Wednesday 20 December 2023

DESERT PSYCHLIST'S BEST OF 2023

 

Well that came around pretty quick, it only seems like five minutes ago Desert Psychlist was compiling our list for 2022, oh well here we go. The concept is the same as it was for last year, 30 albums/EP's that rocked our collective world at Stonerking Towers and made a stressful year bearable, as like last year we have to stress that these are our picks and may differ greatly from your own but then that's how these things work, also we need to tell you that the text accompanying these choices are a mix of snippets of reviews posted on these pages and blurbs we posted on the various artists Bandcamp pages. That done let's get this thing rolling. 

30; MORAG TONG ~ GRIEVE

Psych, stoner, sludge, prog this album has it all, its main attribute however is atmosphere, an element the band wield as if it was an instrument in it's own right. We called it "a powerful and uncompromising album that picks its targets and hits them with unerring accuracy" and we still stand behind that statement.


29; ASTRONOMIE ~ INTERSTELLAR NOMAD

Excellent space themed doom with a touch of Hawkwind in its make-up, heavy ass-kicking riffs, powerful rhythms and vocals that range from mournful to soaring, we dubbed this one "crushing AND spacious"


28; URSULAR ~ PRETA

Those who think that a saxophone should not be allowed within a hundred miles of a doom album might have to rethink their stance after hearing "Preta", the introduction of the instrument into the bands dark but not overly crushing grooves does not detract one iota from their take on doom, in fact it enhances it tenfold..


27; SNAKEMOTHER ~ SNAKEMOTHER

Highly impressive blend of alt-rock, doom and occult rock from these Californian groovsters, an amalgamation of crushing heaviness and ethereal elegance that is as times jagged and jarring and at others soothing and seductive.


26; SONIC DEMON ~ VETERANS OF THE SONIC WAR

Given Desert Psychlist's love of the Italian acid doom/scuzz scene it was only fitting that one album from that genre would make it on to this list, so why this one we hear you ask well the answer is because this is the nastiest of them all!


25ABEL BLOOD ~ ARRIVAL OF THE WAVES

This is an audial experiences that both enriches and elevates, an album that takes you to places only really great music can and "Arrival of the Waves" is REALLY great music. 
 

24; TUSOC - √ČTER

A stunning opus from a country whose music scene is fast growing in international stature, it is not a particularly heavy album nor is it one you could describe as being ambient but it does posses elements of both those dynamics. Tusoc's sound is an embracing one, it is a musical hug that wraps around you and pulls you in, and we all need a hug sometimes.
  

23; ACID THRONE ~ KINGDOM'S DEATH

One of the best albums of blackened heaviness released by a British outfit this year, an album that borders on the edges of  the extreme in places but cleverly never goes fully over that edge, the band retaining an element of groove in their music that will appeal to ALL metal fans rather than just a select few.


22; LUCID SINS ~ DANCING IN THE DARK

Absolutely stunning blend of 70's folk rock, rural tinted psych and pastoral occult rock, great music played with true heart and a real belief in what they do.
  

21; DIXIE GOAT ~ ORDER, CHAOS, LIFE AND DEATH

Dixie Goat could put out an album of nursery rhymes and Desert Psychlist would still buy it, these guys just don't have a bad album in them and this release is testimony to that fact.


20; PRAISE THE SUN ~ SINISTER & UNHINGED

Probably an album that won't be found on many end of year lists but in our opinion should be gracing them all, this albums tales of serial murderers, police investigations and sons of deities are truly the stuff nightmares are made of..


19; SHADOW OF JUPITER ~ PORTA COELI

Shadow of Jupiter jam a stoner/doom/heavy psych dynamic, a dynamic built not just on riffs but also on atmosphere and texture, all of which are major components of this stunning debut.


18; FIRE DOWN BELOW ~ LOW DESERT SURF CLUB

Fire Down Below hail from Ghent, Belgium so probably the nearest these guys have ever got to an actual desert is a sandpit in their local children's playground but that has not stopped them capturing that authentic driving desert rock sound we all love and cherish


17TURN ME ON DEAD MAN - CASSIOPEIA

Great songs, strong musicianship and grooves you can really get your teeth into what more could you 
possibly want from an album. A truly stunning mix of psych, shoegaze, metal and prog.


16; CAVERN DEEP - PART II-BREACH

The second instalment of Cavern Deep's Lovecraftian flavoured saga is a masterpiece of musicianship and imagination.


15HOWLING GIANT - GLASS FUTURE

Howling Giant deservedly sit at the the top table with the likes of Elder, All Them Witches and King Buffalo, bands who consistently deliver the goods while still remaining innovative and exciting. This is their best album yet!


14; MASSASAUGA - THE ONLY GOOD WIZARD IS A DEAD WIZARD

Another release that possibly may not feature on many of those best of lists for 2023 but we fell in love with these tunes from the very first listen and we are still in love with them now.


13PEREGRINO - BONGOBONZOO

Looking to dip your toes into the South American underground scene for the very first time then we could not recommend a better starting point than Peregrino's full length debut, it's not just a great South American album, it's a great album FULL STOP!


12SPIRAL SHADES - REVIVAL

Those out there with a penchant for the retro tinted witchy grooves of Parrish, Sleepwulf and Green Lung will throw their wicker cross effigies into the air with unbridled joy when they get a load of Spiral Shades "Revival", but so will those who came to this crossroads on a diet of Pentagram, Black Sabbath and Pagan Altar.


11ALMOST HONEST - THE HEX OF PENN'S WOODS

A jagged mix of funky prog, spiky stoner metal and schizophrenic hard rock that breaks more musical rules than it adheres to.


10; DOPELORD - SONGS FOR SATAN

If anyone wants to argue that Dopelord are not one the heaviest, most musically tight and most vocally melodic bands currently ploughing a furrow through the stoner-doom scene then they might want to take it up with the man they wrote these tunes for.


09; VOID KING - THE HIDDEN HYMNAL

This is not an album populated with songs about wizards, witches and things that go bump in the night 
it is instead an album packed with songs that tackle everyday situations and events, subject matter we can all relate to.
 

08WITCHTHROAT SERPENT - TROVE OF ODDITIES AT THE DEVIL'S DRIVEWAY

This album sees Witchthroat Serpent moving slightly away from the Electric Wizard influences that have informed much of their previous work and finding their own unique signature sound, still a sum of those influences but not shackled by them.


07ACID KING - BEYOND VISION

The musicianship throughout Acid King's comeback album "Beyond Vision" is off the scale as is its concept of allowing each song to bleed into the next to make it feel more like a complete journey. Acid King are back, may they never leave us again.


06HAIL THE VOID - MEMENTO MORI

Hail the Void, Hail the Riff, Hail the Groove! This is psychedelic doom of truly high quality, an album of music so good, so vital and so powerful you will be coming back to listen to it not just once or twice but for the rest of your time on this earth.


05GRANDMA'S ASHES - THIS TOO SHALL PASS

This Paris based trio know their way around a good groove and this album is full of such grooves but what is really mind-blowing is their understanding of how to weave into those grooves elements of light and shade.


04; ACID MAGUS - HOPE IS HEAVY

Riffs and melody combined with strong song writing and killer arrangements makes this a must have in anyone's book. This is the musical equivalent of South African gold!


03HIPPIE DEATH CULT - HELICHRYSUM

Trimming down to a trio and pushing their bass player in front of a mic seems to have been the making of Hippie Death Cult, not only do this band sound tighter than they have done before they sound more vital, more forceful and a hell of a lot more exciting, long may that continue.


02; GREEN LUNG - THIS HEATHEN LAND

Everything this band have released to date has been a step up in strength and quality from its predecessor and that is again the case with new album "This Heathen Land". Many people think rock music can only be deemed "classic" if it has been around for certain period of time, Green Lung disprove that theory by making classic rock for the here and now and hopefully the coming future.


01LORD MOUNTAIN - THE OATH

We imagine there will be a few surprised faces reading that Lord Mountain's "The Oath" has made our #1 spot but this album has become a dominant force here at Stonerking Towers with hardly a day going by without its dulcet doomic tones being blasted out from the Towers upper windows. "The Oath" is an album that recalls a simpler time, a time when "sludge" was just a descriptive term for industrial waste and "blackened" referred to a cooking process using spices, however these grooves should not be considered "retro" as they carry too much originality, "vintage" (something that represents the best of its kind) would be a far, far better description.


Well, that's it for 2023 folks, only thing left to do now is the shout outs. 
Michele for all her love, hard work and support, stoner princes and princesses Vikki, Billy, Sian, 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 page) for riding the time machine, the wonderful Leanne Ridgeway (of Riff Relevant) for always finding ways to make us laugh even while having to fight her own battles, 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 because without you there would be no Desert Psychlist.

THANK YOU ALL!!!!



© 2023 Frazer Jones

1 comment:

  1. That's a damn fine list. Lots of my favorites for the year are included. Thank you for all the work you put in writing, reviewing, and generally promoting this great music!

    ReplyDelete