Hey Fuzzers, before you read what I consider the best records of the year, I’ll like to say a couple of things. First of all, I wanna thank Mr. Fuzz for the opportunity to become a member of the More Fuzz Team and write about the music that I love. Second, my gratitude goes to all the bands and record labels for sharing their music with us and believe in what we do at More Fuzz. Third, a recognition to all the fellow bloggers covering the doom/stoner underground scene for spreading the word about all things heavy. And finally, a big hello and thanks to my partners at More Fuzz and my fellow revolutionaries at Hard Rock Revolution for introducing me to a whole lot of groups and new music, you are the main source that feeds my music passion !
Top 20 Albums of 2015
20 : Kult Of The Wizard – The White Wizard
Kult Of The Wizard recruited Mahle Roth for “The White Wizard” and the band made an improvement compared with their previous efforts. Ms. Roth delivers occultish lyrics and one of the strongest vocal performances of the year, besides that, the band plays better than ever. Full review here.
19 : Monolord – Vaenir
With their sophomore album, the band delivers again their trademark of spooky, lo-fi, fuzzy and super slow doom metal. Once again, the vocals are way back in the mix, with some special treatments to create an effective and somber atmosphere. This one is even stronger than “Empress Rising”, and undoubtedly one of the best doom metal albums of the year.
18 : Sergeant Thunderhoof – Ride Of The Hoof
This is the second album of this british stoner metal quartet, but make no mistake, this not your average stoner metal band. The Sergeant brings a lot of fuzz and some space and psychedelic elements into the mix, creating a unique trademark sound. For the vocals, which are very good, think of Chris Cornell singing thru an astronaut helmet. And talking about that, I think this would be the perfect soundtrack to play before you start the space rocket engines, looking at them while they’re heating and starts to leave the ground.
17 : 4 Ciénagas – Cuatro Ciénagas
This is a Mexican side project from members of Vinnum Sabbathi, Bar de Monjas and Los Dealers. The band plays furious instrumental stoner metal with a good dose of fuzz and psychedelic tones. Expect maximum fat and temperature level. Full review here.
16 : Goya – Obelisk
Prepare for a good dose of heaviness. Goya is trio from Arizona playing heavy, down tuned, fuzzy, filthy and, of course, slow doom metal with a psychedelic hitch, especially with the vocals that are throw back a little in the mix. With this album, the band surpass what they did before. This would appeal to fans of Sleep, Electric Wizard, With The Dead, YOB, and more.
15 : With The Dead – s/t
So you look into the members of this new band and says: Holy Cow! This is the new project of Tim Bagshaw and Mark Greening, the original rhythm section of Electric Wizard, and Lee Dorrian who needs no introduction. This is a doom metal monster, full of sick and twisted lyrics, heavy distorted guitars and perfect synchronized bass and drums that pounds you right into your chest.
14 : Weedpecker – II
After their self title debut album, you knew Weedpecker would be a name to follow inside the heavy underground global scene. With their follow up, aptly titled “II”, the band treats us with 43 minutes of stonerized psychedelia, full of fuzzy, trippy riffs and ethereal vocals.
13 : Ampacity – Superluminal
This space rockers are back with their second album, showing more explicitly the prog side of the band. The keyboards arrangements remind me of the early days of jazz/fusion giants Mahavishnu Orchestra, and of course, Yes, specifically the “Relayer”. This time the band did an exclusively instrumental album, with shorter compositions compared to “Encounter One”, but more tight and coherent. This should be a great album for fans of Yuri Gagarin, Monomyth, Domo, Pyramidal and more.
12 : Graveyard – Innocence And Decadence
The masters of Swedish retro-rock are back with their fourth LP, and they sound more bluesy than ever. Make no mistake, you’re not in the 70’s, instead of that you’re in front of a band that have updated the sound of classic bands from the 60’s and 70’s presenting a fresh musical proposal. In this sense, they play timeless and good rock and roll.
11: Disenchanter – Strange Creations
With this debut album, this stoner/doom metal trio from Portland spoiled us with some high quality songwriting skills, amazing musicianship and the incredible pipes of Sabine Stangenberg. “792” and “On Strength Of Steel” may be the best two songs opening any of 2015 albums. Powerful, with an incredible feeling, an amazing bass and drums work thanks to Joy DeMartini and Jay Erbe, and of course, the solid guitar work and the remarkable vocal job of Sabine, who delivers lyrics full of fury. Don’t miss this release!
10: Pentagram – Curious Volume
Bobby Liebling and Victor Griffin buried the hatchet and came back bigger than ever. With this album, the band has made their most consistent record since 1994’s Be Forewarned. With this new album you get two things: the classic sound of Pentagram, and an invigorated band with a fresh and powerful sound you haven’t heard in the last 20 years. Full review here.
9: Flight – Flight
From Norway, Flight delivers a record that is a time travel machine directly to 1983, an excellent example of the heavy metal revival. This album would appeal to fans of UFO, Riot, Iron Maiden, early Def Leppard, and more.
8: Avatarium – The Girl With The Raven Mask
Avatarium is a side project from Leif Edling, the mastermind behind Candlemass, featuring members and former members of Tiamat, Royal Hunt, Evergrey, and others. With “The Girl With The Raven Mask” the band delivers high quality epic doom metal with beautiful and haunted vocals thanks to the talented Jennie-Ann Smith.
7: Horisont – Odyssey
This new album catapults the band among the top 3 retro-rockers of the current scene. With their previous albums, the band showed us the influences of the 70’s hard rock scene. For “Odyssey”, they incorporate keyboards and let emerge a prog side that hasn’t been in the band before. The title track, a proggy hard rock piece that marks almost 11 minutes, opens the album with some cool keyboards, high pitch vocals and intricate time arrangements reminding me of Rush in their “Spheres” days. Prepare to be surprised with this album, one of the bests of the year for sure!
6: Vinnum Sabbathi/Bar De Monjas – Fuzzonaut Split
In this split you’ll find the space/drone/doom instrumental from Vinnum Sabbathi and the fuzzy stoner rock of Bar de Monjas. Besides being two of the best bands of the Mexican heavy underground scene, they shared the same drummer, Gerardo Arias, who does an excellet job pounding those drums like Thor himself.
5: Yuri Gagarin – At The Center Of All Infinity
This Swedish space rockers put the measure very high with their debut in 2013. So what could they do this time? Treat us with the perfect soundtrack for a space trip with their new album, which happens to arrive just in time to make it into my top 20 of 2015. Start the engines, get on board of your spacecraft and fly high my friends!
4: Lucifer – I
When The Oath released their debut album in 2012 you knew they were made for big things. After they split, their singer Johanna Sadonis formed Lucifer, signed to Rise Above Records and created the best doom metal record of the year.
3: Geezer/Borracho – The Second Coming Of Heavy Chapter One
This is the first of a new series that Ripple Music would be releasing –The Second Coming Of Heavy–, summarizing a total of 12 chapters. Here you’ll find Geezer doing what they do best: playing heavy and filthy blues, full of whiskey soaked vocals. On the other hand, Borracho bring us an amazing stoner rock full of fuzzy riffs. In this split the two bands complement each other in a very good way, making this a coherent and muscular record.
2: Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
Iron Maiden is not about nostalgia, they had been making new and strong music since their debut album 35 years ago. With “The Book Of Souls” the band deepens in their progressive side, one which has been developing more explicitly since “The X Factor”. The band offers us 92 minutes of quality and ambitious music, they even have piano, not keyboards, and orchestration for “Empire Of The Clouds”, a haunted and beautiful song signed solely by Dickinson, that happens to be the lengthy one of their catalog.
1: Sweat Lodge – Talismana
This is it, best album of the year and one of the best debuts of all time. The band delivers the perfect blend of hard rock, proto-metal, heavy psych and retro-rock. As I say in my review: “you’ll hear a good dose of retro-rock paying tribute to the 70’s Hard Rock and Proto-Metal scene. But don’t be fooled, at the same time the band sounds fresh and current, and for that, I can tell you’ll be the witness of a band bringing to the present the good old sound with their own trademark”. Full review here.
Honorable Mentions by Atmosphere Levels
By Fat Level
Godsleep – Thousand Sons Of Sleep
Goatsnake – Black Age Blues
Major Kong – Galactic Cannibalism
Bevar Sea – Invoked The Bizarre
Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower
By Purple Haze Level
Big Red Panda – Grand Orbiter
Uncle Acid And The Dead Beats – Nightcreeper
Black Moon Circle – The Studio Jams Vol. 1
El Brujo – Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Sonus
Stars That Move – s/t
By Temperature Level
The Black Wizards – Lake Of Fire
Honeymoon Disease – The Transcendence
Clutch – Psychic Warfare
Freedom Hawk – Into Your Mind
3 awesome compilations by bands of the heavy scene covering famous artists, you need to check them out :
Best of James Marshall Hendrix by Magnetic Eye Records