Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Skip's Top 20 for 2014

Top 20 for 2014


1. Bask - American Hollow
Every now and then a record comes along that you immediately love, you can't really explain it, but you know it when you hear it. It grabs you by the throat and makes you sit forward and really take notice. That was Bask's "American Hollow" for me, a minute into the first track and I could already tell that the album was going to be in pretty heavy rotation for a while, and it has been. With it's roots in some genres you don't always see listed together, they pull sounds from Doom Metal, Stoner Metal, Post-Rock, even a little Psychedelic and Americana just to round everything out nicely.


2. Grüzer - Path of the Buzzards EP
Another of the groups I mentioned in my Rising Sons article was Grüzer, with their own brand of triple guitar attack Sludge Metal. Their EP "Path of Buzzards" was highly anticipated the moment I found out it was getting recorded, now after a couple weeks of getting a copy, and I don't know how many listens (suffice it to say, quite a few) it hasn't disappointed in the least and already earned a solid spot on my end of the year list.


3. Hooded Menace - Labyrinth of Carrion Breeze EP
The Labyrinth of Carrion Breeze EP is two tracks and just over 17 minutes of some of the heaviest, gnarliest, and most grotesque Doom Metal I’ve heard to date, with both tracks drawing on classic Vincent Price horror film "Cry of the Banshee". ~ Summoning Spirits


4. Greenleaf - Trails and Passes
The second track on the album, "Ocean Deep" opens up with a bashing drum solo that rides for a few seconds until the rest of the group drops in, creating a huge, spacious sound with the guitar tones in an attempt to contain the crushing groove of the track.


5. Fall of an Empire - Songs of Steel and Sorrow
These guys haven't left my playlist since I put them on it at the beginning of the year. Their first album "Songs of Steel and Sorrow" is a great work of Stoner Rock, incorporating traits of '70s Heavy Rock and Southern Rock into the group's whole vibe.


6. Doctor Smoke - The Witching Hour
Another album that I'm thinking everyone had fairly high expectations for, is the latest release from Ohio's fearsome foursome Doctor Smoke, called "The Witching Hour". And even with it being almost the end of the year, the doctor has put down a hellacious slab of doomy, Heavy Rock that stands out from the crowd of similar albums that came out this year, and there were many.


7. Act of Impalement - Echoes of Wrath EP
The track "Echoes of War" opens up their latest EP and you couldn't ask for a better example of their sound, mixing the Black Metal styled vocals with bone crushing mid-tempo riffs, it breeds a feeling of complete disgust and hatred, and it's absolutely stunning.


8. Half Gramme of Soma - Marche au Noir
After their self-titled release from last year, they shouldn't need much of an introduction as that should have done all the talking for them, but the five piece Half Gramme of Soma are a heart liquifying Stoner Rock strike to the chest for those of you who aren't familiar.


9. Tumbleweed Dealer - The Western Horror
What they've put down is a spooky instrumental Stoner Rock journey through the old west, where the cloudy mist hugging the ground at night is pot smoke. 


10. Slow Season - Mountains
Playing off the retro sound is the cool thing to do nowadays, but doing it and doing it well are two different animals. Lucky for us, Slow Season sound like they have the chops to of headlined their own world tour back in '73.


11. Druglord - Enter Venus
The formula is easy; take three very experienced musicians and let them play heavy, disgusting, strung out Sludge. In this instance, the execution is flawless. Recorded and mixed in the fall of last year by Garrett Morris from the group Windhand, Enter Venus is as good a sophomoric effort as you’ll ever see. ~ Summoning Spirits


12. Black Hand Throne - IV
If you're looking for that sense of despair and pure annihilation in a Stoner Doom album, look no further than "IV", or pretty much any Black Hand Throne album for that matter. Their sound is that of men with doctorates in the ways of Stoner Doom Metal, taking what the pioneers did, building on it, and making it their own.


13. Stonebride - Heavy Envelope
Their style of Heavy Rock with Blues, Alternative, Doom, and even a little Psychedelic influence has always the right buttons for me, and this go 'round is absolutely no different.


14. Wo Fat - The Conjuring
The formula hasn't changed a great deal from their last effort, or even their earlier releases, you're still repeatedly smacked around by the torrential Stoner Rock assault that you've come to expect from this band. Sure, it's only a five track album, but with none coming in under a six minute duration you'll be hard pressed to find five heavier tracks this year.


15. Thieving Coyote - Thieving Coyote EP
Thieving Coyote play a liquored down style of Southern Hard Rock and Stoner Metal. If you drowned Orange Goblin in Jack Daniels and propped the corpse up at one of those country bonfire parties, where they blast Lynyrd Skynyrd out of a truck's stereo system all night, the next morning you'd have Thieving Coyote pulling themselves off the ground in a hazy stupor.


16. Seritas - Seritas
This hard hitting, dynamic duo from Michigan play what they have coined "Garage Doom", they lay down fuzzed out early doom riffs that almost take on a Stoner Rock vibe a couple of times in terms of just pure fuzz and groove.


17. Jupiter Zeus - On Earth 
Some of the songs have a very spacey feeling to them, not only in lyrical content, but in atmosphere. Occasionally giving the listener the impression that they could be floating in the great nothingness while the song plays on.


18. Le Mur - In Tenebris
After the creepy organ intro that sounds like it could be lifted from a horror movie, the album really gets moving with the second track "Cage", at eleven and a half minutes it's the longest track, but probably also one of the most straight forward in terms of structure and timing.


19. Steak - Slab City
The title track of the album pretty much sums everything up for you, an excellent representation of their sound, and one of, if not, my favorite of the entire album.


20. Hawkmoth - Calamitas
It opens up with the track "Exsanguinating in the Overflowing Bath", a slow, blissful soundscape that suddenly turns into a ferocious storm of twelve ton riffs and a thundering drum line. This is one of the songs that really gives off a Kylesa vibe for me, and Hawkmoth completely kill it with this one.

These were the top twenty albums that I reviewed over the year, and isn't very different from my regular top twenty list. I'd like to thank everyone who follows the blog, and took the time to read any of the reviews or other posts that have gone up the past year, and I look forward to doing it all again next year.

~Skip