I’m never going to be kind of pretentious and pretend like I’m some kind of musician (unless you count high school marching band drumline) or a singer (except in the shower, and there, the world is my stage). I’m certainly not one to critique your guitar playing or rate things in a super technical way, argue about where things should fit in a super specific subgenre, etc.
At the end of the day, I’m mostly just a girl who appreciates magnificent and particularly heavy sounds and words, especially when they come together to make what we call music. This might sound incredibly silly, but when I choose my favorite new releases for the month, I primarily go by how music makes me feel. If a song or album really resonates with me emotionally, that will differentiate them from a band that is “pretty cool” to a band that is worthy of a Doom Charts nomination from me.
Music can obviously make us feel happy, excited, in love, nostalgic, all those lovely positive emotions. However, I think it’s the negative ones that really make us appreciate our favorite song. When you hear a song that reminds you of a time that you felt sad, angry, bitter, depressed, jealous, neglected, or something generally bad, you tend to identify with it even more.
There’s something about hearing someone else talk, write, or sing about the very way you’ve felt to make you feel less alone. Like I said, I’m not in a band, I’m not nearly that cool. But, if I were, especially if I were a songwriter, I’d be psyched if someone told me that my song resonated with them in some way. I feel like that’s the whole point. Isn’t that why humans have always made music historically?
We dig the way it makes us feel, and it brings us together. Whether it’s the lyrics, the images or feeling conveyed by the instrumentals or both, music will always be something that humans can identify with on a personal level.
The reason I bring this up is because October was a month that allowed me to appreciate this aspect of the music I love even more. I had more than my fair share of unlucky things that occurred this month, and many of October’s new releases seemed to be just what the doctor ordered to help me through them. September may have brought us a slew of amazing new albums, but I actually think I appreciate October’s offering a bit more; so many of these albums spoke directly to me.
Without further ado, here is my exact submission to the Doom Charts this month, in descending order. I’ve written a little something about my top 9.
Doomcakes’ Top 17 Albums for October
17. GRAVE SPEAKER – GRAVE SPEAKER
15. KADABRA – UMBRA
13. DEATHCHANT – THRONES
11. BLACK GLOW – BLACK GLOW
10. ZQKMGDZ – ZEITMACHINE PEOPLE
9. BLOOD LIGHTNING – BLOOD LIGHTNING
I really appreciated this album for one big reason: This is straight up heavy metal and no BS. For me, Blood Lightning’s debut album is a super fun listen that I love putting on when I need a little energy boost. I put this bad boy on the other day when I was chopping vegetables for soup, to help make a mundane task way more brutal. It worked. And it was great soup, trust me.
Favorite track: The Dying Starts
8. LA CHINGA – PRIMAL FORCES
La Chinga’s fourth album, Primal Forces, is an album full of nothing but bops. Every song is great, upbeat, and sure to put you in a good mood. I was definitely pleasantly surprised by this album. After hearing how catchy their single Light it Up was, I assumed this album would be a one and done. Was I ever wrong!
Favorite track: Electric Eliminator
7. HOWLING GIANT – GLASS FUTURE
Howling Giant’s new album got my attention primarily because it does a phenomenal job of painting a picture, setting a scene, and putting you on an epic journey in your mind. The band’s relatively soothing style of combining stoner, desert, and progressive rock make for an awesome listening experience that you won’t want to end…
Favorite track: Aluminum Crown
6. BEASTWARS – TYRANNY OF DISTANCE
New Zealand’s Beastwars have bestowed upon us an album’s worth of some of the best viscous, sludgy goodness complete with raggedy basslines and vocals that go from melodic to shrieking with emotion at the drop of a hat. It’s hard to describe in words, you really have to give it a listen for yourself to appreciate how the contrast of harsh and lovely works so well here. I was actually surprised to learn that this album is made up entirely of cover songs!
Favorite track: High and Lonely
5. PURPLE KONG – BLOOD LIGHTNING
Blood Lightning is an album that can best be described as “space sludge”, yet the vocals are incredibly melodic, making for a surprisingly smooth listening experience. Much like the aforementioned Beastwars album, this is another great example of big, burly riffs coming together with dulcet vocals to create a great combination. There’s also a healthy amount of variety on this record; you’ll be hard pressed to find a skippable song here.
Favorite track: Cocaine Pentagram
4. MOOCH – WHEREVER IT GOES
Every song on this album is so unique in style and sound, you could almost question whether you’re listening to an entirely different band altogether when the track changes. Contributing to that wonderful variety may be the fact that Mooch actually has three lead vocalists. There’s a little bit of everything on this album: stoner, desert, grunge, alternative, some banjo pickin’…but I found Wherever It Goes to have a very chill vibe overall.
Favorite track: Facedown
3. PHE – NOTHING ELSE IS REAL
Phe managed to cram a whole lot of groovy riffs and progressive rock goodness into the five tracks on their latest EP, Nothing Else is Real. They begin with the fast-paced stoner rock jam, Mirror the Ghost, and keep things very progressive stoner after that, taking the listener on quite the journey. The best thing about this EP for me is the way it ebbs and flows so smoothly.
Favorite track: Saviour
2. THE HEAVY MINDS – BEYOND GLOOM
Upon listening to The Heavy Minds, I was immediately hearkened back to a simpler time, during which there were plentiful moments to dream and contemplate the hows and whys of life. Stream of consciousness lyrics and music that is primarily bright and airy make the sound feel like a daydream, yet the heavy undertone ensures that you keep one foot firmly planted in grim reality. I can’t help but be reminded of bands like Oasis from the 90s alternative rock era, with that signature garage rock sound, but The Heavy Minds is so much more complex in the best way.
Favorite track: Nothing
#1 GIANT LUNGS – GIANT LUNGS
Giant Lungs has graced us with a beautiful representation of stoner/desert rock with their self-titled debut. The vocals whisper, croon, scream when necessary, floating etherically over the heavy, fuzzy stoner rock instrumentals like a subconscious voice in a fever dream. The lyrics, primarily in similes and metaphors as in a poem, create images that are alternatively beautiful, relatable, and ambiguous, leaving the listener contemplative. The percussion is tight, the bass groove is ever present, and bright lead guitar pops through the heaviness like sunbeams through storm clouds. With this juggernaut of a debut, Giant Lungs is well on their way to securing a place as mainstays in the stoner/desert rock genre.
This is certainly one of the best albums I’ve heard this year; it’s all my favorite elements of stoner/desert rock, and even a bit of grunge, wrapped up in a lovely package and executed beautifully. My favorite thing about Giant Lungs’ debut is it’s an incredibly groovy yet emotive experience simultaneously, and I absolutely live for that stuff.
Favorite track: Ego
So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading my list as much as I enjoyed making it. As alluded to earlier, this was a month that I poured my entire heart and soul into when it comes to music, and I hope that aided me in properly representing these amazing albums!