Another year of misery and mayhem goes by with the human race still arguing between themselves over race, sexism, politics and global warming while all the time trying to avoid the ever mutating viral cloud that continues to hover menacingly over and around us, Music, in all its forms, has proved to be our saviour through these sad/bad times and has, for many of us, been our safe houses, our comforters and our own personal vaccines during this period of uncertainty and fear. Here is a list of thirty albums and EP's released in 2021 that have saved Desert Psychlist from losing the plot and running screaming to the hills, we could have easily chosen more but unfortunately time and space dictates that we keep things to a minimum., your list of choices will probably be radically different but that's OK, as John Lennon so rightly sang "Whatever gets you through your life, It's alright, it's alright"
30; Afghan Haze ~ Nihilistic Stoner Hymns
Visceral and brutal are words often used to describe music of the nature Afghan Haze present us with on "Nihilistic Stoner Hymns" and often music described as such tends to lose a little of its musicality due to its harshness and ferality. Although there are moments when those two words could well be brought in to play when describing Afghan Haze's sonic attack the truth is those moments are few and far between and instead we are presented with a music that is certainty loud, certainly gritty but at the same time, and despite its blackened approach, is at all times musical.
29; Dreadnought In The Pond ~ 0=1
WOW! WTF! and Jeezus H Christ, this is an off the scale collection of eclectic and diverse heaviness. The best way to describe DITP's sound is to say it is a constructed noise, a complex noise, a sometimes unsettling noise, an often confused noise but for all that .. a beautiful noise
28; The Holy Corrupt ~ The Holy Corrupt
"The Holy Corrupt" is everything doom, as a music, should be, it is a dark dank atmospheric opus that lumbers and lurches along at tempos just short of crawling, it is an album tinted in psychedelic colours and textures but an album not overpowered by them, it is, as the band have already stated, an album to get stoned to.
27; Borracho ~ Pound Of Flesh
"Pound of Flesh" is not a radical departure for the band nor is it a carbon copy of what has gone before, Borracho's new album is what we all want it to be and that is a stonkin' collection of raucous rock'n'roll songs played loud proud and fuzzy!
26; The Age of Truth ~ Resolute
This band bring to the table not only the crunching refrains and thunderous rhythms of the underground rock scene, in all its various guises, but also the sort of dynamics that many might consider to be of a "classic rock" flavour, combining these elements behind a vocal that in its upper register has a howling rock god type timbre and at its lower end has a touching weary soulfulness.
25; Godhead Lizard ~ V838
Intelligent cryptic lyrics delivered by a vocalist of rare quality over grooves of powerful loud hard rock are what Godhead Lizard deliver with their latest album and although the band warn us, via the albums theme, that all our chasing of dreams will eventually see us getting closer to the bottom than nearer to the top, the band seem to have climbed somewhat nearer to their peak with "V838".
24; 1782 ~ From The Graveyard
Sedately paced occult/doom with a cloying claustrophobic atmospheric, 1782 make music to be buried alive to.
23; Blind Tendril ~ α
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE!!!!
Greek musicians residing in the UK make stunning album of heavy music with an international flavour
22; Taxi Caveman ~ Taxi Caveman
Taxi Caveman are not a doom band, a sludge band or a punk band but at the same time they are all those things, they are a rock band who can turn their hands to all of rocks various forms and styles and do so while still managing to sound fresh and original. Taxi Caveman have great musical chops and on this their debut album they display those chops to great effect across a wide spectrum of styles, where these guys take their music next is going to be very interesting indeed.
21; Paralyzed ~ Paralyzed
Forget those Led Zeppelin wannabees Greta Van Fleet, and any of those other pale imitations that have routinely popped up over the years because Paralyzed are the real deal, an authentic sounding heavy blues outfit with genuine belief in what they do.
20; Kabbalah ~ The Omen
Heavy psych with the psych part of that equation leaning towards the sixties while the heavy part has its roots in the here and now.
19; DVNE ~ Etemen Ænka
Expectations were high for this band after the release of the excellent "Asheran" but with "Etemen Ænka" DVNE have gone way beyond excellent and pushed their music into territories of heavy music that we haven't even invented words for yet.
18; Heavy Temple ~ Lupi Amoris
Absolutely banging return from Philadelphia's Heavy Temple, everything good about today's doom/stoner scene condensed into five essential cuts
17; Maw ~ maw
If your a fan of the type of psychedelic tinted stoner/desert rock that gave us the likes of Yawning Man, My Brother The Wind, Naxatras and Sungrazer and you like those grooves with a similar low key vocal dynamic to that of Colour Haze then you cannot fail to enjoy what Maw bring to the table with their self titled debut "maw"
16; Smoke Rites ~ The Rite of the Smoke
An enthralling blend of blackened doom, sludge and occult rock decorated in an intriguing mixture of vocal tones.
15; The Crow's Eye ~ The Crow's Eye
Twisted off kilter doom that has a touch of pleasing sleaziness about it.
14; Dr. Colossus ~ I'm A Stupid Moron With An Ugly Face And A Big Butt And My Butt Smells And I Like To Kiss My Own Butt
Now if you are not familiar with Dr. Colossus you could be fooled into thinking that, given it's humorous title and it's Simpson themed artwork (which pastiches the Weedians of Sleep's "Dopesmoker" album), "I'm A Stupid Moron....." might be some sort of comedic venture but you would be very wrong as this is some serious hard rocking shit that'll have you jumping out of your seat throwing devil's horns at all and sundry.
13; Plaindrifter ~ Echo Therapy
Stunning album from start to finish, Plaindrifter have gone above and beyond with this release and have raised the bar to a level they may struggle to ever reach again.
12; Low Orbit ~ Crater Creator
You want grooves, Low Orbit have GROOVES, you want riffs Low Orbit have RIFFS! This is killer from start to finish.
11; Scarecrow ~ II
If you loved Scarecrow's debut then prepare yourself for more of the same only heavier crunchier and more groovesome!
10; Cripta Blue ~ Cripta Blue
Old school, and proud of it, heavy rock with riffs to spare and laid back (but effective) vocals.
09; Dopelord ~ Reality Dagger
Dopelord delivering delightfully doomic devastation but then again haven't they always!
08; Cavern Deep ~ Cavern Deep
A sinister tale of exploration delivered via the medium of DOOM.
07; Thunder Horse ~ Chosen One
Sludgy doomic southern stoner psych metal with its roots in the blues.
06; Maragda ~ Maragda
There are touches of early YES and Rush about some of the grooves on this excellent release as well as elements of Howling Giant and Elder so expect to be blown away!
05; Confusion Master ~ Haunted
We often hear the phrase "beyond good" when describing something that reaches far above our expectations and if ever there was a better example of something that meets that criteria then we have yet to hear it. Fantastic release!!!!!
04; Spelljammer ~ Abyssal Trip
Spelljammer are back, for how long nobody knows, it is quite possible that it could be another five years before they descend from whatever dimension/planet/universe they hide themselves away in and present us with another album as essential and genre defining as "Abyssal Trip", but just knowing they are out there somewhere composing their titanic grooves is enough to keep our hopes alive for the future of intelligent heavy music.
03; Restless Spirit ~ Blood of the Old Gods
Restless Spirit have been compared with Mastodon in some quarters but we have to disagree, Restless Spirit have their own thing going on and its a thing you need to hear!
02; Hippie Death Cult ~ Circle of Days
On "Circle of Days" Hippie Death Cult retain the exuberance they demonstrated on their first album but this time around they combine it with a more mature approach to the music, this is not an album that needs to grab your attention with one full on attack after another as they had already achieved that with "111", with "Circle of Days" the band want to show you what else they've have in the locker, and that locker is full to brimming over with deliciousness.
01; Green Lung ~ Black Harvest
If you are a fan of the organ heavy classic rock of bands like Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, have a hankering for the folk-tinted doom of Pagan Altar but also get off on the 00's occult rock of Blood Ceremony and The Devil's Blood then Green Lung's "Black Harvest" is an album sure to tick all your relevant boxes and will also explain why one of Britain's major newspapers, The Guardian, called Green Lung "'Britain’s finest folk horror-indebted heavy metallers'
Well that it folks for another year, hope you dug our little end of year compilation of what rocked our collective boats in 2021, there will probably be the usual gnashing of teeth and irate shaking of fists for not including this or that album but that just comes with the territory, either way we hope that 2022 brings you all that you want and need in your lives, stay safe stay healthy.
Desert Psychlist would like to thank the following for all their help and support over this challenging year .....
Steve Howe (Outlaws of the Sun), Bucky Brown (The Ripple Effect), Reek of STOOM (Howls From the Hollows), Joop Konrad (Stoner Hive) and all the many other contributors at The Doom Charts, everyone involved with Retro Rockets and Hard Rock Revolution, all the PR and record company's for their endless promo's and news shots, The High Priestess Alice Mudgarden/Trey for putting us on the path we now follow, and lastly but most importantly Michele, Billy. Vikki, Sian, Ethan, Austin, Amber and Rowan for just being them.
© 2021 Frazer Jones