Shepherd – Stereolithic Riffalocalypse ALBUM REVIEW

Some many artists fail to do good stoner doom. They’ll get the vocals right, but the instrumentation will be off. Or more commonly, they’ll get the instrumentation right, but nothing else about it has anything to do with stoner doom. I’ve seen stoner doom with death vocals before. It doesn’t work . In honesty, it isn’t a hard formula. Mostly clean vocals with some screaming for emphasis, sung as if the person is stoned and crying our their troubles in blues like fashion, and then instrumentals that are psychedelic, but dirty as you can be. But above all, the atmosphere has to be relaxed, relaxed, and more relaxed. A good stoner doom album is something that you can get totally lost in and lose your mind to, without putting any kind of extreme stress on you.

This album does all of that and more. The vocals, the instrumentation, the everything. And they make it dirty. The opening riff on track two, “Turdspeak”, is like the title implies, the musical equivalent of someone taking a shit. I mean that in a good way. Coupled with the far out pseudo-ambient track in the background, and it’s really the highlight of the album. Though really, the entire album is a highlight in itself, it’s really that good. To boot, these guys are from India of all places, far removed from any kind of prominent stoner culture. You wouldn’t know it by listening to this album. Definitely an AOTY contender, and at the very least, it’ll be really hard to top this for Stoner Doom AOTY.


9.25/10

Monolord – Vænir ALBUM REVIEW

From the moment I heard this first line of this album, I knew it was amazing. For background, my favorite band is Electric Wizard. It’s why I tend to love stuff like Stereolithic Riffacalypse. Stoner doom is my favorite genre of metal, and even though I tend to like it more, I tend to also scrutinize it more. It has to meet a higher standard with me. So keep that in mind when I say this, and what I’m about to say hurts me, but at the same time, I can’t hold back from the truth: this is better than Electric Wizard. In every way. It’s dirtier, it has more psychedelic influences, it has more prog influences, the vocals are better, the riffs are better, everything is better. However initially, through the first two tracks, I could really only give it about a 9.5/10. Something was missing. Yeah, it was the album I’ve been looking for for years, but at the same time, it’s something I’d heard before, at least somewhat. Then it happened. About midway through the third track “Nuclear Death”, the riff happened. THE riff. I’m gonna call it the God Riff. Every strum of the downtuned guitars rocked my entire world for about 2 minutes. It was a semi, no it WAS a religious experience in music. That’s when I knew this was it. This wasn’t just any old album, this was possible the greatest album I’ve ever heard. And that wasn’t even the best part of the album. It can’t be, right? It’s only the third track. So the rest of the album was going solid when the title track came up, which I had previously heard was a great track. Oh yeah. Oh yeah it was. You know that God Riff I mentioned a few sentences back? Stretch that out 16 minutes.

This is a modern masterpiece. I was expecting a lot when I listened to this, and it exceeded my expectations in every way.

EDIT: Well it only took about a month but this is dethroned. Still fantastic however, please listen to this.


9.5/10

Goatsnake – Black Age Blues ALBUM REVIEW

I’ll always find it amusing that a band form LA is able to create a more southern soundscape than the large majority of southern based stoner doom bands. Even if they go a bit ham at times. The harmonicas, the southern church choirs, and bluesy riffs makes you feel like you’re right down in a the swamp of Louisiana. However what Goatsnake does differently, in the face of the mass movement to bluesify stoner doom, is to not forget the doom part. Make no mistake, this is a doom focused album, with stoner on the side. Personally speaking, I’ve always thought that’s how it should be. It’s stoner DOOM metal not doom stoner metal. Black Age Blues feels soulful, while also feeling a sense of despair and ugliness, as this kind of rank doom metal should. Goatsnake doesn’t lighten up on the guitar tone which so many other stoner doom bands do. You feel ever riff and every slam of the guitar. My one complaint would be that despite doing so many things right, at no point in this album does it make me feel “yeah, this is a top tier album”. I feel it’s all good stuff, but just that, good stuff. Nothing extra special spectacular that comes with the territory of an elite album. So while this is one of the best stoner doom albums of the year, I think it’s appropriate to leave it at that, rather than ranking it up into the AOTY category as so many have.


7.5/10

Ufomammut – Ecate ALBUM REVIEW

I don’t really want to describe an album this way, but this sounds just like noise to me. Not in the way of it not being music, but in that there’s nothing really here other than some sort of musical noise, which I know is not the most intelligent way of describing something, but it’s just one of those albums where I listened to it and thought “this is kinda nice” and then just went on with my life none the wiser. Not bad, but nothing spectacular.


5.75/10

Leather Nun America – Buddha Knievel ALBUM REVIEW

Good shit. Kind of a lo-fi stoner doom album that at times seems a bit amateurish, in not necessarily a good way, but god damn if Priestess is not a great song. Along with some other great songs. The vocals are something I really want to comment on, as they really got the stoner doom kind of vocals down pat. Laid back, a bit soaring but calm, far out, overall exactly what you want. Instrumentals are not too shabby either, though the album doesn’t have the best sound quality, which be it intentional or not, does detract from the album. But the rest of the album is so good, so it’s forgiven.


8/10

Elder – Lore ALBUM REVIEW

Really a fantastic album. It’s unfortunate that the first half is nowhere near as good as the second half, otherwise this would probably be AOTY. The title track is exceptionally good, and marks the turning point in the album. If anything, it’s a great album for curling up in a blanket and drinking hot cocoa or something. Really comfy but doesn’t make you fall asleep.


8.25/10