My Top 10 Stoner/Doom Releases: April, 2023

2023 isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. We’ve had a stellar year in the hard and heavy underground, and the way things look, we’re only getting started. Which makes these lists a challenge.

But here it is: the best of the best that I listened to this month. These are the exact titles in the exact order that I submitted to the Doom Charts. I’m opting to start at #1 this month, and not do the countdown thing. As always, ANY of these coulda been the best for me, and might be for you.

And I can’t escape the feeling that there’s a couple that I missed…

  1. Dope Skum – Gutter South

That opening riff sets the tone, chords that harken back to an older time and place. It’s “dank,” not in the current sense of the word, but old and musty and hard to get rid of. It’s the kind of riff that bores itself into my brain and keeps digging long after the song is over. This is the real shit I search for, always. The thing is, after my interview with Cody, I got even more out of it than the first 20 times I listened. It’s a surprisingly deep release, and one I’ll go back to for years to come. Check out the first part of the interview below

2. FAERIE RING – WEARY TRAVELER

These moogerfoogers sound like they’re having a BLAST pumping out some of the most magically delicious tunes I’ve heard all year. Everyone gets the spotlight at the party. A band of equals who give one another room to do their thang. It’s fucking intoxicating.

This is one of the most balanced and creative releases I’ve heard this year. I think fans of classic old-school rock will dig it as much as the Stoner/Doom fans. It’s virtually tied with my #1, and is probably going to join Acid King and Hail the void us frontrunner for album of the year for a lot of people. This has to be experienced to be believed!

3. MESSA – LIVE AT ROADBURN

There are some people who dismiss live albums as inconsequential “greatest-hit” compilations with tons of overdubs and artificial crowd noise. Fair enough, but that ain’t the case with Messa. No, this isn’t their heavier material. And no, it’s not going to smash your face with crushing DOOM. But what the recording does do is introduce you to the elegance, the atmosphere, and the elevated performances from some of the best musicians on the planet, regardless of genre. Messa transcends Doom, metal, prog, and whatever label you need to use to understand them. Sara’s voice is truly incomparable, and the recording is equally sublime.

4. WE FOLLOW THE EARTH – LIGHTBEARER

In Space, all you can do is SCREAM! Not only is this remarkably effective Doom, it’s one of the few recordings that feels like watching a first-rate horror movie. In space! Not for the meek or timid, this is a laser-focused work of art that hopefully hints at more to come. It’s kinda what I thought Cygnus X-1 should have been like…

5. DOZER – DRIFTING IN THE ENDLESS VOID

Any other month, any other year, and this is a natural #1. I still think this will have the top spot when all the Doom Charts tabulations are done. Dozer is one of THE bands responsible for our scene in the aftermath of Kyuss. They are such a part of the Stoner/Doom/Desert DNA that it’s easy to forget how pivotal they were, and with Drifting in the Endless Void, still are.

6. VOID KING – THE HIDDEN HYMNAL

I keep telling ya, take the #6 position and all ranked albums with a grain of salt. This is probably the heaviest, most pure Stoner/Doom recording on this list. the guitars are positively subterranean, and the vocals are soaringly operatic without ever sounding cheesy or over the top. Absolutely fantastic, and with a concept follow-up already in the works, this won’t be the last time Void King makes noise in the foreseeable future.

7. DORTHIA COTRELL – DEATH FOLK COUNTRY

While I love absolute plodding heaviness, that sensibility isn’t limited to mega-amps and pounding drums. Sometimes, the doomiest Doom comes from other sources and inspiration. Death Folk Country has all the oppressive and heart-rending melancholy of the best of the genre, presented with a folk/country vibe that makes the whole thing even more eerie and poignant. Totally unexpected and unrivaled, like everything she does.

8. SMOULDER – VIOLENT CREED OF VENGEANCE

What’s better than your favorite reviewer of all time introducing you to a fantastic album? That very same reviewer releasing one herself. I can’t deny it, Sarah is one of my inspirations for doing this whole reviewing thing. But this isn’t just a charity pick for a favorite person. Violent Creed of Vengeance is epic metal that makes use of everything that makes metal great. Even blastbeats!

9. 1782 – CLAMOR LUCIFERI

I don’t usually think of Spring as the perfect season for some of the best Doom we’re likely to hear this year. All things considered, considering the bleak outlook all over the media, they might be on to something. Regardless, the ALWAYS reliable 1782 have once again released their best one so far. I say make everyday a bleak day in late November! If the sun’s a bit too hot and bright this Summer, Clamor Luciferi will give you the dark shadows you need.

10. ACRUX – CREATION

Lastly, and I realize this came out in March, but I got a message on social media that simply said, “Maybe you like Acrux.” I didn’t think much about it, but it stayed in the back of my mind, like a little tickle from a floating feather wisping in the breeze. Really, just like that. It took days to find it, just a quiet little response. The kind that can get real LOUD once instinct kicks in.

And yeah, I like Acrux. A lot. Although this one-man show from Spain is a little hard to find. Four songs, all released as singles, assembled quietly as an EP titled Creation. This is first class post-rock, doomgaze, whatever you need to call it.

His YouTube has like 45 subscribers. I’d go fucking nuts if each one of you moogerfoogers liked and subscribed. Blow him away the way his music will probably blow you away! I have no clue why I can’t embed the channel, but here’s a link:

https://www.youtube.com/@acrux7572/about

And…April is now a wrap! Newbie and I truly appreciate every person who clicks on this site and supports the bands. It’s just been a total blast doing this, hearing new stuff and talking to bands.

Please check out our YouTube channel as well. We think this is the best way to introduce the people behind the noise to an audience. To be honest, we need subscribers in order to keep the channel going, and get more bands to a wider audience. Everything you do makes a difference to them: whether you’re buying off of Bandcamp or streaming on your service of choice. But nothing can compete with the power and reach of Youtube!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2DeGZ-rqcb53iIAhe3tFgg

Okay, I gotta get to work on May. Wait ’till you hear what’s coming!!!

-Scott and Julie

Leave a Reply