Hey Fuzzers it’s that time of the year to present you my favorite albums of 2016 and some honourable mentions you need to listen in case you haven’t done it so far. Thanks for reading and enjoy the ride!
Top 20 Albums of 2016
20: Vokonis – Olde One Ascending
A delight for Stoner/Doom Metal fans. This Swedish trio (previously known as Creedsmen Arise) delivers a wall of sound full of down tuned riffs, hard hitting drums and harsh vocals that will please fans of Sleep, Conan, High on Fire, Black Pyramid, and more.
19: Wolves Of Winter – S/T
Wolves of Winter is a power trio from Phoenix Arizona and with this debut they’ve deliver a very good proposal of Stoner and Desert Rock. In their sound, you can trace influences of the classic 70’s sound (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple), Seattle’s grunge from the late 80’s and early 90’s (Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, etc.) and the Palm Desert scene. Full review here.
18: Holy Grove – S/T
Holy Grove is a Stoner/Doom Metal band from Portland, Oregon. They released their self-titled debut back in March and from the moment I heard it I knew it was going to be huge. The band plays very tight, focused, intensely and Andrea Vidal shows she has some damn pipes! A plus for this one: Billy Anderson is behind the mixing console.
17: Demonauta – Tierra de Fuego
You have no idea what’s the fuzz? Don’t know how does it sound? You need to give a listen to Demonauta, the South American masters of Fuzz Rock. The compositions and arrangements shows a band that has matured over the years, so you can expect “Tierra de Fuego” to be their best album to date.
16: Cabeza De Caballo – Dölmenn
Cabeza De Caballo is a quintet from Spain which for lack of better words plays HEAVY music! “Dölmenn” is one of the most diverse albums where they managed to amalgamate a musical proposal with numerous references to Heavy Metal, Thrash, Doom, Stoner, Sludge and more. For that reason, it should appeal to many listeners inside the heavy community. Full review here.
15: Goatess – Purgatory Under New Management
Goatess is a side project from Chritus (ex-Count Raven, ex-Saint Vitus, Lord Vicar), and if he’s involved in this band you know is going to be Doom Metal at its best. This is heavy, psychedelic, groovy, and with the usual Ozzy like vocals and a superb musicianship, the band has delivered one of the best Doom Metal albums of the year.
14: Elephant Tree – S/T
First LP from this British band released thru Magnetic Eye Records. Unlike their previous EP, this time they left the sitar aside and concentrated on the riffs. Like many of the albums of the genre, the vocals have an ethereal and psychedelic twist and are pushed a little back in the mix to add more impact on the performance. This is Stoner/Doom Metal with an overdose of fuzz!
13: Black Rainbows – Stellar Prophecy
The Italian masters of fuzzy cosmic voyages are back! They released the fantastic Hawdope last year and if that wasn’t enough, in less than a year the trio pleased us with their trademark sound. I love the keyboards arrangements in this album in particularly. Check it out!
12: Vinum Sabbatum – Apprehensions
Inspired by 60’s-70’s bands where the organ has the main role. With elements of Hard Rock, Doom Metal, Prog Rock and Heavy Psych, the band delivers a strong album. If you’re into bands like Iron Butterfly, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Pentagram (early years), you might like them.
11: Witchcraft – Nucleus
After 2012’s Legend, Magnus Pelander returned with a completely brand new line up for the recording of their fifth album. Nucleus arrived in the first weeks of January and caught my attention immediately because they left behind the references to the Proto-Doom and Psychedelic Rock of the first three albums embracing a straightforward Doom Metal sound with Prog Rock elements. In this sense, this album is more heavy and ambitious, something that is evident in songs like “Malstroem”, “Breakdown” and “Nucleus”. After listening to it throughout the year I can say that “Nucleus” has become my favorite Witchcraft album.
10: R.I.P. – In The Wind
R.I.P. is another band from Portland, Oregon. For the amount of bands emerging from Oregon and its surroundings, the Pacic Northwest may be the epicenter of American heavy underground scene. In their sound, you can trace the riffs of early Proto-Metal and the first bands that amalgamated the aesthetics of Heavy Metal and Doom Metal. Imagine that you take the sound of bands like Jerusalem, Lucifer’s Friend, Dust, Sir Lord Baltimore, Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Witchfinder General, Cirith Ungol and you pass it through a sieve: what you get is R.I.P.
9: Spell – For None And All
Last year was Flight, this time the turn is for Spell, a Canadian trio that have deliver my favorite Heavy Metal album of 2016. Spell is a very good band which blends the sound the NWOBHM bands with powerful riffs and a dark vibe. Also, they have some very good keyboards arrangements and a wide range vocal performance that will be appealing to fans of Mercyful Fate, Angel Witch, Manilla Road, and more.
8: Haunted – S/T
Like many of their fellow Italian Doom Metal acts, Haunted plays slow and dark tunes, musically inspired by Black Sabbath and Italian underground legend Paul Chain. Their lyrics are influenced by the imaginary associated with occultism and witchcraft. Beside their musical influences, they’re in big debt with the aesthetic of classic Italian horror movies. If you’re a fan of Doom Metal, particularly the one that’s somber with references to witchcraft and the occult, I think this album will be appealing to you. In the end, the guys and gal have present to the heavy underground community, one of the best releases of the year, so you better check it out. Full review here.
7: Hijo De La Tormenta – El Manto De La Especie
With their sophomore album, this Argentinian trio embarks themselves in an analogic journey to Fuzz Land. They deliver a sonic bricolage with elements of Heavy Pysch, 70’s Hard Rock and Post-Rock, where highlights the musicianship and the keyboards arrangements in 3 of the 6 songs and, of course, the mastering process handle by no other than Billy Anderson himself.
6: King Buffalo – Orion
With their debut album, King Buffalo delivers an album that relies more in the introspective side of the Stoner Rock spectrum, giving more prominence to the Psychedelic and Heavy Blues elements. One of the best debut albums of the year without a doubt!
5: Wo Fat – Midnight Comet
With five previous albums, some splits and a live record, this trio is a well-known institution among the heavy underground scene. They’ve mastered the art of mixing the heaviness of Stoner Metal with the trippy sounds of Psychedelic music, adding a personal touch with a unique Texan boogie vibe. If you need a visual reference of the music these guys perform, imagine ZZ Top playing Doom Metal under the influences of LSD. Fortunately for all of us, they signed with the best record label of the scene, Ripple Music, and released an album for the ages.
4: Stars That Move – No Riders
Stars That Move is a band from Georgia (US) which consists of ex-Starchild members Ric Bennett (guitars, bass and vocals) and Frank Sikes (drums) alongside Ric’s wife Elisa Maria Moreno (vocals). The band plays a strong mix of Doom Metal, Stoner Rock, Psychedelic and Dream Pop. For their sophomore album, the band delivers a heavier and darker sound, showing a stronger musicianship and some of the best vocal works of 2016 so far. Full review here.
3: Dunbarrow – S/T
This Norwegian band brings back the classic sound of Doom Metal formative period. Dunbarrow follows the path taken by Witchcraft more than a decade ago by taking a fresh approach to the aesthetic and sound of Bedemon and Pentagram early days.
2: Messa – Belfry
Messa is a quartet from Italy that plays Doom Metal with Dark Ambient and Drone elements. They released their debut LP back in May and immediately caught my attention thanks to the musicianship and the vocal performance. The album emanates an occult vibe throughout the 10 tunes and its 60 minutes of duration. If you want obscure yet beautiful music you better check this album, particularly the songs “Blood” and “Outermost”.
1: Geezer – S/T
This is it my friends, the masters of Heavy Blues released their new album a couple of weeks ago thru Ripple Music-STB Records and immediately became my favorite album of the year. At this point everyone should know about this trio from Kingston, New York. Pat and the boys have created a beautiful Heavy Blues album with a strong stonerized vibe, and the addition of Space Rock and Psychedelic elements is a mayor plus. This is going to be an album for the ages for sure!