Stockholm, Sweden released their second album in 2018. Great psych rock infused with 60s/70s sound going right down into one’s heart (and bones).
4. Messa – Feast for Water
Italian doomsters Messa gave us their second album, which is a beautfully arranged blend of Jazz, Blues, Doom and the haunting vocals of their singer Sara.
3. Windhand – Eternal Return
A new album of Windhand (Richmond, Virginia, USA) with epic crushing, fuzzy psychedelic doom. This time with some more grungy elements. Hell yeah! \m/
2. Sleep – The Sciences
This was the surprise of the year for me. On 4/20 Sleep (San Jose, California, USA) dropped their new album into the vast space. When I opened my browser and saw the first mention of it, I merely thought, what did you take last night – it must be a dream. The Sonic Titans are back! Everybody needs more Sleep. \m/
1. YOB – Our Raw Heart
YOB from Eugene, Oregon, USA brought us the most emotional doom metal album in 2018. Monumental riffs meet pure deep emotion. And in my opinion Beauty in Falling Leaves is the best song of the year. YOB is love!
- Bismarck – Urkraft
- Bongripper – Terminal
- Castle – Deal Thy Fate
- Drug Cult – Drug Cult
- Haunted – Dayburner
- High Priestess – High Priestess
- Huata – Lux Initiatrix Terrae
- Juniper Grave – Of Hellions & Harridans
- King Witch – Under the Mountain
- Lucifer – Lucifer II (Spotify)
- MANTAR – The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze
- Mos Generator – Shadowlands
- Red Mesa – The Devil and The Desert
- Red Sun Atacama – Licancabur
- Satan’s Satyrs – The Lucky Ones
- Saint Karloff – All Heed The Black God
- Spiders – Killer Machine (Spotify)
- Throneless – Cycles
- Willow Child – Paradise & Nadir
- Witchthroat Serpent – Swallow The Venom
The Wall Redux
Magnetic Eye Records has assembled a pretty awe inspiring gathering of artists for this redux version of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”: The Melvins, Mos Generator, Sasquatch, Pallbearer, Ruby the Hatchet, Year of the Cobra and many more. The whole project saw the light via a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 and the album was published last year. I am no Pink Floyd dieheart, so I cannot comment if this album is a sacrilege, but the assembled bands do a fine job to bring the late seventies album back into the 21st century.
Here are two bands from the town where I live, which released pretty awesome albums last year:
Black Space Riders – AMORETUM Vol. 1 & Vol. 2
The Black Space Riders released even two albums which give a good impression of their heavy psychedelic fuzzy space orgiastic rock sound.
Mr. Fandango – The Urban Spaceman
A pretty young band, Mr. Fandango play pretty nifty blues rock. Recommended listen if you like blues!
Top Gigs in 2018
- Acid King @ Up in Smoke VI, Pratteln, Switzerland
- Black Mirrors @ Alterna Sounds Festival, Münster, Germany
- Black Space Riders @ Sputnikhalle, Münster, Germany
- Dirty Sound Magnet @ Rare Guitar, Münster, Germany
- Dopethrone @ Up in Smoke VI, Pratteln, Switzerland
- Elder @ Up in Smoke VI, Pratteln, Switzerland
- Electric Wizard @ Up in Smoke VI, Pratteln, Switzerland
- Jex Thoth @ Desertfest Berlin, Germany
- MaidaVale @ Desertfest Berlin, Germany
- Messa @ Up in Smoke VI, Pratteln, Switzerland
- Monolord @ Desertfest Berlin, Germany
- Seedy Jeezus (ft. Tony Reed on bass) @ Rare Guitar, Münster, Germany
- Spiders @ Rare Guitar, Münster, Germany
- The Black Wizards @ Desertfest Berlin, Germany
- The Well @ Rare Guitar, Münster, Germany