Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard

Ah, Electric Wizard. If you don’t know them by now, you will never, never, never know them. No you won’t. Well, scratch that; maybe you will. After all, the legendary doom outfit has just put out their ninth (!) full length record and, although it seems unimaginable that there could be metal heads unfamiliar with the band’s discography and sound, it’s incumbent to remember that not everybody is as old as dirt like yours truly. In fact, it’s been over twenty years since the band first started releasing music so it stands to reason that there are plenty of readers who weren’t even born when Dopethrone dropped and left its massive resin stain on the world of stoner doom and sludge. While that certainly makes me feel old, it also presents an exciting opportunity for younger listeners. THIS IS NOT A DRILL: if you have never listened to Electric Wizard’s seminal album Dopethrone, you are required to take an hour today and give it a spin. Arguably as important as any album in the genre, Dopethrone cemented the sound of filthy, distorted, bass-heavy stoner doom and paved the way for hundreds of bands and albums that followed in its smoky, bongwater-soaked path.

Hypergiant – Father Sky

The early 2000s brought us a wealth of riff-worshipping, bone-quaking goodness  – what has essentially become the foundation of many current doom, stoner, and sludge metal acts. Bands like Mastodon, High on Fire, and Baroness expanded upon the standard set by metal’s forefathers with more progressive tendencies, expansive arrangements, fiercer presentation, technically demanding performances, and (presumably) better strains of grass. At the same time (and likely benefitting from the same improved… *ahem* genetics), there was also a bubble of traditionalists like The Sword, Wolfmother, and Saviours who made the case that a more conventional approach was worth revisiting, reinvigorating classic sounds for a new generation of headbangers. It’s from this very specific nexus that Australia’s Hypergiant explode, harkening back to familiar territories on both sides of this early-00s coin.

Northless – Last Bastion of Cowardice

As a genre, sludge has it tough. As the oft-neglected son of the more well-established sounds of doom metal and hardcore, sludge often seems trapped in relative obscurity compared to other thriving and evolving scenes of the past few decades. Whereas, for example, black metal has consistently expanded its worldwide…

Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper

I was 15 when I witnessed honest, heart-crushing grief for the first time. My father is a stoic man. Reserved and kind, but not one to express his deepest feelings regularly. That changed when my grandfather passed away. At that point in my life I had never seen actual death,…

Primitive Man – Caustic

The allure of extreme music, for most, comes from its roots in counter culture. The hippy-dippy era had no idea what the hell was happening when Iommi picked the first distorted tritone. Fast forward all the way to the present day and a lot of extreme music can be branded and catered to specific groups. Counter culture is consumer culture. Honest extreme music is much more difficult to come by and much more difficult to consume when it finally shows up. It doesn’t get much tougher to swallow than this. Primitive Man are the embodiment of an “acquired taste”; the Denver residents playing doom that most fans of doom can’t even stomach. Consumption of their new full length Caustic is not advisable for anyone of a weak disposition.