Every year there’s a last-minute sneak onto the countdown. Two years ago, Primordial‘s To the Nameless Dead came out in November and was my pick for album of the year. I stand by that, by the way. I guess the closest thing to that happening this year is Shrinebuilder, though they more or less had a spot waiting for them, it was just a matter of assigning the proper number when the time came. Last year, there were two late-released records that made my top 10 that I think are worth another mention as we get ready to close the books on 2009.
Namely, Beyond Colossal by Dozer and II by The Kings of Frog Island.
We’ll take them one at a time. For Dozer, who have since relinquished their crown as the kings of Swedish stoner metal to go on hiatus, Beyond Colossal was a further step away from their riff rock beginnings. Their fifth album overall — second for Small Stone — it was a heavy and aggressive exploration of sound that resulted in a collection of memorable tracks including “Empire’s End” and “Two Coins for Eyes,” both of which featured guest vocals from Clutch‘s Neil Fallon. But it wasn’t just his appearance that made Beyond Colossal special. The energy in “The Flood,” the dynamism of “The Ventriloquist” and even the bravery of quiet closer “Bound for Greatness” all shine both within the Dozer catalog and without.
For the UK‘s The Kings of Frog Island, II was an appropriately-titled second offering via Elektrohasch Schallplatten. While what I recalled of their first album was that it was fuzzy, stoned and riffy with psychedelic undertones, this one came and blew it away in almost every sense of the word. For the hair grown on the guitar tone in “Welcome to the Void” alone — the riff to which I can’t get out of my head just from thinking about it as I type — II has been a mainstay in my CD player throughout 2009. The transposed down-home blues of “The Watcher” and the darker, more sinisterly rhythmic “Witching Hour” are constant fixtures in the mental jukebox, and those are just the tracks I can think of off the top of my head. Once the record actually goes on, it’s simply a matter of being taken someplace else. Leicester, perhaps, where the band is from. Who knows.
Point is this, both Beyond Colossal and II have already shown that they can hold up for a solid year (which, as we all know, is a lot more than plenty of albums) without losing their appeal. If nothing else, that’s definitely worth some consideration. “Attention could be paid,” and so forth.
Yeah, that’s right, a Death of a Salesman reference at the end of a post. Go find yourself another stoner rock blog with one of those, I dare you.
Tags: Dozer, Elektrohasch, Small Stone, Sweden, The Kings of Frog Island, UK