I’m Mr. Witchfinder and these are the records that stole my heart in 2018 !
Welcome traveler. Perhaps you came here for some inspiration. Perhaps to dig them golden tunes of 2018 once again. Whatever the reason please sit back, make yourself comfy and hold fast because we are just about to depart. However, before we do so I have to shed some light onto what you’re about to see and read. This year was a crazy one for me in terms of what different sorts of music I dug out from the sonic masses endlessly circulating around us all. It was almost impossible to keep up with the varying novelties popping up every day, therefore approach this excerpt with utmost caution.
The albums described below put their roots deep down in my soul and seem to like it there. But you’re probably made of some different stuff. Fear not for the diversity I crafted here allows everyone to find their sweet spot. Primal doom, sticky psychedelia or some fuzzed-out riffages from outer space. Whatever you fancy. Now, shall we?
Let the journey through my favorite albums of 2018 begin!
Top 15 Albums of 2018
15 : The Heavy Crown – Reign On
Reign On is a sweet album by a powertrio hailing from Bruges, Belgium. A tragic loss of a friend inspired the guys from The Heavy Crown to come up with a nostalgic record that cruises through the seas of cosmos and melancholia. Drawing from the hazy musical era of the 70’s, with Reign On the band took a more progressive turn boldly experimenting with synths, ever-more catchy lyrics and some funky grooves.
Being a fan of vintage-sounding bands where a personal and contemporary identity is being gradually established I couldn’t help myself but pick Reign On as my lists’s opener. First time listening to this record on a rainy and foggy afternoon really helped me to gather my thoughts and find a moment of respite. Be sure to spin it next time you’re in for some sentimental space travel!
14 : Ouzo Bazooka – Songs From 1001 Nights
This one came to us straight from the mysterious grounds of Izrael, preaching fuzzy prophecies mixed with some eastern spices. Technically Songs From 1001 Nights isn’t a full record but our guru, Mr. Fuzz nevertheless gave it a green light :)) No wonder as this record slowly makes its way to our sanity stripping us of any sense of space or time.
Ouzo Bazooka charmed me at Red Smoke Festival in 2017 and I’ve been following up on them ever since. Their latest release leans towards the band’s oriental background while providing listeners with a wide plethora of sensations. If you also like falling victim to eerily remote vibrations be so kind and add this album to the queue.
13 : The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Something Else
Perhaps striking a slightly different note here I decided to go for Something Else, an impressive record done by The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Nostalgic, mellow, cheerful, fun. There are plenty of ways one could try to name what’s happening inside but in the end it all doesn’t matter because hardly any words can describe what I felt listening to the album.
Something Else always puts me in this state of melancholia that balances on the edge of joy and sorrow. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoy being torn between various states of mind with the help of some psyched-out melodies. The sheer fact that an album can evoke such feelings is incredible and I can only hope for more of such emotional releases in the future. A job well done!
12 : Wedge – Killing Tongue
The second LP by Wedge is a magnificent fuzz ‘n’ roll creation. Following up on their highly acclaimed debut, Killing Tongue is again a collection of killer riffs, catchy vocals and some weirdly spicy sounds. Right from the start the music brought by them Berliners feels so crunchy and fun that I always end up shaking my ass and headbanging to it. Yet, there are also some moments where the pace slows down and the instrumental play soothes the mind with its delicacy.
Killing Tongue is a trip full of rock and roll, fuzzy encounters and experimental uses of various instruments. It will certainly please your ears and satisfy your lust for fuzz.
11 : Ruff Majik – Seasons
YES! Now you really need to spin this m a s t e r w o r k . Delivered by South-African disciples of the void , Seasons is a conceptual LP composed of three gradually recorded EP’s closed off with the remaining and previously unseen three tracks. Every quarter of the album represents one season of 2017 accordingly where lyrics and differences in sound express what the mates from Ruff Majik went through together over that year.
I just can’t get enough of it. Seasons is a story full of twists and turns, moments of tranquility as well as lethal sonic blows. Imagine it being a pot where amidst sludgy riffages flows the spirit of rock and roll spiced up with magical herbs and a touch of the hand of doom. Fell in love with this record, truly mesmerizing!
10 : Sunnata – Outlands
Polish enchanters from Sunnata probably collaborated with some evil forces when putting Outlands together. With this record the band took a large leap forward in their musical journey. A bold step, requiring plenty of effort and passion but realized with utmost care and precision.
The spiritual ambience that prevails throughout the whole length of the album is an incredible asset and is steadily becoming a key aspect of what Sunnata is all about. I personally fell in love with the constant play between hypnotizing bass lines, chanting vocals and a primal, yet multi-dimensional sense of heaviness. Outlands is undoubtedly an essential for any doom worshipper who values all that’s heavy but peculiar in its own, morbid way.
9 : Dopethrone – Transcanadian Anger
Canadians from Dopethrone put out a record this year which bursts with anger and some wicked devilry. Having seen the band 3 times live this year I can easily say that it’s hard to come close to Dopethrone’s honest, yet brutally evil power. Picture this: sewage, heeeaavyyy riffs, lava, hate, weed, booze, haunting vocals. All that blended together and injected to a train-like monster crashing through the galaxy. This is what I have in mind when I spin this album or listen to it live.
Fantastic piece of work, this goes without saying. The very essence of what slutch is like clustered together and cut into 8 otherworldly tracks. Get your poison and go with the flow of Transcanadian Anger !
8 : Naxatras – III
Let’s now dive into the magical realm of the contemporary Greek gods of Naxatras and their third full-grown child. As many of us know the band and how crazy-good (and popular) they are I hesitated to put it up here. My doubts were dissolved when I gave it yet another listen. III is just brilliant! The album forms a coherent entity that right at the start takes your hand and leads you high above. Hearing some tracks live back at Desertfest Antwerp just made me fall deeper in love with this record…
III made it all the way up here thanks to its intimate character, emotional coherence and a general quality that is hard to surpass. All that recorded in one day using purely analog equipment. How cool is that!
7 : Wooden Shjips – V.
There can never be enough of some sweet psychedelia! I discovered Wooden Shjips and their distinctive sound earlier in 2018 and I immediately developed a sincere feeling toward their music. V. is definitely a pinnacle of the band’s career where the warm summer vibes endlessly flow and express some sincerely positive vibrations.
If spacey happiness was to be sonically portrayed, V. would probably be the best choice. Floaty tones, laid-back grooves and colorizing synths all make up for a blissful adventure. I adore it but hear for yourself and thank me later.
6 : Spaceslug – Eye Of The Tide
Poland does it again this time crossing the universe on the back of a massive slug. Their new, self-released album turned out to be more of a sinister production that places emphasis on the re-interpretation of what cosmic heaviness is. Interestingly enough, Spaceslug added here some black metal and prog-rock treats that perfectly fit into this stellar journey.
What drew my attention? The perpetual and lazy yet crushingly heavy manner in which all songs collide into one amorphous production. Not many bands succeed in turning albums into consistent adventures but Spaceslug seems to be an artisan in this craft. Listening to Eye Of The Tide feels like embarking on a quest somewhere deep in dark space. A quest for survival amidts ever-threatening cosmic emptiness.
5 : Viagra Boys – Street Worms
Okay, I must admit. With this record I slightly deviate from the fuzzy world of fat riffs and killer spliffs. Nevertheless, music is music and what makes it fantastic is the way in which it fucks with your brain. Street Worms is an excellent example of how a cynical approach to life can be draped in a veil of catchy tunes with some lax vocals. Again, this record is perhaps more of a post-punk endeavor but honestly, I was never fond of strictly labeling music.
Viagra Boys delivered an album that stole my heart in a weird way. On one hand I got bribed with easy-going melodies but on the other the nasty aura of masculine parody, dirt and irony really made me dig Street Worms whilst securing its place among my best discoveries of 2018. If you’re up for something different give them boys a listen for you will certainly be not disappointed!
4 : Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Wasteland
One of my favorite bands returned this year with another collection of 8 fantastic tracks, this time under the leading theme of the wasteland. As soon as I See Through You opened the album I knew that good old Uncle Acid is back in the hood with all their essential tools. Signature fuzz, 70’s aesthetics, some old movie samples and the compositional simplicity.
Make no mistake though, it’s not a one-off album. It took me a couple of attempts to get the best out of it by focusing on its different aspects every time.
Wasteland is relatively high on my list not due to sentiment but due to the general impression I got after spinning it several times and hearing it live. If atmospheric retro rock is what you crave for, look no further. This is one of the best of its kind. Now switch off the light, play Wasteland and close your eyes. It works best this way, trust me.
3 : Messa – Feast for Water
Italian quartet under the name of Messa did quite some turmoil in 2018. Although Feast for Water is the band’s second production, it is evident that over these 2 years their style matured enough to head its own individualistic path. Here one can find incredibly well-crafted riff sequences, peculiar keyboard intrusions and some of the most passionate female vocals I’ve ever heard. Emotion just runs down the speakers giving me goosebumps every single time! And what better way to kick-off an album than with an instrumental track full of unsettling sounds evoking the evil desolation hiding under the water?
I would truly recommend Feast for Water to those seeking refuge in the arms of darkness. It is heavy in all possible dimensions yet touching enough to make you cry. Damn, I need to play it one more time now.
2 : Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples
Oh my… I’m still in shock so please excuse me if these words don’t make much sense. Masana Temples became my friend the very moment I gave it a first spin. It showed me around its fairy world of Japanese traditions, psychedelic fantasies and dreams rock and roll. We danced and we talked. It’s hard describe but I found some genuine happiness in this work by Kikagaku Moyo.
If I was to tell what I loved most about this record I would probably say EVERYTHING. But we here in More Fuzz deliver some serious feedback so there it goes: Masana Temples blew fresh gusts of wind into the sails of contemporary psychedelia by the use of exotic instruments, playful grooves and soft native vocals. It’s a complete success of a record, out of the box yet captivating at the same moment. It was by far my most unexpected and crazy discovery of 2018.
1 : Sleep – The Sciences
Main engine start
The power to eradicate planets with the precision of Jack The Ripper. Slashing through nebulas in search of stellar strains and colossal riffs. Fuelled by sonic lust for herbal experience and led by the immortal Iommic wisdom. Welcome to the world of Sleep where Marijuanauts prowl the space and life means nothing but music and escapism.
I was blasting The Sciences through every possible medium for the last year from the very moment Sleep dropped their surprise LP on the 20th of April. It is indeed different from the previous, harsh Holy Mountain or life-threatening Dopesmoker. But somehow The Sciences sank deeper in my body lifting me higher than anything before. Never have I got such goosebumps as when listening to tracks like The Botanist or Sonic Titan. I felt these massive riffs flowing through my veins and I’m not even kidding.
Ah… It’s indescribable what joy this record brought me over the year. A first place fully deserved.
Thanks everyone for giving it a read! It was my utmost pleasure to begin my adventure with More Fuzz in such a profound way. 2018 was a total blast but I bet 2019 will beat that by far. I’m again planning to attend plenty of festivals like Roadburn, Desertfest Antwerp & Berlin, Red Smoke Festival, Prognosis and many others… My mission is to provide you folks with the best music hiding out there in the open space. What better way to do it than alongside wonderful people from More Fuzz?
In the meantime take care and keep on fuzzin’
I’ll see you soon!
Honourable Mentions by Atmosphere Levels
By Fat Level
Bongripper – Terminal
Windhand – Eternal Return
YOB – Our Raw Heart
Conan – Existential Void Guardian
Fu Manchu – Clone of The Universe
Melvins – Pinkus Abortion Technician
By Purple Haze Level
Church Of The Cosmic Skull – Science Fiction
Somali Yacht Club – The Sea
All Them Witches – ATW
Earthless – Black Heaven
Dead Meadow – The Nothing They Need
By Temperature Level
Orange Goblin – The Wolf Bites Back
Lucifer – II
High On Fire – Electric Messiah
Monster Magnet – Mindfucker
Graveyard – Peace
Top Concerts of 2018
Dopethrone @ Desertfest Antwerp 2018
Wyatt E. @ Desertfest Antwerp 2018
Sleep @ Tivoli/Ronda / Utrecht
Coogans Bluff @ Red Smoke Festival 2018
Dead Meadow @ Desertfest Antwerp 2018
Naxatras @ Desertfest Antwerp 2018
Messa @ Red Smoke Festival 2018 / Pleszew
Monster Magnet @ Desertfest Berlin 2018
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats @ Paradiso Noord / Amsterdam
All Them Witches @ Best Kept Secret / Tilburg
Dopelord @ Desertfest Berlin 2018