Saturday, 1 June 2013


Recently I polled some of the top bloggers, reviewers, radio hosts and label heads in the amorphous world of stoner doom sludge, etc. to see what the top albums of the day are.  We all play and review numerous albums that we all like.  But which albums do we really like?  What are we really listening to?  What do we keep going back to?

Compiling the chart presented some logistical challenges.  Some people ranked their lists, most didn't.  I decided to do a weighted list, where actual number of votes were the main criteria, but those albums that were ranked higher received points for tie breakers with a #1 album receiving 25 points, #2 = 20, #3 = 15, #4 = 10, #5 = 5 and #6 and onward receiving a single point.  But again, actual votes mattered more than points.  An album could have fewer points than one that was voted for fewer times but still come out ahead.  Those who submitted lists of five or fewer albums but didn't rank their lists had their votes counted for 5 points each, with anybody listing over 5 albums that didn't rank them receiving 1 point for each album.  I hope that's clear!

In the end, (oddly) exactly 200 albums received votes, with at least six albums that haven't actually been released yet receiving votes (including my own choice of Demon Lung).  Many familiar names and 'leading lights' of the online community submitted lists and I am ever grateful to them for doing so.  In addition to voting, a small handful have lent their 'voices' in the form of capsule reviews.  A list of those that voted can be read below the list itself.  I'm planning on making this a regular monthly feature, this is the first.  I hope you enjoy the results:

1). UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATSMind Control (Rise Above)
The Beatles meet Charlie Manson in a helter skelter ride down Mt. Abraxas to Jonestown.  ‘Mind Control’ is a stinging invective of religious devotion.  The album may not be as immediately catchy as ‘Blood Lust’ but is a sturdier overall effort and it’s obvious that Mr. Starrs and co. have the undivided attention of critics.  See the album review hereBuy it.

2). ORCHIDThe Mouths of Madness (Nuclear Blast)
Everybody’s favorite Black Sabbath worshipping quartet is back with their second full length album and label debut.  Do you think the stoner/doom community has taken notice?  It’s impossible to talk about this band without mentioning their chief musical influence and that’s what folks seem to like about them.  Buy it.

3). KADAVARAbra Kadavar (Nuclear Blast)
It’s interesting that the top three albums are by some of the most ‘retro’ sounding acts on the market today.  The bearded terrors only stepped onto the scene less than a year ago but they’ve already released this, their second full-length.  Being so new, it’s a testament to the power of their riffs that they’re one of the most popular bands out there.  See my review for SludgelordBuy it.

4). CLUTCHEarth Rocker (Weathermaker Music)
While it’s no surprise that Clutch would end up near the top of the charts, it says something about the devotion fans have for the band that they are this high up some two months after the release of this album.  Not only that, but ‘Earth Rocker’ was a close fourth with the most ‘points’ (meaning they had the most high votes).  Buy it.

5). DEVIL TO PAYFate Is Your Muse (Ripple Music)
What can one say about this album and not come up short?  Hard rock, metal and a shamanistic spirit collide on 13 memorable tracks of equal potency.  This album put the band’s label's motto in stark relief: ‘Now it’s time for your classic rock’.  See the album review hereBuy it.

6). BEASTWARS  – Blood Becomes Fire (Destroy Records)
Beastwars second album solidifies their place among the best current metal bands in any genre.  On ‘Blood Becomes Fire’ the New Zealand based quartet has streamlined their indefinable style that is nothing less than a whirlwind of claws, fangs and shaggy fur.  See the album review hereBuy it.

7). GHOST B.C.  – Infestissumam (Loma Vista Recordings)
This undoubtedly polarizing band returned via their sophomore album with a whole new sound in tow.  With a viral video of a live performance that saw the symbolic passing of the torch to a newly reborn Papa Emeritus II (vocals), the band is out to re-invent the wheel and don’t spare themselves the sting of the surgeon’s scalpel.  Buy it.

8). DEVILGather the Sinners (Soulseller)
After ‘Time To Repent’ the buzz surrounding this band couple be heard in Talos, New Mexico.  Who could have guessed they would returned all buffed up the way they have?  Devil’s second album is old school metal to the max.  Each note practically sprouts horns while delivering more than a few catchy hooks.  It’s an impressive album that trumps their first effort in numerous ways.  See my review for SludgelordBuy it.

9). BLACK PYRAMIDAdversarial (Hydro-Phonic)
Another band that’s sure to polarize listeners, readers and voters in the wake of a major personnel shift / shake-up, Black Pyramid’s first Daryl Sheppard era effort has still captured enough attention to garner a fairly high placing on these charts.  This is pure crushing, monumental Doom at its finest.  See the album review hereBuy it.

10). HIGH PRIEST OF SATURN  – Self-Titled (Svart)
There are those who would deride this Norwegian trio’s efforts as ‘another female-fronted occult band’, but vocalist Merethe is the band’s principal songwriter / main creative driving force and the sounds on their debut album are anything but ‘trendy’.  A masterwork of mood and riffs, High Priest of Saturn do what they do for all the right reasons and are here to stay.  See the album review hereBuy it.

11). VOID OF SLEEPTales Between Reality & Madness (Aural Music)
Boldly progressive, enticingly melodic and heavier than a ton of shitbricks, this Italian quartet’s full-length debut is a roller coaster ride worthy of its own album title.  Having been released in February, it finds its place among the newer releases because the rewards it offers the listener are nearly endless.  See the album review hereBuy it.

12). KRÖWNN  – Hyborian Age (Self-released)
These guys almost deserve their own chart for indie album of the month.  I don’t know what I should be more surprised about, that there’s only one self-released album in the top 12 here or that there is one at all.  Either way this Italian trio’s fantasy tinged debut has charmed the pants off many with its enthusiastic performances, clean production and heavy atmosphere.  See the album review hereBuy it.

13). QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE  – … Like Clockwork (Matador)
There’s a slight difference between ‘never dare repeating oneself’ and ‘putting everything one’s ever done in a bedroom, smothering it all in kerosene and burning that bitch down’.  Well, Josh Homme and Queens of the Stone Age have been doing that from their nascent stages onward and aren’t about to quit now.  This puppy’s not out until June 4, but folks have been diggin’ what they’re hearing enough so far to give it a vote.  Stream it and pre-order here.

14). COUGH / WINDHAND  – Reflection of the Negative (Relapse)
There’s been a number of big name splits already this year, with plenty more still to come, but none so far have been bigger, heavier or more eviscerating than this one.  This skull crushingly heavy three song nearly 40 minute split is punctuated by Cough’s 18 and a half minute trudge of hostility before Windhand enters the fray with their uniquely melodic and haunting doom.  Review to come.  Buy it.

15). DEMON EYESelt-Titled E.P. (Self-Released)
What makes this self-released debut demo EP from a former cover band so appealing?  A hot sound straight from the smouldering deeply purpelian brazier of seventies goodness drenched in doom like Ben Affleck getting paint dumped on him in Dazed & Confused (1993).  Only … you know, the paint is Doom.  You get the picture, it’s good stuff.  Review to come.  Download it.

16). EGYPTBecome The Sun (originally Self-Release, vinyl by Doomentia)
North Dakota’s hard rockin’ proto-metal doomsters Egypt waited a decade to release their first full-length album.  The wait was worth it.  For an album that came out in the newborn days of the year to still be ensconced in the hearts and minds of listeners says a lot about its staying power, its infectiousness and its satisfyingly old school metal heaviness that never gets old.  See the album review hereBuy it.

17). THE GATES OF SLUMBERStormcrow E.P. (Scion A/V)
No self-respecting Doom Chart would be complete without this Indianapolis trio’s latest five-star, five-song EP.  It’s just a complete listen all the way through.  The Gates of Slumber have long been purveyors of traditional doom of the highest caliber steel, this release is just one more well-earned notch on the band’s collective axe blade.  See the album review hereDownload it.

18). CATHEDRALThe Last Spire (Rise Above)
Never an after-thought, Cathedral is one of the bands that made this genre great, period.  But perhaps, and I’m just putting this out there, Dorrian and co.’s un-dominant performance on this chart (a chart which sees the band trumped atop it by their own label signee) is a clue to why the time is now for the band to call it a day.  It’s still surprising that the final album from a legendary band isn’t a higher priority here.  See the album review hereBuy it.

19). MOTHERSHIPSelf-Titled (Ripple Music)
What was said about label-mates Devil To Pay’s album applies in equal measure to Mothership.  This Texan quartet, led by the brothers Juett, play hard and tough as nails rock with more than just a glimmer of the glossy sheen of catchiness.  And as impressive as Clutch’s and Egypt’s placements are on this chart, keep in mind that this is a “what are you listening to right now?” kind of list and that this album originally came out over a year ago (it was officially released by Ripple in February).  See the album review hereBuy it.

20). BLOOD CEREMONY  – The Eldritch Dark (Metal Blade)
(written by Soggy Bob [Soggy Bog of Doom Podcast])
Ok, my first album review I’ve ever done. I apologize in advance....
Is it just me or when you listen to this record do you imagine yourself hiding behind lush tress, peeking in on coven of scantily clad witches about to take place in a orgy of blood? Or is it just moi? For me, this is record of the year. Boom...That's right I said it. Blood Ceremony's "The Eldritch Dark" (out on Rise Above and Metal Blade) is their best work to date. This record has a much more folky proggy vibe to it but still brings the heavy courtesy of riff master general Sean Kennedy. I can't help but want to watch The Wickerman after listening to this dark gem. Lucas Gadke gives a great vocal performance on their folk tribute "Lord Summerisle". The track "Ballad of The Weird Sisters" may be my favorite track I've heard all year. In my eyes (and ears) Alia O'brien is what really sets Blood Ceremony apart from the pack. She's an extremely talented musician and an amazing storyteller . She shines in the aforementioned song. There are 8 brimstone scorched tracks on this epic. You must include this in your collection or a pox will descend upon you and your family. Dont disappoint your family.
I give this 10 out 10 bubbling cauldrons …
Buy it.

21). ACROSS TUNDRASElectric Relics (Self-Released)
(written by Clint [Hand of Doom Radio])
What do you get when you mix gunslingers, lawmen, tumbleweeds, dust, and whiskey with psych riffs and a few drops of doom for good measure? You get the heavy, thirsty riffs of Across Tundras who are back with their 9th full length album, "Electric Relics". It kicks right into it with a spacious soundscape and riffs with western tinged vocals which run right across the album. There are some more mellow moments to let the dust settle, and these really contrast well with the standout tracks on the album which are 'Pining for the Gravel Roads', 'Driftless Caravan' and the dark, brooding album closer 'Unfortunate Son'. Across Tundras have carved their own unique niche and 'Electric Relics' is an excellent addition to their discography.  Buy it.

22). HOT LUNCHSelf-Titled (Who Can You Trust?)
(written by Ken Elliott [Nuclear Dog of Heavy Planet])
Hot Lunch have managed to mold an excitingly fresh, supernova hot, singularly superb sound using standard rock n' roll tools. Every aspect of their music massages those deep lying gratification nodes that only the best primal rock seems to do, something you are likely to NEVER find on Voice Idol. Hot Lunch's dark alley gang of guitars wrap you first in heavy woolen blankets sopping with sodden, viscid riffs of powerful pungency and potency before laying waste to your senses with burning white solos interspersed throughout to maximize an effective assault. The vocals are the poster child for Hot Lunch's controlled rampage of sound, offering nothing you've not heard before, but ceding something you've never heard better. Powerful, primal, focused, and fun, Hot Lunch is an album for the agesBuy it.

23). KYLESAUltraviolet (Season of Mist)
(written by Joop Konraad [Stoner Hive blog])
Ultraviolet is the sixth full-length studio album by Savannah sludge metal formation Kylesa. On it they seem to run through their previously explored avenues and move away through dusty and rubble filled post punk back streets and enigmatic dark and psychedelic cul-de-sacs. The five-piece, double drums, muddy trashers seem to want to skewer the sewers looking for the dirty tones lurking there. And they succeed with radiating power… Buy it.

24). FUNERAL CIRCLESelf-Titled (? No announcement made as of yet ?)
My hometown heroes Funeral Circle have awoken from their slumber to unleash their long-awaited first full-length album.  It’s a testament to the strength of the material that though this album is only available for streaming right now, it’s still making the rounds and turning heads.  This one has been picked up for release by a label, but the announcements of which label and / or a release date haven’t been made yet.  Hang tight because it’ll drown you in its oppressive atmosphere.  Stream it.

25). DEMON LUNGThe Hundredth Name (Candlelight)
This Nevada foursome’s debut is making some serious hay in the doom charts … and it’s not even officially out until June 4!  Needless to say when Vegas Doom does finally crash land on shelves it’ll score big with listeners.  Demon Lung’s full-length debut makes a mockery of the already high standard the band set for themselves on their demo EP .  See my review for Temple of PerditionPre-order it.

26). TENTACLEIngot Eye (Self-Released)
27). CULTURA TRESRezando al Miedo (Devouter)
28). NEON WARSHIPSelf-Titled (Self-Released)
29). APE MACHINEMangled By The Machine (Ripple Music)
30). GOZUThe Fury of a Patient Man (Small Stone)
31). THE HEAVY EYESMaera (Originally Self-Released, vinyl on Bilocation)
32). HUATA / BITCHO split  – Self-Titled (Musicfearsatan)
33). LOTHORIANWelldweller (Acid Cosmonaut)
34). MOSSHorrible Night (Rise Above)
35). PURSONThe Circle and the Blue Door (Rise Above)
36). TONER LOWIII (Bilocation)
37). WEED PRIESTSelf-Titled (Self-Released)
38). WO FATThe Black Code (Small Stone)
39). THE FLIGHT OF SLEIPNIRSaga (Self-Released)
40). PROCESSIONTo Reap Heavens Apart (High Roller)

List of contributors: Aaron Pickford (The Sludgelord), Arturs Vilmanis (Archivhate), Bill Goodman (The Soda Shop), Bucky Brown (Bucky Bloggy), Cheryl Prime (Metal Hammer, Cvlt Nation), Chris Markwell (TheSludgelord), Christian Spencer (Chilean Fuzz), Clint (Hand O Doom Radio), Craig Hayes (Six Noises), Dennis (Blasting Days), Doctor Doom, Gruesome Greg (Hellbound), Haris (Welcome to the Void), Jeff Warren (Broken Beard), Joop Konraad (Stoner Hive), Justin Gish (Heavy Planet), LK Ultra (Paranoid Hitsophrenic), Lyk (Phantasmagoria), Mats Florstam (Ozium Records), Matt Fitton (The Sludgelord), Nick (Broken Beard), Nuclear Dog (Heavy Planet), Ollie Stygall (Sleeping Shaman), Pat Harrington (Electric Beard of Doom), Phil Howlett (Rote Mare), Richard Maw (The Sludgelord), Rod Reinhart (Captain Beyond Zen), Soggy Bob (Soggy Bog of Doom Podcast), Steph LS (Temple of Perdition), Steve Howe (The Sludgelord), Steve Miller (Temple of Perdition), Todd Severin (Ripple Music), Tony van Dorston (Fast n’ Bulbous), Ulla Rosacht (The Wicked Lady)

Thank you all!!

Extra special thank yous to Soggy Bob who braved the fear of humiliation and mockery at his debut review for Canada's Blood Ceremony ;), Clint from Australia who has been a tremendous supporter of Paranoid Hitsophrenic and came through in the clutch with a capsule review of Nashville's Across Tundras, Ken Elliott of Heavy Planet who delivered an extremely eloquent review of Hot Lunch DESPITE A TORNADO rampaging through his backyard (!!!!) and to Joop Konraad who did the capsule review for Kylesa.  He's the best pro I know, and always delivers the goods!


  1. No love for Aleph Null's amazing Belladonna EP from fellow contributors? Bah! ;P

    1. Just the one vote. If I'd have done this chart in January or February it would have gotten more votes for sure.

  2. All good. Still hammering it here, it's a keeper, seems to be outlasting most others which don't have the staying power. Heck, I'm still listening to their Dale EP regularly. Hard hitting stuff

  3. Nice list for sure. Much too many good albums to include everyones favorite. I'm going to have to revisit Across Tundras, they kind of passed by me as 'Sage' was in my top 20 of 2011. Funny how as new albums drop more albums fall from lists. The doom of releasing very early in the year. Are some of these albums 2012 releases? I thought Mothership as well as The Heavy Eyes were out last year. Either way, both great albums. Hot Lunch and Funeral Circle have yet to grace my ears....

    1. These are the top albums that are currently spinning through the minds and ears of the contributors, so yeah, still some 2012 and early 2013 stuff.

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