2015 has been a wonderful year for Heavyheads
Yeaaaaaah ! So many great records released, it was very hard for me to keep up, and it was even harder to decide which ones were going to make that final top. But I made it. I could have chosen a ton of other kickass albums to be featured here, but at a point you have to make a choice if you don’t want to go insane !
This post is also an opportunity to say a HUGE THANKS to the 44337 unique visitors who came to this site since the 1st of January. It’s a little number compared to other mastodons on the web, but to me it really means a lot It means 44337 people took the time and were curious enough to discover this fabulous music scene. By doing so, you fuzzers are supporting talented human beings who are just expressing themselves via the oldest form of art : music. Without music our lives would be meaningless and morose, I think we can all agree on that right ? So yeah, again thanks to every fuzzers who supported the Heavy scene this year, whether it be by visiting this blog and the many other killer ones, by buying an album, by talking and sharing stuff on social media, by going to a concert, by recommending a band to a friend, or simply by listening to music that made you smile or cry !
Another special thanks also goes to my own team of fuzzers. Without them More Fuzz would be nothing. Mrs. Freaksandgigs, Mr. Heavyhead, Mr. Radio, Mr. Jones, Mr. Grey, Mr. Stone, Mr. Weirdbeard, Mr. Haze, Mr. Riff, Mr. Groove, Mr. Sludgebastard, Mr. Weasel, Mr. Rooster, Mr. Jammin’ James, you all rock so hard
And now it’s time for Rock ‘n’ Roll !
It’s time to show you what I think
is la crème de la crème in terms of fuzzy music…
Let’s discover my favorite records of 2015 !
Top 20 Albums of 2015
20 : Luna Sol – Blood Moon
Dave Angstrom had already proved his talent in the early 2000’s with Hermano. But this wasn’t enough for him. So he decided to come back in 2015 with his own band, Luna Sol, and he just reaffirmed he knows how to handle his axe, and above all write killer Stoner Rock tunes in the purest tradition of the Palm Desert Scene. Fans of early QOTSA sounds, do not miss this release : it’s catchy, it’s fuzzy, and it should sit right next to your Kyuss vinyl discography. Full review here.
You also have to watch their video for the track “Death Mountain“, it involves babes, witchery, and weed. Wanna watch it now huh ?
19 : Witchskull – The Vast Electric Dark
You certainly saw this album on top of the last Doom Charts edition, and I entirely agreed with that. It’s not Stoner Rock, it’s not Doom, Witchskull’s The Vast Electric Dark is just a huge gem of Heavy Rock right into your face, each song has such an enormous hard-hitting groove ! I also love the vocals, very often reminding me the tone of Peter French from one the best Heavy Rock band of the 70’s, Leaf Hound. Oh and I almost forgot, those guitar solos… Yeah, BADASS album.
18 : The Atomic Bitchwax – Gravitron
Purveyors of fuzzy riffs since 1999, I had the chance to see The Atomic Bitchwax last month and I was literally blown away… Even if it’s not anymore the original lineup (except the bassist Chris Kosnik), the guys had way too much energy for the little souls we were in that room, they exploded the Temperature Level ! So, of course, they played a lot of songs from their latest release, Gravitron, and even if it sounds extremely cool in studio, you have to see these guys live, at least to be gobsmacked by Chris dexterity and speed on his bass, what a BEAST
17 : The Black Wizards – Lake Of Fire
Here is a new band on the scene that I’m sure is going to make a lot of noise in the coming years if they keep improving like they already did. Indeed, The Black Wizards released their first EP back in January, but did not loose their time smoking pot and drinking beers (or maybe it helped ?) and released a full-length, Lake Of Fire, at the end of November. If you dig the Acid-Blues style of Radio Moscow, you really have to give a listen to this one. Add to that a heavier tone on some songs, powerful & sexy female vocals, and you get the perfect recipe for an hour-long of deliciously fuzzy, bluesy & hazy tunes ! Full review here.
16 : Plainride – Return Of The Jackalope
These 4 German dudes only swear by 2 things : Beer & Fuzz ! What’s even funnier is they released their first full-length in 2015 with a label named, guess what, Beerfuzz Records Muhahahah So yeah, like I said when I announced Return Of The Jackalope, Plainride could really be the offspring of two mastodons of the Heavy scene, Orange (Fuckin’) Goblin & Clutch ! BAM ! Explosion of the Temperature Level ! Be ready for a 13-tracks ride on a dusty desert road, kickass “Stoner ‘n’ Roll” riffs, gritty, whisky-soaked vocals, and most importantly, on the back of a giant Jackalope !
15 : Killer Boogie – Detroit
Side-project of the uber talented Gabriele Fiori from Black Rainbows (“Hawkdope” could have also made that top !), he’s also the guy behind the Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds Records, so yeah he’s quite a busy man 😉 Killer Boogie, like its name suggests, first stroke me because of its huge groove and that killer raw fuzz tone, taking its roots in acid-rock bands like MC5 and Blue Cheer, I could only love it ! And to quote myself in the review I did when it came out : “It’s like a steamroller which accumulated more Fuzz than it could store, and was released because it became too unstable !“. Full Review here.
14 : The Heavy Eyes – He Dreams Of Lions
Everything these guys do is pure gold, I’m just addicted to their overall sound ! The straightforwardness of their riffs, that fat fuzz (check out Tripp fuzz pedal in our 1st Crank The Fuzz edition), the catchiness of each of their songs, you can clearly say The Heavy Eyes have their own very unique sound they forged since their first album, and that’s how you define a kickass band ! And I must say the production of He Dreams Of Lions is even better than their first 2 albums, it’s heavier, it’s fuzzier than ever 🙂
13 : Graveyard – Innocence & Decadence
The most iconic Swedish Retro Rock band of those last years have clearly established their supremacy with Innocence & Decadence. Even if they lost some punch compared to their first 2 albums, I still love the direction they took with this release. It’s much more geared toward deep feelings, and I approve this (special mention to “Too Much Is Not Enough” such a beautiful song). Joakim Nilsson shines more than ever before, what a voice… What hasn’t changed though is their songwriting talent, being able to take us from sorrow to anger, Graveyard are the kings of emotions..!
12 : The Machine – Offblast!
Since their birth in 2007, The Machine have proved to be among the best Heavy Psychedelic bands on the planet. With 4 sumptuous albums of endless Heavy Jams, and a majestic split with their, just as talented, fuzz-mates of Sungrazer, The Machine have decided to land their spaceship once again in 2015. But be careful ! Only a few chosen ones will have the privilege to experience this lightning take-off into the trippiest meanders of the Universe… OFFBLAST !
11 : All Them Witches – Dying Surfer Meets His Maker
The Nashville 4-piece band has been quite prolific this year with 3 releases, 2 in the beginning of the year which were more jam-based, and this little gem in the end of October. Dying Surfer Meets His Maker feels like the ultimate laid-back album for the cold days of winter. Like Mr. Haze told in his review : “It is hard to put a sticker on that one but if you like acoustic blues rock with a touch of heavy psych, this is for you.“. Indeed, the mellow atmosphere these guys built is so strong, another band with a unique personality, another band I’m sure we’ll remember for a long time… Light up your joint and feel your hot chocolate slowly going down your throat…
10 : The Heavy Minds – Treasure Coast
Fell in love with this record instantly after hearing it, this Austrian trio crafted a perfect “70’s inspired-Heavy-Psychedelic-Blues-Rock” first full-length. You know when musicians have “the feeling” right away, and this the case with The Heavy Minds. It grooves, it’s bluesy, it’s heavy, it’s trippy, it’s fuzzy, the formula is dead simple, but it works wonders ! Full review here.
9 : Mother Engine – Absturz
I feel a bit bad for not writing a full review of this one because it really deserves it. Mother Engine is another marvelous Instrumental Heavy Psych trio from Germany and with Absturz they created one of the best psychedelic journey I ever experienced. This album is meant to be played in its entirety, comfortably laying on your bed, your best pair of headphones on your head. 6 songs, all during more than 9 minutes, and each one telling its own story, the atmospheres these guys created is mindblowing… Special mention to Chris Trautenbach the guitarist, he’ll still amaze me after every listen of this album !
8 : The Shrine – Rare Breed
The LA-based outfit clearly defines the Rock ‘n’ Roll spirit : “Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll !” Rare Breed became the album I constantly play when I need a huge boost of energy and motivation, I mean really, the effect it has on me is instantaneous ! For example, as I’m writing these words, I had the unconscious need to up the volume to its maximum, I’m now headbanging like crazy and stomping my foot heavily ! Try it yourself and GET A GRIP MOFOS !
7 : Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors
Royal Thunder is the 2nd band in this top with a frontwoman, and I must say Mlny Parsonz really bewitched me with her powerful and goddess voice… Crooked Doors is the 2nd album from Royal Thunder and they crafted a unique atmosphere, at the same time dark & heavy, and on the other hand very airy & soulful. The melodies, particularly on the guitar, are amazing, what a great use of the effect pedals ! “Like an Angel Right in the Middle of Hell…“. Full Review here.
6 : Powder For Pigeons – Washed, Dried, Brain Fried
Powder For Pigeons is the proof duos are so effective and can be way heavier than some regular bands. Blasting some of the heaviest & fuzziest riffs I have heard, Powder For Pigeons doesn’t need an introduction. Just eat that in your face, washed, dried, fried, this is exactly what your brain will be after listening to this album ! Fuck I need to see these guys live !
5 : RotoR – Fünf
4 years since these Berliners didn’t release an album, but oh god it was worth the wait… You should know by now I’m a sucker for instrumental bands, and RotoR is the perfect example of why I love them so much. But I don’t like every instrumental band, let me explain. Unlike Space Rock (even if I still appreciate it), where to me it feels way too much repetitive, instrumental bands in the Heavy Psych territory like RotoR doesn’t need vocals to create a range of different melodies and atmospheres. RotoR are masters of their own instruments, and melodies are only created thanks to them, that’s the beauty of it all ! The songs they crafted in this album are so magic, they made me travel to so many places, made me feel so many emotions, all of this without the use of any drug, just the music itself… And that’s why, to me, Fünf is the BEST Heavy Psych record of 2015.
4 : Cigale – Self-titled
In October, our music scene lost one of the most talented guitarist in the Heavy Psych realm, Rutger Smeets of Sungrazer. I didn’t know him in person, but I felt terribly bad because Sungrazer was the very first band of this heavy music scene I saw live, and Rutger and his mates were the firsts to light up the fire inside me that hasn’t stopped to grow since that night.
So yeah, when I heard back in January that Rutger and Hans (Sungrazer drummer) were to start a new band I was really excited ! When Cigale self-titled came out in April my expectations were quite high, but as you can see, I was not disappointed at all. First I was kinda surprised by what I was hearing, but rapidly I felt so much in love with what these guys crafted ! This album is a blissful & refreshing experience, touching you deeply in the heart with sincere and delicate emotions. Don’t expect a once of heaviness, it’s just a beautiful album with that psychedelic touch we were used to with Sungrazer. I think it’s simply the best legacy Rutger could have left for our community and for himself, and for that, I think he’s proud of what he did, there, beyond the clouds… RIP dude. Full Review here.
3 : Weedpecker – II
I call this album : “The Ultimate Chill-To Album for Heavyheads“. Why ? Because to me, Weedpecker came up with the ideal sound that is melting at the same time a uber-massive heavy tone & some of the most weed-induced psychedelic melodies ! So yeah, this album has all the ingredients when you just want to lay in your couch like a lazy-ass fuzzer, with a big fat joint between your fingers, and just let your mind deeply immersed in the sound… At least that’s what I was most often doing when I was listening to Weedpecker’s II, but I’m sure I’m not alone
2 : Elder – Lore
I’m sure this one will be at the top of many 2015 Top Albums, and that is fully deserved. Lore is a masterpiece, like a UFO coming from a galaxy far, far away (see what I did there ) that had a 0,0000000001% chance to crash on Earth and being discovered by Humans. The songwriting effort put into this album is phenomenal, these guys are really aliens, I mean F*** they’re only 25 years old
Special mention to Nick DiSalvo the guitarist, his skills are face-melting, I was just in front of him when they played in my hometown, and he must have been afraid by all the different facial expressions I had during all the concert (though I must not be the only one like that…). The unique mix of this epic heaviness and prog-like song progressions make it my 2nd best album of 2015 ! Now I wish them good luck to do better than this one
1 : Augustine Azul – EP
Oh my… THIS TRIO RIPS ! Augustine Azul is a heavy instrumental band coming from Brazil and they released this 7-tracks EP in January, but I only stumbled upon it in October, and I’m so glad I did ! Yeah it became an addiction, I can’t stop headbanging hearing those tunes and now I know them by heart ! I haven’t heard something so catchy, so groovy, and so heavy at the same time… They also have that jazzy-proggy feeling on top of the heaviness, and I don’t know why but I just love it ! One last thing to mention, like I said in my review : ” the flow of the songs are just perfect, not a riff is here to fill a void. Nope, you’re just embarked in a constant flow of fuzzy-awesomeness !“.
Augustine Azul clearly deserves my first spot of my favorite album of 2015, and I wish this rank will help them getting more popular in the scene, because I really want them to produce a kickass full-length and tour all over the world ! Congrats guys, hope to catch you live once
UPDATE : Augustine Azul signed to More Fuzz Records ! Listen to their debut album here 🙂
Honorable Mentions by Atmosphere Levels
By Fat Level
Belzebong – Greenferno
Mammothwing – Morning Light
Goatsnake – Black Age Blues
Savanah – Deep Shades
Dopethrone – Hochelaga
Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower
By Purple Haze Level
Arenna – Given to Emptiness
Domo / Pyramidal – Jams From The Sun Split
Sweat Lodge – Talismana
My Sleeping Karma – Moksha
Wired mind – Mindstate:Dreamscape
Sahara Surfers – High Lands
Acid King – Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere
By Temperature Level
FUZZ – II
Gentlemans Pistols – Hustler’s Row
Clutch – Psychic Warfare
Ten Foot Wizard – Sleeping Volcanoes
Freedom Hawk – Into Your Mind
2 awesome compilations by bands of the heavy scene covering famous artists, you need to check them out :
Jimmy Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland [Redux] by Magnetic Eye Records
Dazed and Confused – A Stoned-Out Salute to Led Zeppelin by Cleopatra Records
Top Concerts of 2015
Elder @ Le Ferailleur, Nantes, France
Wo Fat @ Le Ferailleur, Nantes, France
Monkey3 @ Le Ferailleur, Nantes, France
The Machine @ DesertFest Antwerp, Belgium
Goatsnake @ DesertFest Antwerp, Belgium
The whole Freak Valley Festival , Siegen, Germany
Volcano Sessions, France