Thursday, December 5, 2019

the Top 10 Stoner Rock Albums of 2019

It's that time of year again, to sort through the top 10 albums of all the respective genres, then use compile the top 10 albums of the year. Later in the month I am making  the top 10 lists for the decade, though to be blunt  this is the decade's weakest year for music.  Especially when it comes to new artists, however stoner rock is one of the few genres that proved an exception to this as only 4 of the 10 bands are veterans.  You had to search much harder to find ten albums that rose above, yet that is what I did. As in  past years I am  giving a brief explanation as to why these albums stand over their peers in lower positions on the list. The very fact these bands made it on the list speaks to how great these albums are so it's not a slight that the number 8 album is above the 9th album, there is something that just gives it an edge that makes me want to listen to it more. After all we can try to look cool and pick the hippest bands for a list, but at the end of the day what makes an album the best is that it makes you want more, you look forward to listening to it again. Sure you can bitch and complain about your favorite band not being on the list. However  I listen to five new albums a day so yes I heard your favorite album and was not impressed. No,  I do not care what you think about. it  I do hope you can find your next favorite on this list  and  have included links to reviews of these albums if you want to check out audio on these guys. Anyways here are the top 10 stoner rock  albums of 2019 .

10 Arrowhead - "Coven of the Snake" 

 A great deal of retro stoner metal that falls in the rotation of these guys. They are really good at what they do. I hear hear some Think Lizzy influence in how the vocal melodies work, so this is not just Sabbath worship. The guitar tone of this Sydney band is very much metal and the grooves are aggressive. They are more about getting stoned in a van with a wizard airbrushed on . If you are too then don't sleep on this album.

9-Pale Gray Lore-"Eschatology"

 This is a heavy handed version of drug laced Camaro rock. The vocals offer more hopefully floating sense of melody.The tight syncopated feel of what they do has as much as in common with Helmet as they do Kyuss, with more to their songs than just bong worship. This took the number 9 spot from Arrowhead because these guys go more places and give them a spin of their own rather than sticking to conventions.

8-Black Mountain- "Destroyer" 

 They experiment with the stoner rock formula, blowing it up and then melting it back together. It barrows from elements of music that I like so the fact their influences are sometimes worn on their sleeves is ok with me. This album sounds great, unlike my complaint this year that there are many albums where they have a good sound , but not good songs. This is not the case here and shows what a good balance of this should be.More focused and better executed than the Pale Grey Lore album.

7-Silver Tomb- Edge of Existence 

One Half of Type O Negative, they are using pot to cope with their grief where A Pale Horse Called Death tries harder to carry the torch. There was always a psychedelic touch to Type-o, this expands of of that. With Kenny Hickey handling the vocals there is more grit than your average stoner band. Darker and heavier than the more polished Black Mountain.

6- Seer - "Vol 6"

 This band is going in a more proggy direction. The vocals are greatly improved and pretty much the key selling point for this one ,though if you are into guitar solos those are well done too. It beats Sliver Tomb, due to the vocals being better which is key for me.

5- Monolord - "No Comfort"

 This Swedish band continues to find their sound maturing. So much so , the second song is more of a 70s rock thing than the kind of fuzzed out Sabbath worship. This might not be as heavier as previous releases , but I like the jammy feel of the songs. Their songwriting and over all scope of sound outclasses Seer


4- Ecstatic Vision- "For the Masses" 

 They remind me of Monster Magnet more often then not. A little warmer and  more organic sound than Monster Magnet but in the same sonic sphere. They boogie and groove along, often making me wish I did not quit smoking pot as they would sound great high. They came out on top of Monolord because they are more sonically intense.

3- Green Lung- "Woodland Rites" 

This band worships the green that taints their lungs . They have been getting some buzz, The balance between Sabbath worship and having their won sound is for the most part achieved. The vocals are in more of an Ozzy direction, with touches of Ian Gillan perhaps. The over all vibe of this album is what snags the number 3 spot from Ecstatic Vision.

2- Howling Giant- "Space Between Worlds "

This band is capable of pulling out some impressive doom riffs right along side of their more bong drenched moments of hyper tension.The vocals make me think of Foo-fighters , but comparisons could be just as easily drawn to Atomic Bitchwax, since the last Atomic Bitch Wax album sounded like if the Foo- Fighters were smoking meth. it turned out to be a great deal heavier than expected going into this and the prog elements do not diminish the power. Even more ambitious than Green Lung.

1-Hippie Death Cult -"III" 

 The key selling point of this band to me is their singer,This guy is fucking outstanding as  he encompasses a great deal of dynamic range while retaining a bluesy sound.ere plenty of things like guitar solos to keep most metal heads happy. There is more proto metal to the riffing, the singer is what really sets these guys apart . Sure there is a little Ian Gillan to his voice at times, but that is better than another half ass Ozzy imitator. They are where they are because they have the best vocals which in turns gives them a more defined identity .

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