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...
#30; NARBO DACAL ~ NARBO DACAL"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.
#29; RED SUN ATACAMA ~ DARWIN
High quality desert rock!
Absolutely loved their last album "Licancabur" so had big hopes for this one and was not disappointed,
#28; SWAMP LANTERN ~ THE LORD IS WITH US
"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.
#27; GNOME ~ KING
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.
#26; COMA HOLE ~ COMA HOLE
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.
#25; SAMÁN ~ II. MONTAÑA ROJA
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.
#24; WITCHSNAKE ~ WITCHSNAKE
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.
#23; INCHE KAI CHE ~ INCHE KAI CHE
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.
#22; MOUNT SATURN ~ O, GREAT MOON
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.
#21; STONE NOMADS ~ FIELDS OF DOOM
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.
#20; MOUNTAINS ~ TIDES END
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.
#19; SPELLBOOK ~ DEADLY CHARMS
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.
#18; THAL ~ SWARM THE MANDALA
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!
#17; SLEEPWULF ~ SUNBEAMS CURL
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
#16; MOURA ~ AXEXAN, ESPREITAN
An album with its feet planted in not one genre but several, ranging from traditional Iberian folk right
through to heady cosmic space rock
#15: MWWB ~ THE HARVEST
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
#14; REALM DRIFTER ~ REALM DRIFTER
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!
#13; YURT ~ V-UPGRADE TO OBSOLETE
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.
#12; BAARDVADER ~ FOOLISH FIRES
Grunge meets stoner in an enthralling mix of Alice in Chains like slurriness and Graveyard flavoured fuzzy stoner bluesiness
#11; PARALYZED ~ HEAVY ROAD
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".
#10; MAMMOTH VOLUME ~ THE CURSED WHO PERFORM THE LAVAGOD RITES
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.
#09: ROSY FINCH ~ SECONDA MORTE
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.
#08; MESSA ~ CLOSE
Dynamic, dark, diverse and delightful, "Close" is an album that delivers on every level.
#07; OREYEON ~ EQUATIONS FOR THE USELESS
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!"
#06; OBIAT ~ INDIAN OCEAN
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.
#05; VITSKAR SUDEN ~ THE FACELESS KING
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.
#04; SERGEANT THUNDERHOOF ~ THIS SCEPTRED VEIL
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"
#03; GAUPA ~ MYRIAD
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.
#02; ELDER ~ INNATE PASSAGE
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!
#01; THE OTOLITH ~ FOLIUM LIMINA
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.
THANK YOU ALL!!!!
# 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