Hello fuzzers! This is Mr. Muffer, and I am here to deliver you a supply of fuzzy recommendations!
Recently, I’ve been admitted to be a contributor of one of the best and most useful websites of the world when it comes to stoner related music. I’m very honoured to be a part of the team and being able to offer my writing and my sincere analysis and opinion on some fuzzy sounds that come around every year.
I am kind of used to making lists, mainly best of the year lists. I started doing that on 2007, the charts were published on my dead website, facebook and other social media websites. But I’ve never had to narrow the evaluation to a specific genre and its subgenres. It has been a great experience, I loved every second of this work, as well as all of the great things I’ve done this year, since taking my best vacations ever and being able to directly relate them with this awesome style of music and all that comes with it.
So, here we are, yes indeed. Mr. Muffer’s list of the best releases of the year.
Top 10 Albums of 2016
10 : Datura4 – Hairy Mountain
This album is probably the most “poppy” one of my list. It is a smooth psychedelic album with great vocals, amazing rhythms, and lots of reverberant muffy solos flowing out of your audio device.
The record spins on a high temperature. Even though the choruses are cheesy and corny, the elevated mood commands this album, being eventually interrupted by a casual beautiful passage, as seen in the ending of the song ‘Trolls’.
The song that carries the title of the album is a heavy song, with a beautiful melody blowing on the chorus, as some of the riffs show an obvious influence of the never dying classic Nazareth’s ‘Hair of the Dog’.
This is a very witty and beautiful album that deserves its due place and comfortable space in this list, because it captures a very original mood, and in that, found its place in the sun, that shines on the albums of this particular genre that we were presented to this year.
9 : Keef Mountain – Selftitled
With that name, we already know what to expect. Odds are you’re going to listen to a very fat and fuzzy stoner album, powered by the green powder. Keef Mountain’s debut album shows a lot of creative and concise song writing, being delivered by some shrill guitar tones, as sharp as the wail of a siren. These 2 groovy dudes show a lot of chemistry and experience while executing their songs. They got everything laid down perfectly, and there are lots of different riffs and paces to go through this flawlessly.
Mostly, the temperature of the audio is hotter than a usual traditional doom metal oriented album. Yet sometimes there are some slower parts full of psychedelic resonance.
Overall, it’s a very good debut record. However, in my opinion, they could have worked the dark atmosphere a little bit more, and maybe invest some more time, with longer instrumental and improvised parts, but that won’t keep you from enjoying a very high class stoner doom release.
8 : Haunted – Selftitled
The music performed by these fuzzers from Italy comes with a high dose of psychedelic feelings. The female voices, often doubled and tripled on different pitches syncs perfectly with the smooth background provided by the instrumental department of the band.
You can often sense some occult rock influences in their songs. Those vibes flow in their veins, spell driven by the magic that oozes from my audio monitors.
However, this is not any doom metal album. Even with all those influences pointing out all the time, the beginning of the song ‘Silvercomb’ presents you with a high stoner tone, smoothly fuzzing your ears, boozing the water I was drinking.
7 : Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Y Proffywyd Dwyll
How do I even pronounce this? Y Prof, Proff vid… weed? Dwyll? Damn, that must be an old spell or something.
There is no ceremony to start the album. It is a slap of an old chubby lady landing right on your face. This is very, very heavy. The atmosphere here is misty, walking on psychedelic grounds, eerie and doomish vocals, dripping greasy guitar riffs and bass lines.
Testudo in Portuguese means ‘Big Forehead’. However, I don’t think that was the actual target for the lyrics, and also they’re British, so, no Portuguese involved. There are many spots on the album where you can listen to some electronic noise. This is probably the only thing in this album that I would remove.
This an important sidenote: ‘Cithuula’, the last song, must weight a thousand pounds. How heavy can a fuzzed guitar get?
6 : Wight – Love Is Not Only What You Know
Well, that was unexpected. The ones who listened to their last album will certainly be surprised by the path that the band chose for this one. The first song is a funky groove with a high-pitched 70’s voice screaming all the way to the crying wahs on a concrete reggae foundation. The album ranges from funky beats to progressive cuts with the recording ambience and mastering that took place in the 70’s.
Some folky tunes and afro beats and chants endowed with crazy bass lines and guitar chords start to take control of the album, shifting its shape to an even more distinct one from the previous works. The open-minded fuzzer that enjoys the 70’s and the funk mood will certainly fall in love with this album. A highlight of this first half of the album is ending solo of the song ‘The Muse and the Mule’. It seems like David Gilmour and Isiah Mitchell met and brewed those notes in a warm bag with their own seasoning. This is certainly the best part of the album.
The second part of this album showcases some of the best vocal lines, and the most spatial and experimental sides, already known from their previous releases. These guys gracefully start to show their touch for psychedelia with ‘I Wanna Know What You Feel’ and ‘Biophilia Intermezzo’.
The last song is notably influenced by all the members of Led Zeppelin on their respective roles in their bands. Even the vocal lines are somewhat fit to Plants voice, so suitable that you could hear him singing in your mind.
This band stepped up on their releases, being completely unpredictable and sounding even better each time. I wonder what they are going to release next, because I certainly want more of that right where it is coming from!
5 : Comacozer – Astra Planet
This album is a fuzzy spaceship trip doing lots of barrel rolls, plenty of muffy riffs on low gain and heaps of echoing notes stereobouncing all the time.
The bass guitar tone is very unique in this album, but the bass lines could have reached a deeper, more stoner-like improvisation levels, mainly because the mood asks for that. The parts that could be considered more psychedelic oriented shows an atmosphere loaded with space sounds, through grey coloured gradients synced by the trippy doom guitar licks.
This album is an intergalaxical trip that will have you seeing lots of solar systems during the course, and if you like instrumental, post-rock and improvised solos, you need to give this album a spin. Roll a fat one and hop on board the mothership!
4 : Graves at Sea – The Curse That Is
Many people complain about this album being so long. 76 minutes long to be accurate. But what they don’t know is that this band had ended up their activities and decided to get back together in order to have their songs recorded and released. Got a couple of manifestations and recorded they full-length. Probably they just had enough material for two albums and ended up being forced to release it as a single album, this is my fair bet. I hope they decide to keep the band active.
This album is heavy, very muddy, sharpy, and vibrates the edge of your sanity. The vocals are very harsh, but they are the key to the mood that this album probably wants to deliver. Even if we have some songs that makes you want to jump up your chair and angle your back in a boneless headbang, some other parts of the album sounds depressive and doomed, as we can listen on the end of the song ‘ Dead Eyes’. Even though it seems like they are more metal than stoner, you can clearly hear the slow pattern vibrancy of the fuzz on those heavy strings on the song ‘Tempest’.
‘The Ashes Make her Beautiful’ is a 15-minute journey, but it seems to be 1 hour long if you allow yourself to drift down their river. We can also see some of those feelings on ‘This Mental Sentence’ when some uncanny melodies come up, with the eerie bass guitar tone effect surrounding you. I also ask you to hang on and take the ticket to the last trip, that is ‘Minimum Slave’, the last song of the album. This is something very unique, my friends. What an album!
3 : Grajo – Selftitled
There is no intro, there is no bring up to speed. The second you hit play, an avalanche of screams surround you and then the heaviest riff you’ve listened to in your entire life hit the walls around you and creates a capsule of low humming that vibrates along with your mind.
Then you think: “Damn, this shit is heavy as fuck, that’s a heavy tuning”. The vocals come in with a very original way of shaping the tones of the ending of the sentences. Then the second riff comes and proves you wrong, as it goes back two semi notes, delivering to your ears the heaviest of the notes that not even the old school death metal bands would dare to tune.
Their formula of heavy gauge strings and a fuzzy distortion on medium gain is impressive. The music sounds very doomish and dark, but the psychedelia contained in Liz’s voice enforces the whole mood of the album to a very eerie experience that compels you to shake your head slowly. ‘Golden Cemetery (Betrayal)’ comes in exactly with this formula, dooming you to spend the eternity orbiting around Earth as if you were a simple sample of cosmic debris.
If you like heavy doom metal with psychedelic feeling. Cold temperature, but fat and purple all the way, this album is for you.
2 : Asteroid – III
This wonderful stoner rock band showed once again this year that the the 70’s blood still sits in our DNA. The music is fast and spatial, exactly as the name suggests. The album starts with a sinister slide work on the guitar, filling your years with nostalgic and psychedelic feelings. The subsequent tracks are more groovy on their 70’s tone, but the psychedelic feed never stops and rules it all the way to the end of the album, bumping in a couple of moments on a frenzy of guitar jumps and drum crashes.
A particular note is that every track seems to have been recorded and mixed differently, on different days and maybe even on different pedals. Some of the songs are so good that would perfectly fit a 70’s movie, high grained and oversaturated on red.
1 : Frank Sabbath – Telluric Wanderers
The first time I saw the name Frank Sabbath on a list of related videos to the one I was listening to, the name caught my attention, because I instantly thought “hey, it must be a mix between Frank Zappa and Black Sabbath, I definitely want to check it out!”. So I bookmarked it to check later. One evening I was about to have my house chores started, so I rolled a biggie and decided to put Telluric Wanderers to spin and went for the dishes on the sink. The album started with a hot groove with lots of punchy bass picks and dozens of different dissonant chords. However, something was off with that tone. After two minutes of witty improvisations, the song fell into the bottom of a hole, and slowed down so much that I started to slo-mo along with it. As soon as the drums start your mind is instantly psychic transported to the entrance of the gates of hell, and there are thousands of voices singing, screaming their pain, while you are slowly moving in.
That was a really crazy experience, and that is how the band instantly hooked me up with their sound. The music had made a complete U-turn and left me wondering what was going to come next. In this particular genre, I have never seen something so dark and slow being presented with this kind of atmosphere and tone (maybe the song ‘Cirith Ungol’ by Reverend Bizarre played some part in influencing this first song, but this music definitely has its own DNA). With more than 18 minutes, Ascension Subterranean holds many surprises all along its course. The vocals are very doomy and melodic, slow paced and smooth. Sometimes his tuning is not so accurate, but even that being usually considered a negative aspect; it fits the ambience and atmosphere of the songs really well, sometimes also being backed up by a guttural voice that turns the mood even darker.
Terra Incognita delivers a great dark melody with great guitar lines, but soon gives space for another big song, very instrumental oriented, divided in three parts: Inner Doom, Outer Doom, and Ducks on Drugs. Haha! Telling ya! The improvised lines are so beautiful and sp(ae)cial as the rings of Saturn. I strongly advise you to listen to this album; this band deserves all the attention they can get. However, I also recommend cleaning your head and let free your tree of imagination before listening to this gem.
Honourable Mentions by Atmosphere Levels
By Fat Level
- Elephant Tree – Selftitled
- Clouds Taste Satanic – Dawn Of The Satanic Age
- Fox 34 – Ashes of Man
- Domkraft – The End Of Electricity
- Black Bone Exorcism – Crack the Bone, Break the Heart
- Picaporters – El Horror Oculto
- Nightstalker – As Above So Below
- Witchcraft – Nucleus
- Filthy Lucre – Mara
- Pesta – Bring Out Your Dead
By Purple Haze Level
- Mephistofeles – Whore
- Child – Blueside
- Salem’s Pot – Pronounce This!
- Monolith – Mountain
- Frankie and the Witch Fingers – Heavy Roller
- Blues Funeral – The Search
- Purson – Desire’s Magic Theatre
- Buffalo Fuzz – Buffalo Fuzz
- Electric Octopus – This Is Our Culture
- Lee Van Cleef – Holy Smoke
- Fall of an Empire – Croweater- An Echo In The Bone
By Temperature Level
- Blackdust – Self Titled
- Boudain – Way of the Hoof
- Bus – The Unknown Secretary
- Gorilla Pulp – Peyote Queen
- Greenleaf – Rise Above The Meadow
- Banquet – Jupiter Rose
- Red Wizard – Cosmosis
- Gypsy Sun Revival – Gypsy Sun Revival
- 1000mods – ‘Repeated Pressure To’
- Void Droid – Terrestrial