It’s the Holidays folks, so you know the drill! It’s time to talk about our favourite albums of the year. Although I usually try to think about it months ahead, I never fail to have a hard time choosing them, but it’s the same for everyone I guess! If 2016 has not been kind for an important number of great musicians, I like to think that great music will never cease to exist, especially if we all keep supporting the artists that make our hearts beat and our minds blown.
Anyway, here are my favourite releases of the year. Enjoy your holidays and stay safe Fuzzers!
Top 15 Albums of 2016
15: LowFlyingHawks – Kōfuku
Let’s open this top with one of my favourite albums from early 2016! LowFlyingHawks debut album blends elements of doom and shoegaze to create creepy atmospheres with a low-fi vibe. Their music is dark, slow and heavy but also surprisingly appeasing.
14: Spirit Adrift – Chained To Oblivion
I discovered this band by chance so I did not know what to expect when I first listened to Chained To Oblivion. And holy crap what a surprise! The songs are very powerful and full of emotion. It’s like a meaner, grander Pallbearer. It’s mainly doom but with rather surprising elements like soli with two guitars, clear vocals and harmonies EVERYWHERE. And the craziest thing? It’s a one-man-band. Go and listen to this album, you won’t regret it.
13: The Re-Stoned – The Reptile Returns
Reptiles Return is the album you wanna listen to while driving at night under a bright sky full of stars. The subtle mix of mellow melodies and heavy riffs is a delight for the ears. The psychedelic rockers from Russia composed a wonderful invitation to travel. They may not reinvent the wheel but you can clearly feel that they play what they want the way they like it, and that’s more than enough for me.
12: Naxatras – II
Another instrumental band dealing with psychedelic riffs but a totally different vibe and story. Naxatras latest offering is as gentle and laid-back as the first song suggests. If The Re-Stoned encourage you to look at the landscape they create, Naxatras lean more toward an introspective exploration.
11: Joy – Ride Along!
A band that really lives up to their name. This may have been said a lot of times but damn, they are so fun to listen to! Joy feature members from Earthless, Sacri Monti and Radio Moscow. I think that single piece of information gives you a pretty accurate idea of what they sound like: some freaking spaced out psychedelic blues that gives you the kick in the ass you need when you feel down.
10: Brant Bjork – Tao Of The Devil
The King of desert rock is back baby! Do I really need to justify this one?
9: SVVAMP – SVVAMP
At first, I wanted to write a review about this release but I struggled to find the right words to talk about it. In essence it’s easy, because, like an insane number of bands, SVVAMP are obsessed with the sounds of the 70’s and especially with bands like Thin Lizzy, Led Zep and Cream. But they succeed where many others fail: they do it with talent and style. This album is pouring with so much love for this era, it’s a beautiful thing to listen to.
8: The Cosmic Dead – Rainbowhead
This album sounds like it was forged for your lonely drug-fueled nights. The Cosmic Dead dropped this one out of nowhere with practically no promotion whatsoever so I was not ready for my mind to melt so suddenly. Still spreading their love for Hawkwind, their music is still instantly recognisable. The fuzzy (always almost impossible to understand) vocals, unstoppable rhythm section, hypnotic keyboard parts and riffs from outer space will guide you far away from this lonely, broken planet. I can tell you, the Scottish quartet is as strong as ever.
7: The Claypool Lennon Delirium – Monolith Of Phobos
Another album I found by chance while browsing on Youtube. God bless their recommendation algorithm! I really like Les Claypool‘s main band, Primus, so I was eager to hear what this strange collaboration had to offer. Obviously, it does not come as a surprise: it kicks some serious ass. Sean Lennon really knows his way around a guitar and although you can feel a Beatles vibe throughout the album, it blends so well with Les Claypool‘s personal style that it’s refreshing and different enough to be worth a place in a list of the top albums of the year!
6: Goya – The Enemy
Another great release from one of the most crushing and active bands of the genre! The first time I listened to The Enemy, I was surprised as I did not expect to hear something so different from their previous releases. Well, different might be a strong word, but they have definitely taken a different approach here. It’s less doomy than Obelisk and less angry than 777. Instead, it’s punchier! But don’t worry, it’s still nasty as hell. Goya don’t know how to disappoint.
5: Elephant Tree – s/t
And they said that my favourite genre of music was not “melodic”! AHAH! Obviously, they never listened to Elephant Tree. Their self-titled album is pure ear candy. It’s sweet, it’s heavy, it’s psychedelic… It’s everything you need and even more. I think it’s also quite an easy listening for people who are not used to the genre.
4: Merlin – Electric Children
Merlin retained the idea of the concept album they used with Christkiller (released in 2014) and applied it to their new one. Still narrating creepy stories with a surprising ease, Electric Children has a lot to offer to the attentive listener. I admit it took me a few listens to get my head around this new tale, but in the end I found myself coming back for more and always blasting the whole album through.
3: Mars Red Sky – APEX III
Hailing from my hometown, Bordeaux, France, Mars Red Sky is a band that holds a special place in my heart. Their blend of heavy riffs and clear vocals is quite unique and they have a real sense of groove. Their songs are haunting, they find a way inside your head and don’t leave until you have played them loud enough to exorcise them. They also are a stunning live band and I strongly encourage you to check them out if you can!
2: Geezer – s/t
Geezer is the kind of band that you want to hang out with. Their music and especially this album is the kind that should be played very loud in the jukebox of your favourite bar as you drink beers with your friends. I often listen to their previous album, Gage, on my way to parties as it gets my blood pumping and I foresee myself to blast this one even louder.
1: Salem’s Pot – Pronounce This!
Right from the first time I heard this album back in July, I knew this would be my album of the year. I like where they have taken their sound. They stopped trying to be the heaviest in order to be the freakiest, and I can safely say that they easily won the contest. Pronounce This! is exactly what I like in an album nowadays: it’s written by people who know who they are as a band. Although their allegiance to the fathers of the genres is undeniable, they are so far out there that their sound is truly unique. They managed to create something completely different with a very creepy, personal universe. The best thing is that I also find this album to be very entertaining, even for casual listeners.