Disappointed to find that I couldn’t give you a full list of 20 releases from 2016. A great year with a lot of big releases from stoner rock titans like Red Fang, Clutch and Brant Bjork. But since I figured these would already get more than enough attention in other lists, I decided to keep it to a more personal list. A lot of different types of Fuzz this year; doom, stoner, progressive, metal, grunge, psych, sludge, so you’re bound to find something you like.
15: Plog – Charon
The band from Sweden wanted something heavy, slow and raw, and that’s what they’ve delivered with Charon. Lengthy instrumental songs that take you on a journey through time. The album is split into 3 songs, but that’s not important, soon you’ll lose track and Charon will sound like a single 40-minute piece of progressive stoner metal. No way of getting off early, you have to ride it out till the end and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.
14: BUS – The Unknown Secretary
13: Haunted – Haunted
The classic type of Doom, low and slow, about Satan and witchcraft, but with catchy female vocals. Less harsh and aggressive than other doom bands which makes it all the more enjoyable, but with that typical dark and heavy ambience of DOOM. An album that can be enjoyed by a wider audience than just the dedicated core of doomheads, which is probably the reason why it deserved a spot in my the top 15.
12: God Damn – Everything Ever
After I did a review of their debut album Vultures that came out in 2015, I was excited to hear what the band would come up with this year. Another raging album by this duo with grunge influenced stoner rock. The record has such a load of energy to it, I can only guess what kind of completely mental live show these two put up. To be honest, I don’t think Everything Ever can top their debut, but still, a decent release if you just want to scream your lungs out and get FUZZY. God damn…
11: Highly Suspect – The Boy Who Died Wolf
The most recent release in this year’s top. After their debut, Highly Suspect releases another album with great poppy stoner rock. Their sound has a bit of punk and a bit of grunge to it, which doesn’t make it your average stoner rock release. You won’t find any long-haired, bearded stoners on stage either, but their riffs and fuzz are definitely ‘More Fuzz-approved’. Some songs are a little bit too poppy, but there are definitely a couple good ones in there. Very strong vocals by the guitarist and vocalist Johnny Stevens. They’ve also proved to me to be able to put up a show bursting with energy and go completely mental on stage. Better enjoyed live than captured into a record to be fair. Give their debut a listen for even more stoner rock vibes and a slightly less commercial sound.
10: Motorpsycho – Here Be Monsters
With a band name like Motorpsycho you’d expect fast-paced stoner rock like The Atomic Bitchwax, but don’t get your hopes up yet, because this album is something entirely different. Here Be Monsters got a great, mellow psychedelic rock vibe to it that will definitely gather some fans from the More Fuzz community. Think about Pink Floyd, think about Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree and you’ll have a relatively accurate idea of what this band sounds like. A great release of progressive psychedelic rock music in 2016.
9: MaidaVale – Tales of the Wicked West
Great vintage rock from this all female band from Sweden, with riffs, licks and solo’s that remind us of the 60’s. But MaidaVale didn’t just want to create a great rock album with Tales of the Wicked West, they wanted it to carry a message. Lyrics contain critical subjects about peace, war, racism and equality. It reminds us that music isn’t just a simple form of media, it has the ability to make a change and power revolutions, and I think we could have used a bit more of that this year. Now if you agree with them or not, you can’t deny the band’s sound that reminds us of Radio Moscow or even the great Hendrix. While normally not a big fan of female vocals, these women can rock and got themselves a place in this year’s top 10.
8: Cambrian Explosion – The Moon EP
I did a review for this one earlier this year, and I think it deserves a place well within the top 10 of this year’s best releases. The Moon is a rocking psychedelic experience with unique but catchy melodies and riffs. A roaring organ adds to the 60’s vibe and mixed with some oriental influences, this album stands on its own and has its own vibe and feel. An album I played at least 3 times in a row when first discovered because it’s just, really, really good.
7: Youngblood Supercult – High Plains
With a new singer, Youngblood Supercult took a new approach with High Plains. Usually, changing a band’s frontman is fatal and has fans lose interest, but in this case, it was very well received and got the band some well-deserved attention. High Plains has an awesome vintage groove that together with the singer’s clean and mellow voice makes a unique stoner rock release. A gem that has been circling around in my playlists from the release.
6: Monomyth – Exo
I heard this album for the first time live, at the try-out show in the Hague, a month before it came out. With a room filled with smoke and intense light shows Monomyth presented Exo in the best way possible. The record tells tales and shapes landscapes before your eyes, in lengthy krautrock songs that take your mind elsewhere, definitely an album enjoyed best with your eyes closed.
5: Causa Sui – Return to Sky
Causa Sui, probably the most iconic stoner rock band in this year’s top, and for a reason. Return to Sky is deep and mesmerizing, edged towards a more classic, heavy, desert rock groove, but at the same time true to that mellow and relaxing vibe Causa Sui is known for. It was a release I looked out for this year without knowing. Winner of best instrumental stoner rock album of this year’s top and a great combination with Exo.
4: Filthy Lucre – Mara
An early release this year, but definitely one that has stuck around. Heavy fuzz and a very bluesy groove is what this duo used in their hour-long debut album. It’s catchy as fuck and just no bullshit stoner rock, in its purest form. A heavier version of the Black Keys, a bluesy-er version of Royal Blood, and definitely just as great.
3: DeWolff – Roux-ga-Roux
The best my country has produced this year, and probably of all-time too. The band from the most Southern region of the Netherlands found their sound this year in psychedelic southern rock from the 70’s. DeWolff, celebrating their 10-year anniversary in 2017, developed themselves to be one of the most musical, talented bands of recent days, on stage and in the studio. ROUX-GA-ROUX is the crown on their career. Go and catch ‘em live if you can.
2: Elephant Tree – Elephant Tree
I ignored this band for a while. I don’t really know why, and how it happened, but I do know I greatly regret it now. Although released early this year, this album has been the soundtrack of my autumn. The second full-length album by this British band is definitely the album with the catchiest riffs and vocals of this year. Elephant Tree is versatile, with classic stoner rock songs, heavy doom parts and a serene acoustic track, yet everything just fits together and is a great addition to the track list. Elephant Tree is writing stoner rock history.
1: Boss Keloid – Herb Your Enthusiasm
This album is just, madness. Nothing like anything you’ve ever heard before. Boss Keloid has created an incredibly intense sludge metal experience with a sound that’s completely their own. Bizarre riffs and melodies drenched in octaver and fuzz pound through your mind and just completely fuck with it. Add completely mental vocals and lyrics to the mix and you have, Herb Your Enthusiasm, an hour of psyched out sludge metal, you know, to get you in the Christmas mood.