Thursday, 19 December 2013

2013 Chronicle (Year in review) part 2 - Best of January 2013

We continue our look back at the year that was, now moving month to month in our journey through the best albums of 2013.

January 1 - NEON WARSHIP (ST) - Right off the bat, first day of the year and you get a candidate for best album.  Talk about setting a high standard!  What makes this 5 song album so great?  In short, killer riffs which can shift into improvised freakouts and balls out singing that reaches into falsetto at the drop of the hat.  One of the most energetic albums of the year, and the vocals are the fuel that powers the riffs, which are the engine that drives it.  None of this went unnoticed as the band was later signed by Small Stone Records and I've got a feeling we won't have to wait too long from now to hear the band's next effort.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Carry You Away" and "Paralyzed".  Rating 5/5

January 4 - PALM DESERT (Rotten Village Sessions) - This Polish quintet unleashed an album that sounded worthy of the deep musical heritage from the place where they take their name from.  Melodic fuzz rock to quench the thirst of desert dwellers everywhere.  Palm Desert weren't done here either, they released a largely improvised six song EP later on in the year, but what a way to kick off a solid year for the band and for stoner rock in general!  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Damn Good" and "Acid Phantom".  Rating 4.5/5

January 6 - TSAR BOMBA (Silent Queen) - Grungy French stoners Tsar Bomba blew my mind with their debut album 'Silent Queen'.  Tsar Bomba are at the vanguard of a grunge revival spearheaded by amazing bands like Soundcrawler, Mount Fuji and Mother of God which unfortunately seems to have slightly stalled for the moment (or maybe I've just had my head buried in the sand of doom for too long).  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Enter The Void" and "The Devil's Been Busy".  Rating 4.5/5

January 7 - Lord Summerisle (EP)

January 8 - Half Gramme of Soma (ST)

January 10 - Atomic Vulture (Planet Emerals)

January 11 - ICE DRAGON (The Soul's Midnight) - Ice Dragon's legendary output from 2012 was somewhat curtailed this year.  All they did was put out a mind-bending EP, a timeless album and a soul crushing single in the space of this single year.  Hardly prolific, right (wink, wink)?  The first of their efforts, 'The Soul's Midnight' was a terrific 4 song highlight which showcased a spacier side to the band (they have an endless array of facets).  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Understanding Ouroboros" and "The Soul's Midnight".  Rating 4/5

January 11 - Stone Machine Electric (ST)

January 12 - MARCH THE DESERT (ST) - Brighton UK quartet March the Desert introduced themselves to the world as one of the heaviest stoner psych bands from the British Isles with their self-titled album.  Hints of Cream and Blue Cheer combined with devastating heaviness and the sensibilities of Kyuss to form a heady combination.  The album showed a lot of potential, which they would eventually live up to on a later EP.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Blind" and "Mizar".  Rating 3.5/5

January 14 - Spider Kitten (Cougar Club)

January 17 - Naga (demo)

January 19 - Doublestone - (ST EP)

January 21 - ALEPH NULL (Belladonna EP) - German power trio Aleph Null is black hole heavy, mind bendingly psychedelic and highly intelligent.  Their second EP, 'Belladonna' explored the psychedelic side of the band a bit more fully than their initial release 'Dale'.  'Belladonna' stayed in Paranoid rotation for months, even though it only contains four songs.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Belladonna Wreath" and "Mars Father".  Rating 4.5/5

January 22 - DEMONAUTA (Caminando En La Luna EP) - 'Caminando En La Luna' (walking on the moon) was the first South American release of the year to hold my attention and not let go, and there have been more than a few of those this year.  Beautiful fuzz tone here, drums that are right on the money for what a song needs, making one of the tastiest stoner dishes of the year.  Strange thing is, this thing has a life of it's own.  What started as a five song jaunt around the moon, has grown while you weren't watching into a nine song fuzz marathon.  Check the link to see.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Hotel" and "Hacia el 6to Sol".  Rating 4.5/5

January 22 - HEAD OF THE DEMON (ST) - This was the most fascinating album of the year and I couldn't stay away from it.  Bleak soundscapes and evil vibes create a haunting blackened doom metal soundtrack to tamper with unknowable forces to.  It doesn't hurt the expert atmosphere that the recording itself sounds like the musical equivalent of The Blair Witch Project (1999) or Robert Bloch's Notebook Found in a Deserted House.  If you fear for your immortal soul, you are wise to stay far away from Head of the Demon, listening may be like inviting the demon in.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "By Titan Hand" and "Phantasmagoria".  Rating 4.5/5

January 26 - Lowburn (Soaring High EP)

January 27 - Church of Void (Winter Is Coming EP)

January 28 - MAGIC CIRCLE (ST) - 'Magic Circle' was one of those albums I waited months just to hear it.  It started getting a big buzz around my favorite review sites, but I've got to say tracking it down wasn't as easy as it could have been.  No bandcamp or itunes is fine, but ordering the CD online became a bit of a hassle.  Most important though is the music and Magic Circle seems to have taken the emotional pitch of Pallbearer and infused it with feverish energy.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Winter Light" and "The Greatest Escape - White Shores".  Rating 4.5/5

January 29 - Five Horse Johnson (The Taking of Blackheart)

January 29 - THE GATES OF SLUMBER (Stormcrow) - Well, this turned out to be The Gates of Slumber's swan song (at least for now [fingers crossed]) as the band recently dissolved.  This Scion A/V released 5 song EP featured some of the band's best and doomiest material yet, and it's entirely free.  The one lone bright spot in the band breaking up is the possibility of getting twice as much doom from McCash and Simon with whatever they choose to do next.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Son of Hades" and "Death March".  Rating 5/5

Best Album From Jaunary 2013:
'Neon Warship' by NEON WARSHIP

Best Song From January 2013:
"Carry You Away" by NEON WARSHIP

Top 6 Things Scion A/V did this year:
1). Scion Rock Fest in Memphis, TN
2). The Gates of Slumber - 'Stormcrow' EP
3). Fu Manchu / Moab split single
4). High on Fire - "Slave the Hive" single
5). Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals - "Ugly Mug" single for Housecore Horror Film Festival
6). Scion [Musicless] Music Conference

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