Tuesday, 25 December 2012

2012 Chronicle (Year in review) part 7 - Best of July

July 2 - Beaumont Livingston (Heavens & Fantasies)

July 3 - WITCHSORROW (God Curse Us) - Crushing, devastatingly slow doom from the UK.  There's plenty to love about this album, from memorable hooks to horror film atmospherics and downtuned riffs that lift the listener up only to crash them back down with tremendous impact.  Get it here.  Highlights include "Breaking The Lore" and "God Curse Us".  Rating 4/5

July 10 - ICE DRAGON (Dream Dragon) - Ice Dragon's second full-length album of 2012 (but not their last) was their first overtly psychedelic album.  Listening to this for the first time was like a psychedelic experience in itself.  I was struck speechless, awestruck, flabbergasted.  The most impressive thing about this album was its authentic 60s feel, with some 70s moments like "Beard of Thieves", "Maximum Trip" and "More Than I Can Say For You" to name a few.  But songs like "Dreamliner" and "Dream Dragon" were right out of the 60s.  A perfect combination of my favorite genres and eras of music.  Pay what you want on Bandcamp. Highlights include "Dreamliner" and "Maximum Trip".  Rating 5/5

July 10 - Kadavar (ST)

July 17 - TOMBSTONES (Year of the Burial) - I don't know why I did, but I took a flyer on this one and bought it without hearing it first.  It was a gamble that payed off.  Perfect fuzzy stoner doom riffs as heavy as the band's namesake dropping on your head.  Get your copy here, if you like colossal doom riffs you won't be sorry.  Highlights include "Sabbathian" and "Unveiling".  Rating 4.5/5

July 20 - SOUNDCRAWLER (The Sandcrawler) - This French stoner grunge band was a complete surprise to me.  I didn't like them at first.  Then I gave them another chance and they blew my mind.  This is one of the best EPs of the year and it's a mystery why they have so few 'likes' on Facebook.  I bet we can do something about that, hm?  Just listen to this masterpiece on the link below, if you like stoner rock through a grungy lens you will not be disappointed.  I had an "oh wow" moment with this one too when I listened to "My Mind Is Going Away" on my headphones at work while watching a lightning storm.  Perfect stuff.  Name your price on Bandcamp.  Highlights include "The Sandcrawler" and "My Mind Is Going Away".  Rating 4.5/5

July 24 - ABRAHMA (Through the Dusty Paths Of Our Lives) - Yet another terrific entry from France and yet another excellent album from Small Stone records.  I talked about this one briefly before.  The Vodun suite in the middle of this album is a mini rock opera of dark and epic proportions.  Abrahma were once called Alcohsonic and their sound is now more cosmic psychedelic but they still have terrific stoner chops.  Get it here.  Highlights include "Vodun pt. II - I, Zombie" and "Neptune of Sorrow".  Rating 4.5/5

July 24 - SPINE CHILLING BREEZE (Milky Way) - Another terrific Greek stoner rock band.  This album may have an inconsistent feel in places but it's loaded with individual songs that stick like peanut butter on the brain.  Fuzzy, melodic and catchy as hell.  Download it for free from the band's official page.  Highlights include "Murder" and "Something From Nothing".  Rating 4/5

July 26 - Hogg (.)

July 27 - SWEET LOVE (Motor) - This New England based band plays more straight up rock than stoner but has perhaps the thickest fuzziest guitar sound you will ever hear.  The vocals are akin to Velvet Underground era Lou Reed and it took me a hot minute to get used to them, but regardless, the tone here is absolutely addictive in the same way that the box is in Hellraiser.  Get yours here.  Highlights include "Black Hole" and "The Circle".  Rating 4/5

July 31 - CONAN (Monnos) - This was easily, without a doubt, my most highly anticipated album of 2012 and to top it off I had to wait til September to hear it because I was saving it for when the store got it in.  I wish I'd gotten it sooner but it was worth the wait.  Conan is the heaviest thing on six legs.  They crush with monster riffs, and they've got hooks too.  Get their debut full-length here.  Highlights include "Hawk As Weapon" and "Grim Tormentor".  Rating 4/5

July 31 - HOUR OF 13 (333) - Coming in at a close second for anticipation was Hour of 13's third album.  Well it wasn't what I was expecting, but it was what I was hoping for.  A darker vision from a demon haunted band.  The riffs are there, the hooks are there, the familiarity is there, but it is a different sounding record.  At first I wasn't sure, but as time wore on this album's play count confirmed it, this is the best Hour of 13 album yet.  And with the recent release of their new video this one stays current half a year later.  Well done.  Get it here.  Highlights include "Deny The Cross" and "Rite of Samhain".  Rating 4.5/5

July 31 - THE MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN (Buffalo) - Another one I bought on trust and the band came through.  The Kansas three-piece's second full length satisfies in ways I can't even describe.  Songs like "Henry", "Foxhole" and "Southern Belle" are just ... perfect.  I don't even have the words to describe.  Perfect stoner rock.  Get it here.  Highlights include "Southern Belle" and "Henry".  Rating 4/5

Best Album From July 2012:
'333' by HOUR OF 13

Best Song From July 2012:
"Breaking the Lore" by WITCHSORROW

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