2016 has seen the world we live in at war with itself over Syria, ISIS, Brexit and Trump, it has also been a year when many of our musical heroes unplugged their earthly instrument cables and shuffled off to that "great gig in the sky".
Its not all been grief and strife however 2016 has been a bumper year for the underground music scene with both established and brand new artists releasing some truly stunning albums, EP's and singles.
Here's Desert Psychlist's pick of 2016.....
25. GEEZER ~ GEEZER
What do you need to know about this other than its Geezer and its on Ripple, those two things on their own scream QUALITY!
24. KINGSNAKE ~ RESONANCE
It would be too easy to write Kingsnake off as just a bunch of Clutch sound-a-likes trying to follow in the footsteps of their heroes, that would be doing these Philly bluesters a disservice. It cannot be denied that there are similarities between the two bands but there are also marked differences and in this "underground" scene dominated by Sabbath worship a band influenced by Neil Fallon and Co is not a bad thing.
23. SOON ~ VOL.1
Stylistic blend of doom, sludge and psychedelics will have you drooling for a VOL 2!
22. THE GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST ~ CHAPTER 1
Rocks like a cradle in a hurricane
21.ELDER DRUID ~ MAGICKA
A touch of maturity has crept into Elder Druids heavy down tuned sonic attack and I for one fuckin' love it!
20.ORS ~ ORS
Awesome heavy prog/psych album with a "green" theme running all the way through its veins. A mix of Spanish and English vocals adds an extra level of charm to an album full to the rafters with musical excellence.
19. THE RARE BREED ~ LOOKING FOR TODAY
Sabbathian grooves of molten gold!
If you dig Freedom Hawk, Orchid and early Sheavy you will love this!
18.BRANT BJORK ~ TAO OF THE DEVIL
What can you say about a man with such a great pedigree, whether solo or as part of a band the drummer/guitarist, bassist and vocalist's name has always been associated with good music.
17. LOS DISDENTES DEL SUCIO MOTEL ~ HUMAN COLLAPSE
LDDSM have come a long way from the desert/stoner grooves of their first album, gradually moving forward via their second album to finally arrive here at "Human Collapse" a scintillating and at times disturbing listen.
16.NAEVUS ~ HEAVY BURDEN
Rifftastic doom infused stoner grooves from Germany
15. WIZZERD ~ DOOMCHILD
Wizzerd take you on a musical train ride that stops at stations doom, psych, stoner and desert along the way.
14.CYBERNETIC WITCH CULT ~ SPACEOUS CRETACOUS
A 9 track adventure through space, magic, fantasy and time.
Psychedelic, stoned, groovaceous, doomed and heavy:
13.RED WIZARD ~ COSMOSIS
Head spinning stoner doom that finds a nice middle ground between the proto-doom of Black Sabbath and the retro stoner blues/hard rock grooves of Graveyard
12.BORRACHO ~ ATACAMA
Gritty whiskey soaked vocals roared over hard edged riffage supported by thunderous drumming, pummel the listener with the sheer ferocity of their deliverance
11.LORD VAPOUR ~ MILL STREET BLUES
"Mill Street Blues" is one of those albums you will never get tired of hearing, one of those albums that you will come back to time after time, hearing it fresh, as if it was your first listen all over again
10.YOUNGBLOOD SUPERCULT ~ HIGH PLAINS
Heavy and at times hazy blues drenched psych/acid rock. Touches of doomy atmospherics twisted around gritty stonerized blues grooves and coated in mellow but effective clean vocals.
09.VOKONIS ~ OLDE ONE ASCENDING
Heavy psych/doom crammed to the roof with gnarly dark riffs, pounding rhythms and excellent throaty vocals
08.MAMMOTH WEED WIZARD BASTARD ~ Y PROFFWYD DWYLL
Over sonic grooves of substantial heaviness sit the haunting tones of vocalist/bassist Jessica Ball her haunting voice the polar opposite of the heavyweight grooves surrounding her, sweet and fragile they sit atop the doom laden metallic bluster beneath them like cream on a razor blades edge giving the album a balance of beauty and brutality that is truly startling.
07.HOWLING GIANT ~ BLACK HOLE SPACE WIZARD: PART 1
Stonerized hard rock fronted by excellent vocal melodies, salted with elements of space and psych, driven by heavy riffs and rhythmic grooves.
If this is only Part 1 then put my name down NOW for Part 2!
06.FIRE DOWN BELOW ~ VIPER VIXEN GODDESS SAINT
Absolutely fantastic collection of psyched out rock'n'roll. Listen once to dig the grooves then listen again for all the things going on in and around those grooves
05.THE HAZYTONES ~ THE HAZYTONES
With Graveyard and Ponamero Sundown calling it a day it's time for a new band to step up to the bluesy retro/hard rock/stoner plate.
04.SHOGUN ~ SHOGUN
Part proto-metal, part bluesy stoner, part heavy psych and coated with super smooth vocals this is a must have for anyone who loves good intelligent rock music.
03. SPIRITUAL BEGGARS ~ SUNRISE TO SUNDOWN
The Beggars return with another platter full of superb classic/hard rock played hard and extremely well.
02.YEAR OF THE COBRA ~ ..IN THE SHADOWS BELOW
Atmospheric tomes driven by Barrysmith's Bonham-esque pounding drum patterns and dominated by Tung's heavily distorted Rickenbacker bass and haunting vocals
01. FALL OF AN EMPIRE ~ CROWEATER: AN ECHO IN THE BONE
Absolutely essential listening for those that love their stoner a little bluesy and cerebral
Well that's it for this year let's hope the next is even better!
Festive greetings to all the musicians/PR's/ record labels/ fellow bloggers/podcasters and my fellow revolutionaries at HRR who have helped Desert Psychlist so much throughout this year and to the readers whose feedback constantly amazes me and keeps me doing what i'm doing, thank you all!