The Heavy Planet Stoner Rock Blog helps to promote independent and unsigned Stoner Rock, Heavy Rock, Desert Rock, Experimental, Psychedelic, Doom and Sludge bands. We also provide reviews, interviews, streaming music and insightful articles on the bands featured on Heavy Planet. We are purveyors of the finest Stoner Rock, Doom, Psychedelic and Sludge Metal since 2008.
As per usual 2017 had it’s fair share of amazing releases. These are the ones that I listened to the most. This is also, unfortunately a very bittersweet list as this will be the last post you will ever see on Heavy Planet. Yes, after ten awesome years, we have decided to hang it up. The site will still be here for your reference and we will not be going away forever. We will still continue to post new bands/news on our Facebook and Twitter pages as well as provide new playlists and some other cool surprises and projects along the way. Thanks to the number of you that have been with us from the early days. Don’t think of this as the end, think of this as a new beginning. Stay heavy and doom on! ~Reg
10. Hypergiant-Father Sky
I had this band in my queue for the longest time to check out and man am I glad I did. This Australian band manages to seemlessly blend anything from progressive sludge metal to vintage classic rock with ease. Vocals, production and musicianship are top notch.
09. Spaceslug- Time Travel Dilemma
Intergalactic Cosmic Stoner Doom at it's very best. This heavy trio from Poland pushes the outer limits with thoughtful song structures, meditative rhythms and clever guitar riffing. The album also features guest vocals from Sander Haagmans of Sungrazer. Proof that Stoner Rock is not a one-trick pony. Expand your mind and take a trip with Spaceslug today.
Very cool album from this 3-piece from Austin, TX. The album is a whirlwind of huge fuzzy Stoner riffs, smooth soloing, trippy psychedelics, proto-metal goodness and an underlying organ that puts you in a chilled out mood. "Lanesplitter" is fucking epic!
07. Bernelius-Space Drifter
I got to be quite honest with you, I listened to this album at least three times without realizing it is only one guy. I am usually turned off by one-man "bands" because of the self-indulgence factor but damn does he pull it off. Amazing production and stellar musicianship throughout.
06. Mutoid Man-War Moans
There are not enough adjectives to describe just how ridiculous this album is. This little slice of hypermetal heaven is filled with ferocious vocal hooks, crazed guitar effects , thunderous drumming and a huge nod to the 80's metal scene.
05. John Garcia- The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues
Stripped down acoustic versions of some Kyuss favorites as well as a few newbies. The songs have such a cool vibe and softness but still absolutely attack your psyche with their heaviness and beauty. John's vocal is so powerful and soulful. Take a listen to "Green Machine" with it's mysterious and dark somberness. Damn!
04. Deadly Vipers-Fueltronaut
I am not quite sure why this album didn't garner more attention last year. The album is chock full of just about everything a Stoner Rock fan would drool over, plus the album was mastered by Kent Stump (Wo Fat). Think Kyuss meets Truckfighters, hell yes.
03. The Age of Truth-Threshold
Talk about a punch it the face, these Philly lads came out swinging with their hard-hitting and melodic debut. Awesome vocals, a tight rhythm section and great song-writing had me hooked since it's release.
02. Elder-Reflections of a Floating World
This band continues to progress with each album and has made numerous year -end top 10 lists for the mere fact that it is just plain amazing. The album is brilliantly heavy and has a great flow to it. No hit singles on this baby, just album making at it's finest.
01. Telekinetic Yeti-Abominable
Wow, talk about an amazing debut. This 2-piece band took the world by storm with great riffs and kick ass drumming. These guys feed off each other remarkably well and the fuzz just oozes out of the speakers. Can't wait to see them in DC with 1000mods.
If you have not heard of Tony Reed he is the guitarist and vocalist for the Mos Generator, Stone Axe, Heavy Pink, Hot Spring Water and Twelve Thirty Dreamtime, he has played in more bands then I can list and runs his own studio in Port Orchard Wa called Heavy Head Recording. The man is a master of his craft and tone, and has received many accolades for his ear and musicality from respected piers. The list of bands and labels he has recorded/mixed and mastered range from Saint Vitus, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Gojira and many many more, he has also done work for STB, Ripple Music etc.. Tony is endorsed by Hiwatt, Laney and Lace pickups.
In the summer of 1990 when I first met Tony, A group of us went out to Lake Crescent (about 16 miles west of Port Angeles Wa) for some beers and fun in the sun. I had heard of Tony through friends in our small scene and he was already a bit of a local legend in regards to his music skills. I had just started playing guitar and was finding bands that would forever help shape the person who've I become today, one of those bands I had listened to and enjoyed was the Treepeople and it just so happened that Tony was wearing a Something Viscous for Tomorrow shirt (treepeople) and I commented "nice shirt", he laughed and said "thanks..". I would be informed on the ride home that Tony was the drummer for the Treepeople and little did I know then that our paths would cross many more times over the next 26 years evolving into a great friendship. I have been lucky enough to torture this man with recording my projects over the last couple decades and have learned a great great deal from him about what it is to be in a band and play music.
Jon- From my perspective 2017 seemed like a great year for Mos Gen, touring as support for Saint Vitus through Europe and the west coast run with Fu Manchu. What would you like to achieve in 2018 that you haven’t already?
Tony- We didn't do anything for the first half of 2017. I don't think we played any shows until June. We went to Europe with Saint Vitus in October and did three weeks with them and then two weeks as a headlining band. We came home and did some West Coast shows with Fu Manchu into about mid November. Our goals for 2018 have already started to come together. We are going to be doing an extensive US tour with most of that again being with Fu Manchu and we are in the negotiations for a really nice run of Europe in the summer. In early fall we are playing a few festivals in the states including Descendants of Crom and Doomed and Stoned over in the Midwest. We will most likely tour around that. We are also in the middle of working on the next record “Shadowlands“. That's coming together nicely.. we decided to kind of bring back the sound of the earlier albums keep it more simple and direct although there are a few Prog explorations on it.
I was thinking yesterday about when in my life the musical “awakening” happened for me. What would be the biggest factor that drew you into this life that’s so encapsulated with music?
Tony- I think the biggest factor for me is just the need to do it. There's always been a drive ever since I can really remember. I didn't get to play music until I was 12 or 13 years old but ever since then I've just given everything to making music, whether it's successful or not is another thing. I give 100% of myself to that and I always have so I really it's I guess it's just ingrained in my DNA. Like most musicians, I literally have to do it to feel fulfilled.
In the early 90’s you were in Treepeople with Doug Martsch (Built to Spill) and later with Goodbye Harry you recorded with Greg Ginn at SST, what other notable things have you done in you musical career and what do you hope people remember you for musically?
Tony-Although those were highlights in my youth I was also making really interesting, intricate and diverse music of my own during those years. I would really want to be remembered for my work with Twelve Thirty Dreamtime, Mos Generator, Stone Axe and whatever else I have to offer through the rest of these years I have left. I have no idea what's going to happen, you know I have the HeavyPink and Hot Spring Water side projects so you never know what that could bring as well.
Both you and I have seen many changes in the musical landscape over the last 20 to 30 years, where do you think the genre’s Mos is associated with is heading, has it peaked or is it just getting started?
Tony- Well I've been playing this heavy rock music for and with Mos for 18 years and I've seen a lot of ups and downs in the scene and a lotta changes and fluctuations. Now it's possibly at its zenith and I would say that it probably has peaked which is good in some ways because people will figure out different interpretations of the style we are working in and add new flavors to it. I’m excited to see that happening and enjoy growing with the changes.
You are probably the most driven person I know as far as living and breathing music, not only are you in more then one band but you also mix and record everyday and are constantly learning the art of song craft..where does this constant drive come from and is their a final goal?
Tony- There's no real final goal with all of this and I really just want respect as a musician. Obviously there's no money in it, but being well respected and remembered would be great. Everybody wants to leave a legacy and that is something that that I'm interested in. I want to be known as a musician, music lover and a songwriter.
If you could've been in any band past or present, who and what instrument? And what riff or song do you wish you’d written?
Tony- When I think about that question I think about the artists or bands that have been the most influential on me and then I also think I could never do what they do. That's my ultimate goal anyway and I don't feel like I've even reached that kind of level in my writing. I would love to be Tony Iommi or Alex lifeson but I really don't think that I could ever see myself in their position, I can only use their writing as influence on me so that's a really difficult question. That being said I wish I had written “Killing Yourself To Live”. I’ve spent most of my life trying to come close.
So their you have it, do yourself a favor and catch Mos Generator live and this spring with Fu Manchu. Keep your eyes out for the new album "Shadowlands" on Listenable Records in May. -Jon-
Ok, we'll admit it, we've got no idea how to pronounce this band's name either, but what really matters when it comes to these Danish dudes is that they fucking rock! This self-titled debut EP is four songs of killer desert stoner jams and crushing riffs, just how we all like it. The guys aren't breaking any new ground, but rather showing you how good the floor you're walking on is already!
Check out their debut EP, and keep your eye on these guys in the very near future.
10. Hark - Maschinations It's a damn shame that these guys have just announced they're splitting up as they're one of the most technical and experimental with their riffing in the stoner genre. At least we have two excellent records to remember them by.
9. Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper
You really need to spend some time with this record, not just because of the 83 minute running length of the one song here, but with its layers and emotional turmoil within. A wonderful tribute to a fallen friend.
8. Godhunter - Codex Narco
Heavy and beautiful Nine Inch Nails doing doom sounding album. This has been my nicest suprise of the year.
7. Telekinetic Yeti - Abominable Two guys making this much noise in the stoner/doom scene is always something to behold. Fuzzy riffs upon slower fuzzy riffs make this an excellent debut release.
6. OHHMS - The Fool If you get a chance to see these guys live, go do it! Much like their shows, this debut full-length is heavy, often chaotic, and often beautifully stripped back. A superb record.
5. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs - Feed The Rats I still enjoy telling people about this band, mainly for the name, but because their sound is an awesome mix of stoner psychedelic pounding. There's only three songs here, but with two of them hitting the 20 minute mark, you know they're something special.
4. Spaceslug - Time Travel Dilemma These Polish stoners are going from strength to strength with each release, exemplifying the claustrophobic riffs with the hazy vocals and heavy-ass song structures, I can't wait to hear what they come up with next.
3. Elder - Reflections of a Floating World I really don't need to say anything about this. Go read every other End of Year list that any publication has put out and you will see this on there. The best band in the genre at present.
2. REZN - Let It Burn I've had almost an entire year to listen to this record on repeat over and over, and the heaviness of it all never fails to floor me each time. A truly excellent record.
1. Forming The Void - Relic This has been the standout record for me this year, by some way, with it's psychedelic tendencies, doom riffs, stoner wanderings, powerful vocals (that guy can sing!!)and one of the best Led Zeppelin covers i've heard. We've had our eye on Forming The Void for some time now, and hearing 'Relic' makes us feel like proud dads.
That's it from me this year, as a whole we've been a bit on the quiet side at Heavy Planet HQ, but we've never stopped listening to everything we've been able to get our hands on, that flame will never die out. I hope each and every one of you have had a great year, and I hope that you do everything you can to make 2018 an even better one.
Back in June of 2015, we said of Forest of Legend's demo that they 'have the potential in them to make an incredible record. Watch this space'. Well, we write this review with big gloating grins on our faces, the guys have come through with the goods!
The three piece Virginians have taken the doom genre by the scruff of the neck and spat bile down it's throat with their self-titled debut. The vocals of Gage Shanahan are dirty and pissed off, giving the drawn out riffs an added urgency of anger and guttural desperation that builds each crushing riff into a crashing display of power, prevalant on opening track 'Lightbringer' with elements of sludge thrown into their standard heavy doom riffing. To give these guys just a 'doom' would do a disservice to their other exploratory sounds as they often trail off into psych guitar solos or power riffs that will beat your brain to mush.
As the crawling 'Cursed By Night' rains down upon you, you begin to realise that these guys mean some serious business. Often elements of Sleep and Black Sabbath are at the forefront of what they do, but the references to their peers are a tribute, not a rip off, as layers of orgasmically crushing riffing comes over you in waves, and you accept it full force. With all tracks landing between 7-8 minutes in length, it's not a record for the feint hearted. The band flitter between slightly high tempo doom ('Neptune's Glacier')and the slow-crushing stuff we all adore ('Divine Greataxe') and they feed so well into one another.
Each track is a powerhouse standout, with tracks 'Bane of the Black Lung', 'Holy Throne' and 'Brotherhood of the Black Sun' all warranting the same superlatives such as "heavy as fuck", "crushing our spines" and "riff upon riff upon riff of glorious riffs". We said these guys would make something special, and how right we were. One of the underground doom albums of the year.
First off, please forgive me as I have not written a review in ages so I may be a little rusty. I felt compelled to write a review of Philly-based band The Age of Truth's debut "Threshold" simply because I think it is one of the best heavy rock records I have heard all year. That is no bullshit! A perfect balance of thoughtful riffs, groove, and melody along with a precise mix lets each musician shine throughout this brilliant debut. But the thing that stands out the most is the incredibly powerful and raspy vocal of Kevin McNamara which soars over each song with a vocal reminiscent of Nick Pollock from 90's band My Sisters Machine (some of you may remember them) and early Chris Cornell, but with a more East Coast vibe, especially on the stagger-driven boogie rocker "Oceanbones" which may remind some of Clutch.
From the crushing bottom blow and crash of the cymbals of opener "Host (Demon In Me), I knew I was in for one hell of a ride. The guitar rings out with strategic echoing and flanged-out effects before feedback leads way to the punishing groove played along to the wailing vocal "I Got A Demon in Me".
The Sabbath-inspired meandering riff of "Come Back A God" will have your head-bobbing. It's grungy and filthy vibe will have you begging for more as it fades into oblivion, you get your wish, but only for a brief moment.
The shining moment on the album is the bass-driven title track "Threshold" that weaves in and out of soft staccato plucking and heavy stoner riffing until the end when it destroys you with a lumbering and penetrating rhythm, but wait, there's more as the vocals beckon "Come on..Come on..." surrounded by another tasty riff. Good heavens.
The music created by The Age of Truth is familiar, yet original. Melodic, catchy and heavy, the songs will get stuck in your head and will have you humming melodies to yourself throughout the day. And the riffs, holy shit, the riffs are non-stop. Forget about this band being labeled as Stoner Rock, they are just an awesome rock band, period. People always say to me that there are no good bands anymore, or I only like the one song from so-and-so band, well you just have to know where to look. This is The Age Of Truth!
With all the crazy shit going on in the world, there is always rock and roll to save the soul, and The Age of Truth is there to lend a hand.
The Age Of Truth is:
Kevin McNamara - Vocals Michael DiDonato - Guitars William Miller - Bass Guitar / Vocals Adam Lauver - Drums
The album is released today digitally and will have a proper vinyl release on Kozmik Artifactz Records sometime early 2018.
Some quick words on one of my Northwest favorites Year of the Cobra's new release. 5 songs that show a band who's growing and maturing at a rapid rate not unlike a face grabber bursting onto an unsuspecting host. Amy's voice and vocal phrasing is haunting, luring and growing, and I mean that respectively as I already thought she was a kickass vocalist. There's plenty of cool things going on here, whether its Amy's bass/vox being effect manipulated or Jon's ripping drum playing leading in and out of fast-slow dynamics. Jon and Amy do a great job of filling up space sonically on record and live,especially since there's only 2 of them and they are hella loud live, which tickles my fancy. If you don't already own their 1st EP and the 1st full length I'd suggest doing so. This dynamic duo is road hardened from back to back tours and guess what, they are in fact heading our on tour starting off in Bozeman MT. Catch them at the Indianapolis Doomed and Stoned fest 2017 Saturday October 7th! Burn your Dead is another fine addition to an already great catalog. Official release Oct 27th.
On Saturday September 30, 2017 at 3:00 PM EST all hell will break loose on the City of Pittsburgh, PA. An event of epic proportions, 17 killer Stoner Rock/Doom/Metal bands are set to ignite the two stages of Cattivo in the Lawrenceville section of the city. This festival is the first of its kind for Pittsburgh and I say it is about damn time! Event organizer Shy Kennedy (Horehound/Blackseed Records) has excelled at putting together such a fine collection of bands, especially by nabbing Pittsburgh-based doom legends Penance (Alpha & Omega lineup). Growing up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh I am a little giddy about this festival. From the scorching NWOBHW sounds of Pittsburgh's own Lady Beast to the instrumental Doomy Jazz of Philly's Stinking Lizaveta, there is enough to appease the tastes of everyone attending.
For the overzealous, there will be an acoustic pre-fest at the Full Pint Wild Side Pub, click here for more info.
The mighty Swamp Ritual hail from Missoula Mt. (as does yours truly), so I was more then pleased to see this 5 song gem of fuzzed out heaviness in my emails. Being a fan of the loud bass and drum duo since early 90's acts like Godheadsilo and later acts like Big business and Year of the Cobra, Sunchaser fits right in holding their own unique sound.. let the tripped out psychedelic 13 min Bearded Dragon take you for a little ride and you'll know what I mean. As I've stated here before I like things loud and heavy and Swamp Ritual are just that, as well as mixing tempo's with catchy foot stomping anthemic vox to straight no vocal sludge instrumentals. Catch them on tour 9-21 starting in Portland Oregon through 10-13 with one of my favorite bands Disenchanter. Buy the tunes with the bandcamp link below, its name your own price. And if you catch them live buy the merch and support your local venues. As I just witnessed in San Jose for Epicenter 2017, Heavy Rock is alive and well! -Jon-
Band Members- Dustin Fugere-4 stringed bassliness, Vocals Sid LaTray-Thunderous thunder drums Drum and bass stoner doom, appearing in a basement near you. http://swampritual.bandcamp.com For booking contact, email@example.com
At the beginning of 2015, we were introduced to a sludge/doom band from Bengaluru, India, with their debut full-length record Stereolithic Riffalocalypse, and it blew us away (review here), so it was sad that we recently heard that Shepherd have decided to call it a day. However, before they leave us for good, they've have released a split record with fellow Indian band Death By Fungi, who onslaught us with a hardcore edge, and it's a nice stamp in the face to remember the band by.
Perhaps it's because they're sharing a record with a hardcore band, or it was a direction that the band were heading down before they called it a day, but Shepherd have lost some of their doomier aspects (just some though) and gone for full on sludge meets hardcore, with elements of fuzzy djent in there too (you remember djent? That musical genre that lasted the summer of 2009?), and it's a sound that's exciting to behold. The record opens with five tracks from Shepherd, with 'Agents of Nihil' setting the tone with a bleak and frightening monologue from the climax of the film The Exorcist 3, before the chaotic sludge explosion assaults you, while their almost trademark chugging bass heavy riffs drive the spine of the song forward, a sound which all us doom/sludge heads will cling to. The vocals mix with light and darker growls, while they even find time to shred while the drums go off like a pneumatic drill. Shepherd, haven't lost their sound, so much as shoved a firecracker up its arse and honed the results. Our highlight of the entire record is 'Hope Comes Gnawing' with an almost funky sludge bassline continues throughout, both exciting and frightening in the same breath. 'Fungalord' and 'Weed Dealer' (Shepherd have always been a band who like to have fun with their song titles, just see 'Turdspeak' or 'Black Cock of Armageddon') are tracks which are both excellent break-neck speed sludge tracks with elements of stoner added in for, well, why the hell not? You can never really relax with these guys as they can change time signatures and pull out devilish riffs from out of nowhere. We're going to miss this band.
While the hardcore genre may not be something with which you guys out there are necessarily drawn to straight away (this being a site for the best stoner/doom/sludge/psych etc), Death By Fungi are not a band that you should ignore. While many of the trademark hardcore elements are there with constant snare beats, breakneck speed playing, high velocity shouting vocals, there are definite elements of something just that bit heavier with this band, just take the riffs with 'Edgelord Breakdown' melting your face with it's furious assault throughout and the anger of the vocals screaming "You've failed me so many times!", they take the elements of sludge which Shepherd bring to the table and put their own spin on it, and it becomes an invigorating and refreshing listen. 'Dead Soil' morphs into a sound which is like doom on acid, with a fluctuating heart rate that'll kill you with a smile on your face.
Even though Shepherd have sped up their sonic game, they're still the slower, sludgier of the two bands here, and the compliment each other well. If this indeed does prove to be Shepherd's final opus (bands do get back together after all) then it's a mighty fine closing on a short, but heavy-as-fuck career, one which you're a fool to have missed so far (but thanks for introducing us to Death By Fungi on your way out). Get this record now and give your ears a good kicking!