Friday, 21 December 2012

2012 Chronicle (Year in review) part 3 - Best of March

March 1 - YAMA (Seaquake EP) - This dutch stoner band crafted one of the best songs of the year in "Seaquake", a song which revealed a whole range of influences from Led Zeppelin to Ennio Morricone, with a great western feel.  Excellent use of harmonica on this one.  The other two songs on this 3-track EP are no slouches either.  Even the cover art makes a great first impression.  It's not going out on a limb to predict big things in the future for this band.  Get in on the ground floor and download their debut EP for free here or take home the CD version for a mere five euros.  Highlights include "Seaquake" and "Hollow".  Rating 4.5/5

March 5 - Grave Disgrace (ST)

March 9 - BALAM (ST) - Rhode Island based newcomers Balam (Bay-lum) went big with their three song demo.  Each song averages about 10 minutes without seeming long for the most part.  Opening track "Soul Scour" is one of the major highlights of the year, great riff, good lyrics, and a great western feel yet again.  Actually "The Followed" is the shortest track at 8 and a half minutes but seems the longest because of a build up that spans half the length of the song, once the build up is over and the song gets going, it's well worth the wait.  Heavy ass groove doom.  Get it here.  Highlights include "Soul Scour" and "The Followed".  Rating 4.5/5

March 10 - Black Pyramid / Odyssey split 7" single

March 12 - STONED JESUS (Seven Thunders Roar) - Ukrainian psychedelic doomsters Stoned Jesus' second album met the high expectations the band had laid for themselves on the heels of their terrific debut 'First Communion'.  There's such a consistent feel to the record and they do not waver from their vision.  Get it here.  Highlights include "Electric Mistress" and "Bright Like the Morning".  Rating 4.5/5

March 13 - Bonze's Fuel (ST EP)

March 17 - DWELLERS (Good Morning Harakiri) - When the songwriter / guitarist / vocalist of Iota and the rhythm section of doom band Subrosa got together they released this heavy slab of psychedelic stoner blues on Small Stone Records.  I got to the party quite late so it reminded me slightly of Sir Admiral Cloudesley Shovell with it's mix of big riffs and adventurous song structures.  Really good album.  Check it out here. Highlights include "Blackbird" and "Secret Revival".  Rating 4.5/5

March 20 - Demon Lung (Pareidolia)

March 20 - ICE DRAGON (Tome of the Future Ancients) - I recently reviewed this one and I had a lot to say about it.  I was particularly proud of that review, you can read it here.  Basically, Ice Dragon's first release (of many) in 2012 saw them in their heaviest incarnation yet.  Just dripping black bloody slow doom with heavy psychedelic atmosphere.  Pay what you want for download here!  Highlights include "The Black Book of Hours" and "NATIAIWS".  Rating 4.5/5

March 20 - Rituals (ST)

March 21 - WINDHAND (ST) - Richmond, Virginia based doom quintet Windhand's five song debut was one of the best releases of the year.  It has made many year end lists and has netted them a deal with Burning World records.  Their Electric Wizard meets Uncle Acid style of doom is supremely addictive.  Find it here and be blown away by one of the best albums of the year.  Highlights include "Black Candles" and "Winter Sun".  Rating 5/5

March 24 - THE MACHINE (Calmer Than You Are) - This German three piece put together a great collection of fuzzy funkin' grooves.  Drummer Davy Boogaard deserves special attention here as he really makes this thing come together, absolutely drenching the album in hi-hat and cymbals, giving the band its very distinctive, punchy sound.  Grab the album at the band's official website.  Highlights include "5&4" and "Sphere (... or Kneiter)".  Rating 4/5

March 24 - Fogg (Skull)

March 25 - SET (Sacred Moon Cult) - This is one of my absolute favorite releases of the year.  I just have the biggest sweet spot for this demo.  The confident, if not amazingly skilled, vocals have a ton of charm to them and makes me love this band.  "Sacred Moon Cult" is again, among the absolute, desert island best songs of the year.  It feels like I'm saying that a lot, but I mean it every time and especially with this track.  Like Yama and Balam from earlier in the month, there's an Ennio Morricone influence and some great western sounding riffs to go along with the excellent doom spun on this record.  Find it here.  Highlights include "Sacred Moon Cult" and "The Eagle".  Rating 5/5

March 27 - DALA SUN (Gegenschein) - This Greek four-piece stoner band take their music and their DIY ethic quite seriously, refusing to play in clubs with a cover charge or selling their albums on big retailer sites, etc.  That laser beam like focus of vision really shows through in the music as well.  Very catchy.  Download it for free here!  Highlights include "Gegenschein" and "Sludge Machine".  Rating 4/5

March 27 - OVERKILL (The Electric Age) - Great stuff from the legends of Thrash metal, this is their 16th album!  Without mincing words this was my favorite thrash album of the year and there were several right up there.  Get the album here, maybe get yourself an Overkill mug while you're at it.  Highlights include "Old Wounds, New Scars" and "Electric Rattlesnake".  Rating 4.5/5

March 27 - Pale Divine (Painted Windows Black)

March 27 - Vulture (Oblivious to Ruin)

March 31 - Electric Wizard (Legalise Drugs & Murder 7" single)

March 31 - SONIC TITAN (Even Higher) - This young band from Boston dropped probably the finest straight up rock and roll record of the year and no one knew about it.  The pyrotechnics of guitar prodigy Shaun Anzalone should be enough to bring in the fans in droves, let alone the understated bass counterpoint provided by Steve McCaul or the heavy hitter behind the kit, Tom Synes.  Every song is great and there's no getting enough of these tracks.  "Weird Forest" and "Esoteric Warning", "Argonaught", it's so hard to pick a standout track, they're all great.  Pay what you want on Bandcamp right now!.  Highlights include "Midworld" and "W.E.R.O.C.K.".  Rating 5/5

Best Album from March 2012:
'Even Higher' by SONIC TITAN

Best Song from March 2012:
"Sacred Moon Cult" by SET

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