Saturday 24 December 2022


 Let's get things straight here, before all the "but this was better than that" and "why have you left this off" posts start appearing. and that is that these are Desert Psychlist's choices, collated from what we have listened to and enjoyed the most over the past year, and not what you, the readers, may have chosen to include in your own end of year/best of lists. The thirty albums and EP's listed below are the ones that have had the biggest impact on us here at Stonerking Towers and are the ones that we can see ourselves returning to listen to long after 2022 has passed into history. Yours in, all probability, will be entirely different but that's the beauty of listening to music, we all hear things differently and an album that some might deem a masterpiece will have others dubbing as unlistenable noise.
That out of the way let's get down to the reason we are all here...


"Bewitching metal" is how Narbo Dacal describe their sound and "bewitching" is exactly what it is, this is an EP that weaves its magic from its opening note to its last, these guys anchoring their grooves to this world with a mixture of complex chord progressions, crunching riffs and thunderous rhythms while also possessing an ability to lift you out of yourself with the sheer beauty of their wafting vocal melodies and undulating dynamics. All in all Narbo Dacal are yet another name to add to that ever-growing list of great Polish bands you really need to hear.


High quality desert rock!
Absolutely loved their last album "Licancabur" so had big hopes for this one and was not disappointed,


"The Lord Is With Us" is an album full of contradictions, an album that brutalizes the ear drums one minute then gently soothes them the next, an album that dips its toes in waters situated at the harsher end of the metal spectrum as well as those at its more ambient opposite.


Gnome are three guys from Belgium with a penchant for wearing pointy red hats on their heads, who jam a groove that is heavy, sometimes complex and sometimes brutal but is at all times imbued with a tongue in cheek sense of the ridiculous.


It is hard to believe, while listening to "Coma Hole", that the sounds you are hearing are being created by just two people, such is the power and force of the music on offer, but a quick scan of the duo's Bandcamp page will confirm this fact and further prove that to make a BIG sound you don't have to be a BIG band.


A pummelling blend of stoner metal bluster and doomic dankness shot through with elements of old school heavy metal and heavy psych, there just not enough words to prepare you for how good this album is.


It would not be right to compile a best of list without including an album from one of Italy's acid doom bands and Witchsnake released one of the sub-genres finest and filthiest this year with their self-titled debut. 


The grooves Inche Kai Che lay down on these seven essential cuts of strutting metal and heady psych are as good, and possibly even better in places, as anything currently being released outside of the Southern Hemisphere.


O ye lovers of the heavy riff come gather beneath the Great Moon and pay tribute to Mount Saturn for they deliver us from the eclipse and bring light into our lives.


Stone Nomads describe themselves as "sons of Sabbath", but their take on doom owes as much to Trouble, as it does Sabbath and let us not ignore the elements of galloping Iron Maiden-flavoured NWOBHM, swampy sludge and Texican bluesiness they also shoe-horn into their dank dark and doomic compositions.


If you took the alt-rock prog of Muse rolled it up with the vocal melodies of Scottish indie rockers Biffy Clyro and then sprinkled over the result some sludgy harshness and stoner fuzz then Mountains "Tide's End" is what you would end up with.


Whether you like to get your rocks off listening to the grainy proto doom of early Black Sabbath or its Ghost's current arena filling melodic occult rock that floats your boat SpellBook's "Deadly Charms" has something for you.


Thick reverberating guitar refrains, rumbling bass lines and thundering drums twinned with intelligent angry lyrics sung in soulful clean and emotive tones all coming together to make one hell of a powerful album. THAL are the real deal!


Vintage sounding occult proto-metal/doom that sounds so authentically seventies you could almost believe these guys hopped aboard a time machine to go back to the 70's to record this gem of an album


An album with its feet planted in not one genre but several, ranging from traditional Iberian folk right 
through to heady cosmic space rock


Thia album not only marked Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard becoming just MWWB it also marked the bands moving into more experimental waters, a move they pulled off with all their usual aplomb


Doom is a music that trades heavily on atmosphere and there is no lack of that commodity in the five songs that make up Realm Drifter's debut, brooding moody and dark "Realm Drifter" is most definitely the real deal!


There is a flow to YURT's music, albeit one that twists and turns with alarming regularity, that despite its numerous intricacies and complexities is easy on the ear and doesn't feel like you are wading through a mire of egotistical showmanship, each participant playing for the song instead of despite of it.


Grunge meets stoner in an enthralling mix of Alice in Chains like slurriness and Graveyard flavoured fuzzy stoner bluesiness


Paralyzed are without doubt one of the finest stonerized blues band this planet has ever produced, and if you need any further proof of that statement then look no further than "Heavy Road".  


Mammoth Volume are a band who like to play around with musical form, a band who tend to cast their nets into waters other bands might not even consider dipping their toes into. a band where the unexpected is expected.


Those of you familiar with Rosy Finch will already know to expect raucous sludgy riffage, lysergic laced cosmicness and vocal tones that range from ethereal to throat destroying. Those of you not familiar with the band make it your mission to remedy that.


Dynamic, dark, diverse and delightful, "Close" is an album that delivers on every level. 


Our reactions to Oreyeon's musical evolution go like this
First album..... "this is interesting, yeah we like this"
Second album....."Wow these guys have come a long way, this is really good!"
This album...... "Oh Jezus H Christ these guys must have sold their souls at the crossroads, this is fucking off the scale amazing!"


Thirteen years between releases is a long time to wait for a new album but when you are presented with an album of the depth, intensity and sheer musical brilliance of Obiat's "Indian Ocean" well then the time waited becomes an irrelevance and you just have to thank the higher beings of your choice that a band like Obiat exists and is still out there making music of this quality and calibre.


Vitskar Suden's debut release was one of Desert Psychlist's favourite albums of 2020 and "The Faceless King" has fast become one of our favourites of 2022.


Sergeant Thunderhoof are probably never going fly to gigs in their own charted plane or live in huge mansions decorated in questionable taste, those days are long gone, these days bands have to subsidise their rock'n'roll lifestyles by having proper jobs which makes it even more astonishing that despite having to take kids to school, worrying about paying bills and generally trying to survive from day to day a band like The Hoof are still able to make albums as powerful, majestic and essential as "This Sceptred Veil"


Off centred grooves that touch on prog, psych and hard rock fronted by a vocalist with unique and distinctive tones.  "Myriad" is not just a good album, it's a GREAT album that is a heady mix of the straightforward and the unconventional played by a band who see music in colours and shapes rather than just notes and chords.


What a journey these guys have taken us on, their evolution from heavy lumbering stoner doom behemoths to the prog/psych/space wizards they are today has been quite a ride and "Innate Passage" shows they have no intentions of slowing down just yet. Mind-blowing! 


Some might be scratching their heads and wondering why Elder never made the #1 spot on this end of year list, well The Otolith's "Folium Limina" is the reason why,  "Folium Limina" is not an album for casually dipping into, it is an opus that needs to be listened to without interruption from start to finish, an album that should be savoured and lovingly poured over so as to best marvel at its jaw-dropping complexities and subtle intricacies. It is an album we knew would be sitting at the top of any list we decided to compile a minute after hearing its diverse array of textures and colours, simply put it is nectar for the ears.

Well, that's it for another year folks, only thing left to do now is thank a few people.
Michele for all her hard work and support, Vikki, Billy and Sian for being the best kids anyone could hope for, grandchildren Ethan, Austin, Rowan and Amber for being simply awesome, Steve Howe (of Outlaws Of The Sun) and Reek of Stoom (of Howls From The Hollows podcast) for support and constantly pointing us in the direction of new grooves and for those late night chats about life, football and music , Joop Konraad (of Stoner Hive) for all his support and regular shout-outs, all the members at Retro Rockets (Facebook) for riding the time machine, Leanne Ridgeway (of Riff Relevant) for always managing to make me laugh, all the contributors at The Doom Charts who monthly go that extra mile, all the record labels and PR companies for the promos and updates, all the musicians and artists who constantly amaze us with their music, and of course you the readers who are the main reason why we do this.


# The blurbs that grace these thirty albums are a mix of snippets from previously published Desert Psychlist reviews and blurbs posted on the respective artists Bandcamp pages
© 2022 Frazer Jones

Friday 23 December 2022



If you look at the date written above this review you will notice that we are fast approaching Christmas Day 2022 and if , like us, you have had your fill of all the doom and gloom we've been forced to endure over the last few years then you will probably find yourselves looking around for something to lift your spirits and shake away all the negativity, something you can crack a beer or get a little high too. "Intergalactic Party Powder" by Robot Death Monkey might be just that something you are looking for, but be warned it is not for the faint of heart.

Put all thoughts of "wokeness" or "political correctness" aside for a while because you sure 'aint gonna find any here, Robot Death Monkey are a band with "cancel me" written large across their foreheads and they don't care. Robot Death Monkey are like the musical equivalent of  those old British "Carry On..." movies, all lewd song titles and lyrics full of  sexual innuendo and tales of beer drinking, a stoner AC/DC only a little less discreet. First song out of the bag "Bantha Rider" is a hoary instrumental monster that does not pretend to be anything else other than a riff fest with its only concession to its Star Wars inspired title being its slightly spaced out and lysergic guitar solos' while "Asgardian Micro Whitey" rips the urine out of all those Viking Metal bands, singing of raiding the land from longboats, by setting its horn headed warriors in a van full of beer and singing of dropping a "six pack an hour" against a backdrop of gnarly stoner metal, "Immigrant Song " it isn't but then why would you want it to be. "Dragon Clit" follows, a chugging stoner instrumental laced with some very ear catching lead work, it is a song that begs two questions, the first being do Dragons posses such a thing, and secondly if they do what are the chances of  a man ever finding it. Robot Death Monkey bring the party to a raucous finale with "Kittens and Coke" a thunderous rocker boasting lyrical content that'll have some running to their keyboards in order to type a scathing email and others marvelling at the bands balls for being so brazen and un-PC in a world that now frowns on such things.

Deep thinking lyrics and intense, complex grooves are all well and good but they just don't cut it when you want to party and Scotland's Robot Death Monkey like to party. The band, Shaun Forshaw (bass/vocals); Sam Forshaw (drums); Alan Travers (guitar) and Fraser Lough (guitar), jam a groove that's full on, in your face and as uplifting as hell, if a times a little near the knuckle.
Check it out. ..... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Monday 19 December 2022

SCUZZY YETI ~ RUINED ..... review

Long gaps between releases seems to be coming a "thing" with bands plying their trade on the underground rock scene, ok probably nobody is going to beat Obiat's thirteen year gap between albums but five years is still a fairly long wait for a new album. The band we are speaking of is Troy, New Hampshire's Scuzzy Yeti a five piece consisting of Chris Wells (vocals); Brad Decatur (guitar); Jason Lawrence (guitar); Josh Turnbull (drums) and Wayne Munson (bass), who, in 2017, released their self-titled debut "Scuzzy Yeti" to much acclaim only to then seemingly disappear to everyone but those on their local gig circuit. The band return this year with their second album "Ruined" (Salt of the Earth Records) and its seems pretty obvious to Desert Psychlist that those five years have not been wasted by the band but spent honing not only their instrumental chops but also their song writing skills.

Things kick off with "Vortex" an in your face blues tinted metallic rocker with heavy psych undertones that routinely varies its attack in order to maximise its impact, blistering solos, riffs and rhythms framing a vocal that is powerful, soulful and sits at the grittier end of Dio-esque. "Rabbit" follows and highlights the band classic rock and metal influences with the band hitting into a groove that comes over like a hybrid coupling of Sabbath and Bad Company, heavy as a truck full of lead but at the same time possessing a certain glossy finesse. Next track "Dark Forest" throws everything from galloping NWOBHM refrains to cosmic noodling into the pot, constantly altering its direction but never to the detriment of its groove "Prime Mover" is a song that perfectly lives up to its title while "Slipstream" is a short sharp jab of stonerized heavy rock brought to a close on a wave of droning noise which then continues into the next track. "Savages" finds Scuzzy Yeti getting their doom groove on with dank reverberating guitars and growling bass, driven by thunderous percussion, the platform for another superb vocal performance. "Thrive" rounds things off and if you didn't buy into our Dio comparison earlier we think you probably will with this one, an anthemic tome with a big, big vocal that finds the bands two guitar attack really paying dividends over a backdrop of dank, perfectly executed, doomic bass and drum groove.

Big brash and loud and yet at the same time soulful stylish and majestic "Ruined" is an album that ticks both old and new school boxes, an album that draws from the well of everything that has gone before while remaining relevant to the here and now.
Check it out .... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Friday 16 December 2022

ZOAHR ~ APRAXIA .... review

Germany's ZOAHR, Thorsten (bass); Philipp (drums) and Jessie (guitar/vocals) may already be familiar to some due to their 2019 album "Off Axis", an album which earned glowing praise from all the right quarters of the underground press on its release. The album's blend of heavy blues and psychedelic rock, liberally sprinkled with elements of stoner and alt-rock, seemed to hit a chord with its listeners so it was expected that a follow up would not be long in the coming. Sadly it has taken three years for that follow up to land but good things come to those who are prepared to wait and our patience has at last been rewarded with the release of "Apraxia".

A lone gently strummed chord progression introduces first track "Imperious Hand" then is joined by the bass and drums in a rocking quasi-progressive groove that for all its bite and drive possesses a pleasing underlying funkiness. Vocals on this track, and for that matter all the albums songs, are delivered clean, melodic and have a clarity more in keeping with classic rock and the blues than they do the stoner rock and metal that the bands music has tended to be lumped in with. That last sentence is an important one as it is not just ZOAHR's vocals that have a leaning towards a more classic rock sound it is also their music. Songs like "Avarice", title track "Apraxia" "Portal" and "Threatmill" have a much more airy, clean, and dare we say, polished feel to them than much of what we usually hear emanating from the heavy underground rock scene, the band incorporating elements of everything from late sixties blues rock to present day heavy psych to create a sound that would be as acceptable on Jonny Pirie's Hour of The Riff podcast as it would be on some classic rock radio station. Even when they do decide to put their foot down hard on the accelerator. like on "Dreamstate" and "Avers & Reverse", it is done with an air of  efficiency only a German band could pull off, the trio never letting things get too raucous or overly aggressive and becoming just another noisy riff fest, the band allowing the melodies to come through and the grooves space to breathe, keeping things heavy, bluesy and alternative but at the same time classy.

ZOAHR tell us that "Apraxia" is not a concept album but more a collection of observational pieces decorated with lyrics that question our place in the great scheme of things, or as the band put it "a reflection of todays current state of the world, social discontents and depression". Whether this works in the way the band intend it to is debatable but then the real strength of "Apraxia" is the music behind its superbly delivered lyrics, which is at all times unquestionably sublime.
Check it out .....

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Sunday 11 December 2022


The final month of the year is often a barren one regarding album and EP releases, usually by November most bands/artists have released their quota of music for the year and are either getting in some last minute gigs or are settling down for the festive season, not this year though. Maybe its a response to two years of uncertainty and a lockdown that has triggered this whirlwind of creativity, Desert Psychlist doesn't know, but December 2022 is turning out to be just as busy as all the other months leading up to it have been this year. One of those bands gracing us with a December release are North Dakota's Gypsy Wizard Queen, a trio consisting of Chris Ellingson (guitar/vocals); Chad Heille (drums) and Mitch Martin (bass/vocals), whose self-titled debut is a highly enjoyable blend of stoner rock/metal, heavy psych and the blues sprinkled with southern and country rock textures.

You might expect a song titled "Witch Lung" to be some doomic tome boasting  reverberating low tuned riffs, ponderous rhythms and harsh type vocal content and in parts that is exactly what this opening number is, in other parts however it is a bluesy mix of  heavy psych haziness flecked with just the merest hints of southern swagger and country rock twang, the two differing dynamics coming together to create a Crypt Trip meets Dopelord type vibe that is both diverse and entertaining.  Following track, "Paranoid Humanoid", has a more of a four to the floor stoner rock groove, driven by some impressive drum and bass work from Heille and Martin, that is routinely taken off piste by Ellingson's superb lysergic laced guitar work, it also boasts pretty cool vocals, not exactly rock-god  powerful but clean gritty and highly effective. The excellently titled "Yeti Davis Eyes" is up next and like "Witch Lung" blends full on heavy stoneristic rock with heavy psychedelics only this time with the vocals taking on an almost rap style meter while "The Good Ride" is a languid country tinted instrumental with low rumbling bass and steady solid drumming creating the perfect platform for Ellingson to launch twanging guitar motifs and swirling solos from. Closing track, "Stoned Age", is like listening to the Allman Brothers jamming with Egypt after they've necked copious amounts of steroids and speed, which is not surprising when you consider Heille was once Egypt's drummer, either way it's a barnstormin' finale to what is a pretty barnstormin' album.

"Gypsy Wizard Queen" might not come wrapped in festive paper with a neat bow and a gift card sitting on top but it has landed wham bang thank you mam in the middle of a month not normally known for its quality releases, so if you are a fan of seriously good hard rock, spliced with elements of country rock and heavy psych, then you cannot go far wrong in gifting this to yourself this Christmas. or for that matter anytime of the year
Check it out ..... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones