Corrosion of Conformity Announce Summer Tour with Crowbar, Lo-Pan & Quaker City Night Hawks

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

corrosion of conformity (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I can think of fewer tour pairings less broken than Corrosion of Conformity and Crowbar, who were out together co-headlining earlier this year on what turned out to be the first leg of a tour that will continue this July. Of particular note is the addition of Lo-Pan this time around, who’ll be out supporting their new record, Subtle. That record is a beast and they’ll no doubt bring an infusion of energy to the run as they provide support and Quaker City Night Hawks open. Starland Ballroom, you say? That’ll be just about the most Jersey shit ever, methinks. See you there.

Though I wouldn’t mind catching C.O.C. at the Psycho Swim party in Vegas either. Really I’ll take what I can get.

Dates follow from the pr IWRE:

corrosion of conformity crowbar lo pan tour

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Announces North American Summer Headlining Tour With Crowbar + Band To Headline Psycho Las Vegas Pre-Party And More!

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will kick off the second leg of their North American headlining tour this July. The A Quest To Believe, A Call To The Void II Tour will commence on July 26th in Poughkeepsie, New York and run through August 25th in Providence, Rhode Island. Support will be provided by their comrades in Crowbar as well as Lo-Pan and Quaker City Night Hawks. Tickets go on sale this Friday at all local ticket outlets.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will also play a special one-off show with country singer Cody Jinks next month in addition to festival appearances at Rocklahoma, Heavy MTL, KISW’s Pain In The Grass, and a headlining performance at Psycho Swim, Psycho Las Vegas’ annual pool-bound kick-off party where the band will be joined by Lucifer, Danava, ASG, Primitive Man, and more. In October, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will appear on the inaugural MegaCruise alongside Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament, Overkill, and so many others with more shows to be announced in the months to come. See all confirmed dates below.

No Cross No Crown is available on CD, digital, vinyl, and cassette formats. Various order bundles are available at nuclearblast.com/coc-nocrossnocrown.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY:
5/09/2019 Coyote Joe’s – Charlotte, NC w/ Cody Jinks
5/24/2019 Rocklahoma – Pryor, OK

w/ Crowbar, Lo-Pan, Quaker City Night Hawks:
7/26/2019 The Chance – Poughkeepsie, NY
7/27/2019 Westcott Theater – Syracuse, NY
7/28/2019 Heavy MTL – Montreal, QC *
7/29/2019 Dallas Nightclub – Kitchener, ON
7/31/2019 Mercury Ballroom – Louisville, KY
8/01/2019 Elevation – Grand Rapids, MI
8/02/2019 The Rave II – Milwaukee, WI
8/03/2019 KISW’s Pain In The Grass @ White River Amphitheatre – Auburn, WA *
8/05/2019 Deluxe @ Old National Centre – Indianapolis, IN
8/06/2019 Pop’s – Sauget, IL
8/07/2019 Slowdown – Omaha, NE
8/10/2019 Fox Theatre – Boulder, CO
8/11/2019 Mesa Theater – Grand Junction, CO
8/13/2019 Knitting Factory Concert House – Boise, ID
8/14/2019 The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT
8/15/2019 Psycho Swim @ Daylight Beach Club – Las Vegas, NV *
8/16/2019 Encore – Tucson, AZ
8/17/2019 Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM
8/19/2019 Come And Take It Live – Austin, TX
8/21/2019 1904 Music Hall – Jacksonville, FL
8/22/2019 The Tarheel – Jacksonville, NC
8/23/2019 Elevation 27 – Virginia Beach, VA
8/24/2019 Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
8/25/2019 Fete Music Hall – Providence, RI
10/13/2019 MegaCruise 2019 – Los Angeles, CA *
* COC only

http://www.coc.com
http://www.facebook.com/corrosionofconformity
http://www.twitter.com/coccabal
http://www.nuclearblast.com
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa

Corrosion of Conformity, “Wolf Named Crow” official video

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Psycho Las Vegas 2019 Announces Psycho Swim Pool Party with C.O.C., Lucifer, Danava and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

You know, last year, when Psycho Last Vegas hosted the likes of Bell Witch and Wolves in the Throne Room at its Pool Party pre-show (review here) in the 100-plus degree heat, the “this I gotta see” factor was pretty high. The tone of spectacle that the Pool Party sets is in no small part a defining factor for what makes Psycho Psycho. And by that I mean it’s completely insane, front to back, concept to execution, and yet somehow it not only works, but works well. You’re gonna put Primitive Man — one of the most abrasive, filthiest-sounding, heaviest acts on the planet right now, on a stage used for poolside dance parties and techno nights? How does this even make sense?

It doesn’t need to. Corrosion of Conformity headline the newly-christened Psycho Swim — because you’re god damn right they do — and Lucifer, Danava, ASG, indeed, Primitive Man, Idle Hands, Howling Giant and Thrown into Exile will play. It’s the biggest Pool Party yet that Psycho has hosted, because duh, of course it is, and it seems that as the fest itself continues to scale upward on just about every level — creative scope, reach of the acts it pulls in stylistically and geographically, and the number of venues and attendees — it’s bringing the Pool Party along for the ride. All the better.

Lineup and ticket info follow. It’s going to be limited space, so keep that in mind before you get stoned and try to wander in late or something.

Dig:

psycho swim

PSYCHO SWIM 2019

Official Psycho Las Vegas 2019 pre-party Aug. 15. Daylight Beach Club, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY
LUCIFER
DANAVA
ASG
PRIMITIVE MAN
IDLE HANDS
HOWLING GIANT
THROWN INTO EXILE

limited to 1500 people, 300 vips get in for free and receive private cabanas and dipping pools as part of the psycho vip experience….tickets are only available online while supplies last. tickets are $35 & $55.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2035404693146567/
https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas/
https://www.instagram.com/psycholasvegas/
http://vivapsycho.com

Corrosion of Conformity, Live in Atlanta, GA, Feb. 23, 2019

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Live Review: Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar, The Obsessed & Mothership in Boston, 02.16.19

Posted in Reviews on February 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Corrosion of Conformity (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Not every venue in the Boston metro area has been turned into yuppie-fuckbox condos as yet, and so it was with what felt like due urgency I crawled out of my hole in the frozen New England ground and headed to town to catch Corrosion of Conformity headlining on a four-band bill shared with Crowbar, The Obsessed and Mothership. That urgency would smash face-first into a hurry-up-and-wait half-hour of driving around the block of the Brighton Music Hall looking for a place to park, but I still made it in time to be there moments after doors opened. It was going to be a good night. The show was sold out, and rightly so.

The C.O.C. crowd is always an interesting mix. Metallers, rockers, stoners, boozers: mostly but not entirely dudes. As I leaned on the barrier waiting for the show to start, a father was telling his son about the bands playing. So one way or another, there were multiple demographics at play. The lineup would serve that well.

I was back and forth while the night played out, but even when I was standing off to the side of the stage in the kind of hallway to back bar, the sound was full and the production, lights, etc., were dead on. The short version is it was a joy to witness and I felt stupid lucky to be there, but of course there was more to it than that. Here’s how it went:

Mothership

Mothership (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Before Dallas trio Mothership went on at 7:30PM to launch the night, I overheard a guy telling his friend he knew nothing about the band. I didn’t look back after the band started to see, but no doubt he like the rest of the place had his ass blown out of the room by the classic rocking three-piece. Kelley Juett is a ’70s-style madman shredder on guitar, and his energy quickly became a catalyst for the crowd. With Kyle Juett holding down primary vocal duties and bass and Judge Smith behind on drums, Mothership were way less an “opening” band and way less of a “support” act than they were a warmup for the rest of the show to come. There was not a head in the room that was not into it by the time they were wrapping up “Angel of Death” from their 2012 self-titled debut (review here), and as it was their second time touring with C.O.C., they were pro-shop all the way through. Though this was my first experience seeing them live — something for which I’ve long been overdue — the impression I’ve gotten from all their work to-date has been they’re a live band, and they brought that to to the stage at the Brighton Music Hall. They’ve put in significant road time over the last half-decade-plus, and it showed. With Kelley and Kyle headbanging away and Smith twirling a drum stick every now and again, they were a reminder that rock and roll doesn’t have to be a joke to be a good time. Short set, but killer set. Killer band. Will see again as they headline the first night of this year’s Maryland Doom Fest.

The Obsessed

The Obsessed (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Theoretically, The Obsessed are touring behind their 2017 return album, Sacred (review here), which was their first record in more than two decades, but really, it feels like anytime you get to see The Obsessed, it’s less about any single album than the sheer groove that holds sway for however long their set might be. With the inimitable — not for others’ lack of trying — Scott “Wino” Weinrich as the founding principal on vocals and guitar, Brian Constantino on drums and Reid Raley (also Rwake) slow-headbanging on bass, The Obsessed came across way less as a reunion band than a working one. This was their first night of the tour — I’d thought they’d joined earlier, but nope — but if there was rust being shook off or anything like that, it didn’t show. Theirs was a different kind of presence from Mothership to coincide with the doom-infused sound, but songs like “Streetside” and “Neatz Brigade” are nothing short of landmarks and a significant chunk of the foundation of what one generally thinks of as “traditional doom,” so yes, I was glad to be there to bear witness. Standing by Raley‘s side of the stage, the floor shook from the low end, and each pulse of Constantino‘s kickdrum was easy to feel in the chest. Topped off with Wino‘s signature tone and blues-drenched solo style, it was less of an assault of volume than a celebration of it, and The Obsessed‘s legacy — coming up on 40 years since their first demo — remains utterly vital to the landscape of modern doom.

Crowbar

Crowbar (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Right down to business with “All I Had I Gave” opening the set, which was enough to get a heartfelt “fucking a” out of me. Founding guitarist/vocalist Kirk Windstein, as ever, introduced them by saying they were Crowbar from New Orleans, Louisiana, and as far as the room was concerned, there was no more explanation necessary. There was barely space to stand but somehow the crowd parted for a mosh, and the four-piece sludge progenitors ate it up, drummer Tommy Buckley making a bid for being the hardest-hitting of the evening through “To Build a Mountain” and “The Cemetery Angels,” which found him, Windstein, guitarist Matt Buckley and bassist Shane Wesley all locked into a massive, build-up-into-slowdown chug that had heads nodding front to back. They played nothing from 2016’s The Serpent Only Lies (review here), going only so far as “Walk with Knowledge Wisely” from 2014’s Symmetry in Black, but with “Planets Collide” and “Like Broken Glass” tucked together as a grand finale, I’m not sure there was anything more I’d have asked of them anyhow. As Crowbar celebrate 30 years, their history remains someplace between metal, sludge and even hardcore, but whatever genre elements one might want to tag, they are an act unto themselves, and with Windstein as the central figure, they pummeled and pounded Boston to a pulp of local sports logos, blown eardrums and sticky dried beer. This was the best I’d seen them in a while, and for being so perennially downtrodden, their spirits seemed awfully high.

Corrosion of Conformity

Corrosion of Conformity (Photo by JJ Koczan)

There wasn’t one act on this bill I wouldn’t call veteran, even if the degree to which that applies might vary. Still, there’s an unmistakable presence when C.O.C. takes the stage. It’s not just Pepper Keenan, either. From Woody Weatherman on one side of the stage to Mike Dean on the other, Corrosion of Conformity were unquestionably the headliners of what had already been a great night. They came on with “Stonebreaker” from 2005’s In the Arms of God and with Eric Hernandez on drums in place of Reed Mullin, they stomped and stormed through “Wiseblood” and the newer “Wolf Named Crow” from last year’s No Cross No Crown (review here) before making highlights of “Diablo Blvd.” from 2000’s undervalued America’s Volume Dealer and “Seven Days” from 1994’s ultra-landmark, Deliverance (discussed here), the 25th anniversary of which they’ll be celebrating later this year at least in Europe and probably also the US — they’ve already been announced for Freak Valley in Germany and one suspects more will come. “Vote with a Bullet,” even for being the first song Keenan fronted the band, seemed a little past its date in light of a culture of mass shootings, but it’s still catchy, and “Seven Days” reined in some of that vibe, while “Paranoid Opioid” reminded of the band’s punk roots and of course the final salvo of “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds” served as reinforcement of the heavy Southern groove that’s helped make C.O.C. an institution for the last however many decades. After all the righteousness that preceded them, it was their show without question, and they delivered on any level of expectation and then some.

Special thanks to Liz Ciavarella-Brenner for hooking this one up, and thanks to you for reading. Many more pics after the jump.

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Freak Valley 2019: C.O.C. to Celebrate 25 Years of Deliverance; Harsh Toke, Pristine, It’s Not Night: It’s Space and The Fierce & the Dead Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

freak valley 2019 header image

As a fan generally of cool bands doing cool things, I’m thrilled to see New York’s It’s Not Night: It’s Space heading to Germany to play Freak Valley 2019. The heavy psychedelic instrumentalists are a group who’ve never really fit with one scene or another, and in the context of a fest like this, that’s only going to help them catch on with the well-opened minds of those standing in front of the stage to see them. They’ll kill it, and they’re very clearly in good company in this latest lineup announcement from the Siegen-based festival, which also welcomes Corrosion of Conformity to mark 25 years since the release of their landmark Deliverance LP, San Diego jammers Harsh Toke, Pristine and The Fierce and the Dead to the bill. It’s a good swath of stuff and pretty right on front to back. You’ll get no argument out of me.

I had the pleasure of writing the announcement below, so if the phrasing looks familiar, that’s why, but Freak Valley posted it on the social medias as follows:

freak valley 2019 poster

FREAK VALLEY 2019 – CORROSION OF CONFORMITY // PRISTINE // HARSH TOKE // IT’S NOT NIGHT: IT’S SPACE // THE FIERCE & THE DEAD

Happy New Year, Freaks!

New year means new additions to the lineup for FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2019. We’re counting down the months, weeks, days, hours, until we can all party in Netphen and we all know it’s going to be a blast. You obviously know or the fest wouldn’t be TOTALLY SOLD OUT as it is.

Well, as much as we’d like to rest on our laurels and coast into June without putting anymore work in, clearly that’s not going to happen. This announcement is about as special as special gets, as we welcome the classic likes of Corrosion Of Conformity to Freak Valley! Read more below!

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY celebrate 25 years of ‘Deliverance’

In 1994, C.O.C. released an album that would become a landmark for them and for heavy rock as a whole. ‘Deliverance’ wasn’t just a collection of great songs — it was a way to impart a love of classic rock to a new generation of fans, a transitional moment from grunge to the spirit of Sabbath and heavy Southern vibes. Oh yea, and it was a collection of great songs.

For those of you not doing the math, 2019 marks 25 years since ‘Deliverance’ was released, and we’ll be bringing Corrosion of Conformity to Freak Valley for a special set as they celebrate the record that would help define their course for the next quarter-century and hopefully well beyond.

Pristine

A couple months back, Norway’s Pristine posted a video with some in-studio cilps and the usual bit of this and that. They ended with a new song snippet and there was enough rock and roll packed into that 20 seconds of hook to power the entire city of Tromsø. Maybe you heard their 2017 album ‘Ninja’ when it was released on Nuclear Blast, but either way, we guarantee you’ll hear it when they bring their blues rock volume to the Freak Valley stage this June!

HARSH TOKE

From the jammer’s paradise of San Diego, Harsh Toke play some of the coolest smokeout jams ever to come from Southern California. If you don’t know, get yourself up to speed with their split with Earthless or just show up with your eyes and ears and mind wide open and get ready to have all three blown out of your skull. These dudes do “far out” just that extra bit further than you’d expect, but always manage to keep it together. Pure psych-jam bliss headed your way.

It’s Not Night: It’s Space

The best-kept secret of US East Coast psychedelia will be kept no more! New York-based It’s Not Night: It’s Space have mastered a patient instrumental blend of tantric sounds and cosmic vibes that is an incantation unto itself. The kind of sound you get lost in. The kind of vibe that stays with you when they’re done. Live, they’re as much ritual as performance, as can’t wait to have that ritual as a part of Freak Valley 2019! Bring vinyl money.

The Fierce & The Dead

We all know London is a hotbed for heavy, but The Fierce & the Dead stand out from the pack with a synth-laden progressive side to their instrumental approach that lets them move back and forth from psychedelia to crunching riffs and grooves with ease and fluidity. Their 2018 album, ‘The Eurphoric,’ hasn’t left our playlist since it landed, so absolutely, hell yes they’ll be playing Freak Valley 2019, and absolutely, hell yes you should be there to see them.

Line-up 2019:
Wolfmother, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, Brant Bjork, Yob, The Obsessed Official, The Vintage Caravan, Electric Moon, Minami Deutsch / ????, Harsh Toke, Pristine, It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Spaceslug, Arc of Ascent, The Fierce & The Dead, Dead Lord, Slomatics

FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2019 // No Fillers – Just Killers

www.freakvalley.de
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley
https://www.facebook.com/events/299339670806919/
https://twitter.com/FreakValley

It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Our Birth is but a Sleep and a Forgetting (2016)

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The Top 20 of 2018 Year-End Poll — RESULTS!

Posted in Features on January 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

derp

If you’re reading this, congratulations on making it all the way through the existential rollercoaster that was 2018.

I hope you celebrated that year’s end and this year’s beginning in riotous fashion if that’s your thing, and if you’re more the stay-at-home-and-don’t-break-stuff type, I hope that was fun too.

Over the last month, best-of lists have been collected from all around the world and as we move into 2019, it’s time to do the results of the Year-End Poll for 2018.

What a year. As I look back on the lists submitted, of course I can’t help but think how absolutely incredible 2018 was for music. With the world crumbling around, creativity surged, and the quality of output was off the charts. I published my own list last week and was quickly inundated with stuff I forgot or that I missed owing to being robbed earlier this year — I guess I didn’t even realize until the post went up just how much that screwed me — and I’m sure there’s more still out there from what everyone turned in. It’s infinite. It keeps going. Trends change. Sounds change. People change. Creativity flourishes.

But I think if you’re reading this, you know why we’re here. We wound up with somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 discrete releases submitted. That’s more than five for every day of the year. And they came from 547 people, which is amazing. Accordingly, there should be plenty here to keep you busy for a while.

Not exactly suspenseful as to which was the album of the year, but it’s still interesting to see where stuff landed. Just to remind, there are two lists, one of the raw votes, and one in which a 1-4 ranking is worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one. Thanks as always to Slevin for the help in setting up the back end functionality and compilation scripts.

Let’s go:

Top 20 of 2018 — Weighted Results

sleep the sciences

1. Sleep, The Sciences (1,087 points)
2. YOB, Our Raw Heart (721)
3. High on Fire, Electric Messiah (478)
4. Earthless, Black Heaven (413)
5. King Buffalo, Longing to Be the Mountain (408)
6. Windhand, Eternal Return (387)
7. All Them Witches, ATW (373)
8. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Wasteland (354)
9. Clutch, Book of Bad Decisions (323)
10. Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe (315)
11. Greenleaf, Hear the Rivers (285)
12. Holy Grove, Holy Grove II (274)
13. Graveyard, Peace (225)
14. Brant Bjork, Mankind Woman (222)
15. Weedpecker, III (212)
16. Corrosion of Conformity, No Cross No Crown (197)
17. Monster Magnet, Mindfucker (189)
18. Conan, Existential Void Guardian (188)
19. The Skull, The Endless Road Turns Dark (167)
20. ASG, Survive Sunrise (164)

Honorable Mention:
Messa, Feast for Water (150)
Gozu, Equilibrium (148)
Judas Priest, Firepower (148)
Naxatras, III (148)
Forming the Void, Rift (146)

I’m not saying everyone had to love the Sleep record, but there’s no way it wasn’t the biggest underground heavy release of the year. That top spot was established the first day the poll went up and while YOB caught up as both neared 100 votes, there was no doubt how it would ultimately shake out. It was pretty clear early on what people were passionate about, but there are some interesting differences between the raw vote and the weighted results even high on the list, as you’ll see below.

Top 20 of 2018 — Raw Votes

sleep the sciences

1. Sleep, The Sciences (263 votes)
2. YOB, Our Raw Heart (185)
3. High on Fire, Electric Messiah (141)
4. Windhand, Eternal Return (115)
5. Earthless, Black Heaven (109)
6. King Buffalo, Longing to Be the Mountain (102)
7. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Wasteland (101)
8. All Them Witches, ATW (95)
8. Clutch, Book of Bad Decisions (95)
9. Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe (93)
10. Greenleaf, Hear the Rivers (77)
10. Holy Grove, Holy Grove II (77)
11. Graveyard, Peace (69)
12. Brant Bjork, Mankind Woman (67)
13. Weedpecker, III (63)
14. Monster Magnet, Mindfucker (57)
14. Conan, Existential Void Guardian (57)
15. Corrosion of Conformity, No Cross No Crown (54)
16. The Skull, The Endless Road Turns Dark (50)
17. ASG, Survive Sunrise (48)
18. Gozu, Equilibrium (46)
19. Forming the Void, Rift (45)
20. Judas Priest, Firepower (43)
20. Khemmis, Bloodletting (43)
20. Mos Generator, Shadowlands (43)
20. Orange Goblin, The Wolf Bites Back (43)

Honorable Mention:
Messa, Feast for Water (41)
Domkraft, Flood (40)
Naxatras, III (40)
Thou, Magus (40)

Everything else got fewer than 40 raw votes. Why cap it at 40? I don’t know. Good a place as any. And when a top 20 has 26 releases on it, I don’t imagine there will be too many complaints about not enough stuff being included. One can hope, anyhow. You can see the difference between Sleep and everyone else here as well, a pretty precipitous drop after both them and YOB, and YOB and High on Fire — the top three being well ahead of everyone else in terms of general agreement.

The ‘Respect the Hustle’ Award

Somewhere around the middle of the month, I noticed a massive surge of votes for a band called Entropía and their debut album, Invisible. A bunch of people with lists of 20 just including Entropía. I’ve included them below, you can see them. I didn’t know what was up, whether it was the band spamming the vote or what, so I sent them a message. Turns out they had sent the link to their email list and asked for votes, and that’s how they all got in. Well, okay.

They wound up with well over 750 raw votes (to remind, Sleep got 263), and it didn’t feel representative to have them be album of the year, but hey, I respect the hustle, so they get the award accordingly. Nicely done, folks. I’ve been doing Year-End Polls since like 2010 and that’s never happened before. Their totals were 2,367 points and 777 votes.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading. Whether this is the only post you’ve seen this year or you click ‘Like’ on everything that comes across your Facebook feed, your support is tremendously appreciated. This is the only post that will go up today, but we’ll be back to business as usual tomorrow, and in the meantime, you’ll find everybody’s list included after the jump.

All the best for 2019.

Read more »

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The Obelisk Presents: THE TOP 30 ALBUMS OF 2018

Posted in Features on December 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the-top-30-of-2018

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2018 to that, please do.

It just wouldn’t be a year if it wasn’t completely overwhelming, right?

2018 has certainly met that standard and then some. The swath of output, whether it’s a new generation adopting and adapting established methods or out and out reinventing the stylistic wheel and then pushing it uphill on a seemingly endless barrage of tours, has been staggering, and it’s still happening. There’s a little more than a week to go in the year. You think a band isn’t putting something out today? Of course they are. It’s every day. It’s all the time.

But this year wasn’t just about quantity either. I think one of my biggest struggles in writing about albums in 2018 — and with the last Quarterly Review and various premieres and video posts that were basically album reviews in disguise, let’s estimate we’re somewhere past 300 records reviewed one way or another — was in conveying just how killer so much of the stuff coming through was. How many times can you say the word “awesome?” Well, I’m sure we’ll see it a few more times before this list is over, so there you go.

I say something like this every time I do a list, but please keep in mind these are my picks and I’m one person. But I am a person. I know there’s the whole internet-anonymity thing, but I assure you, I’m a human being (more of a cave troll, really) typing these words. I’m all for everyone sharing their own picks in the comments, and all for passionate advocating, but please, let’s keep it civil and respectful. These things can spiral out of control quickly, but let’s remember that we’re all human beings and worth of basic courtesy, even if some of us are dead wrong about a good many things. You should definitely punch nazis, though.

Thanks in advance for reading. Here we go:

[UPDATE: You’ll notice the inclusion of an ’18a.’ I had Stoned Jesus in my notes as number 18 initially and they got dropped as I was adjusting things along the way. I’ve added them back in, but it didn’t seem fair to bump everyone else down after the post had already been published. That was the best I could come up with for a solution. If you’re pissed about one more killer record being added, please feel free to email me and tell me all about it.]

30. The Skull, The Endless Road Turns Dark

The Skull The Endless Road Turns Dark

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Sept. 12.

Chicago’s The Skull had no small task before them in following up their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) — let alone living up to their pedigree — but their second album demonstrated a creative growth that sacrificed nothing of memorability when it came to songs like “Breathing Underwater” and “All that Remains (Is True).” They got down to work and got the job done, which is what a working band does. 2018 was by any measure a fantastic year for doom, and The Skull were a big part of why.

29. Foghound, Awaken to Destroy

foghound awaken to destroy

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Nov. 21.

The Dec. 2017 murder of Rev. Jim Forrester was tragic. No other way to say it. Foghound, who were in the midst of making Awaken to Destroy at the time, put together an album that not only features Forrester‘s last recorded performance, but pays respect to his memory while the wound is still raw and manages to kick ass all the while. It’s a record that can’t ever be divorced from its circumstances — just can’t — and so it can be a heavy listen in more than just its tones, but it’s basically Foghound proving they’re unstoppable. And so they are.

28. Orange Goblin, The Wolf Bites Back

orange goblin the wolf bites back

Released by Spinefarm Records. Reviewed June 13.

Who among us here today is not a sucker for Orange Goblin? Come forward an be judged. I mean, really. Nine records deep, the London sceneforgers are nothing less than an institution, beloved by boozehounds, riffhounds, doomhounds, and really, a wide variety of hounds the world over. Also dudes. With its essential title-track hook and highlight cuts in “Ghosts of the Primitives” and “Burn the Ships” — or, you know, any of them — they added to one of heavy’s most unshakable legacies with an album as furious as it is welcoming to its generations-spanning fanbase.

27. Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe

fu manchu clone of the universe
Released by At the Dojo Records. Reviewed Feb. 15.

There are two kinds of people in this world, and they’re both Fu Manchu fans. Clone of the Universe turned heads with a guest appearance from Rush‘s Alex Lifeson on the 18-minute side-B-consuming “Il Mostro Atomico,” but really to focus on that instead of “Intelligent Worship,” “(I’ve Been) Hexed,” “Don’t Panic,” “Slower than Light,” etc., is only seeing half the point of the album in the first place. The long-running lords of fuzz hit a new stride with 2014’s Gigantoid (review here), and Clone of the Universe was in every way a worthy successor.

26. Witch Mountain, Witch Mountain

Witch-Mountain-Witch-Mountain
Released by Svart Records. Reviewed May 16.

It was an unenviable task before Witch Mountain in replacing vocalist Uta Plotkin, but founding guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nathan Carson found the right voice in Kayla Dixon and solidified the lineup with her and bassist Justin Brown enough to make a declarative statement in Witch Mountain‘s self-titled LP. That’s the story of it. They pulled it off. Met with what was unquestionably a bummer circumstance, they pushed through and moved their sound forward through a new beginning — and not their first one. Watch out when their next record hits.

25. Windhand, Eternal Return

windhand eternal return

Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed Oct. 3.

Richmond, Virginia, doomers Windhand‘s second collaboration with producer Jack Endino produced a marked and purposeful expansion of their sound, encompassing classic grunge influences and a heavy psychedelic swirl that added color their previously-greyscale sonic haze. Resonant in tone and emotionalism, Eternal Return readjusted Windhand‘s trajectory in such a manner that, where one might’ve thought they knew where the band were headed in terms of their progression, they’ve made themselves a less predictable outfit on the whole. For that alone, it’s a triumph. Then you have the songs.

24. Sun Voyager, Seismic Vibes

Sun Voyager Seismic Vibes

Released by King Pizza Records. Reviewed April 18.

I don’t even want to admit how long I was waiting for Sun Voyager‘s first long-player to show up, but when it finally did, the New York trio did not disappoint. Catchy, energetic, fuzzed-out tunes with driving rhythms and a heavy psych flourish, they tapped into shoegaze and desert vibes without losing any sense of themselves in the process, and if the extra wait was so they could be so remarkably coherent in their expression on their full-length, then I wouldn’t want it to have shown up any sooner. An easy pick to stand among 2018’s best debut albums. Now to wait for the next one.

23. Forming the Void, Rift

forming the void rift

Released by Kozmik Artifactz. Reviewed July 27.

It should tell you something that after working quickly to produce three albums, Louisiana’s Forming the Void are still defined by their potential. If I had my druthers, I’d put the recent Ripple signees on tour for the bulk of 2019, across the US and in Europe for festivals and support-slot club shows, really give them an opportunity to hammer out who they are as a band and then hit the studio for LP four. I don’t know if that’ll happen, but they’d only be doing the universe a favor by kicking into that gear. As it stands, their progression is palpable in their material and they stand absolutely ready for whatever the next level might be for them.

22. Spaceslug, Eye the Tide

spaceslug eye the tide

Released by BSFD Records and Oak Island Records. Reviewed June 29.

Aside from the speed at which Spaceslug have turned around offerings — with Eye the Tide following 2017’s Mountains and Reminiscence EP (review here) and Time Travel Dilemma (review here) full-length and their 2016 debut, Lemanis (review here) — the Polish outfit have undertaken significant progression in their sound, moving from pure heavy psychedelic warmth to incorporating elements out of extreme metal as they did on Eye the Tide. Adding to the latest record’s accomplishment is the smoothness with which they brought seemingly opposing sides together, only adding depth to an approach already worthy of oceanic comparison.

21. Conan, Existential Void Guardian

Conan Existential Void Guardian
Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 14.

Conan‘s reign of terror has been unfolding for more than a decade now, and each of their albums has become a kind of step along a path of incremental growth. Consider the melody creeping into the shouts of founding guitarist Jon Davis, or the emergence of bassist Chris Fielding as a vocal presence alongside, the two sharing a frontman role more than ever before while welcoming drummer Johnny King to the fold of destructive tonality and doomly extremism. Existential Void Guardian may end up just being another stomp-print on their way to the next thing, but it affirmed the fact that as much as Conan grow each time out, their central violence continues to hold sway.

20. Pale Divine, Pale Divine

PALE DIVINE S/T
Released by Shadow Kingdom Records. Reviewed Nov. 21.

Look. A new Pale Divine record doesn’t come along every day, so yeah, their self-titled was probably going to be on my list one way or the other, but it definitely helps that not only was it their first outing in six years since 2012’s Painted Windows Black (review here), but it had the songs to live up to a half-decade-plus of anticipation. It marked the first studio appearance from bassist/backing vocalist Ron “Fezz” McGinnis alongside guitarist Greg Diener and drummer Darin McCloskey — now both of Beelzefuzz as well — and made a strong argument for how much Pale Divine deserve more than 20 years on from their initial demo to be considered classic American doom.

19. Mos Generator, Shadowlands

mos generator shadowlands
Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed May 11.

The return and rise to prominence of Washington pure heavy rockers Mos Generator might be the underground’s feelgood story of the decade, but it hasn’t by any means been easily won. In addition to rebuilding the band however many albums ago, guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed has put in innumerable hours on tour and worked to actually develop the group creatively in addition to in terms of stage presence. This is shown throughout some of the classic prog elements making their way onto Shadowlands, and perhaps some of the collection’s moodier aspects are born of the aforementioned road time as well. Hard for that kind of thing not to be a slog after a while, but at least they have killer tunes to play.

18a. Stoned Jesus, Pilgrims

STONED JESUS PILGRIMS

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 5.

The only safe bet about Stoned Jesus‘ fourth long-player, Pilgrims, was that it was going to sound different than the third. That 2015 outing, The Harvest (review here), preceded the band touring to celebrate the fifth anniversary and after-the-fact success of 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), but Pilgrims defied narrative in that instead of incorporating elements from the second record in more of a heavy psych or jam sound, Stoned Jesus instead showcased a tighter, more sureheaded sense of craft than they’ve ever displayed before, and arrived on Napalm Records with a collection of songs that demonstrated the growth and sense of creative will that drives them. While one can take a look at their moniker and think immediately they know what’s coming, Stoned Jesus have made themselves one of the least predictable bands in heavy rock.

18. Backwoods Payback, Future Slum

backwoods payback future slum

Self-released. Reviewed Aug. 15.

“Pirate Smile.” “Lines.” “Whatever.” “It Ain’t Right.” “Threes.” “Cinderella.” “Generals.” “Big Enough.” “Alone.” “Lucky. Mike Cummings, Jessica Baker, Erik Larson. Every player, every song, every minute. If you want to know what heart-on-sleeve sounds like, it fucking sounds like Backwoods Payback. In their line from hardcore punk to grunge to heavy rock, they encompass experiences and emotionalism that are both shown in raw form throughout Future Slum, and build all the while on the chemistry they set out in developing with 2016’s Fire Not Reason (review here), when they welcomed Larson to the lineup on drums and revitalized their mission. Also worth noting, they were the best live band I saw this year. Anywhere.

17. Corrosion of Conformity, No Cross No Crown

corrosion of conformity no cross no crown

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Jan. 3

No question the excitement of C.O.C. putting out their first record with frontman Pepper Keenan involved since 2005’s In the Arms of God was one of this year’s top stories in heavy. And No Cross No Crown tapped directly into the spirit of 1994’s Deliverance (discussed here) and 1996’s Wiseblood (discussed here) in terms of direction, while updating the band’s style with a four-part 2LP in mind. In some ways, it’ll be their next album that really gives listeners a sense of where they’re at and where they might be headed, but as welcome returns go, having Keenan alongside Mike DeanWoody Weatherman and Reed Mullin is in no way to be understated, and neither is the quality of their output together, then and now.

16. Naxatras, III

naxatras iii

Self-released. Reviewed Feb. 14.

It is no simple feat to hypnotize an audience and convey serenity while at the same time holding attention with songcraft, so that the listener isn’t actually so much unconscious as malleable of mood and spirit in such a direction as the band suggests. Greek trio Naxatras have worked quickly to become experts at this, and their third full-length fosters tonal warmth and jammy progressions with an overarching naturalism that finds them so committed to analog recording that one can buy direct transfers of the tape master of III. Some acts take classic-style practices as an aesthetic choice. With Naxatras, it seems to be the stuff of life, yet their sound is only vibrant and human in a way that, at least one hopes, is even more representative of the future than the past.

15. Clutch, Book of Bad Decisions

clutch book of bad decisions

Released by Weathermaker Music. Reviewed Aug. 27.

It was time for Clutch to make a change in producers, and the Maryland overlords of groove seemed to know it. Known as a live band, they went with Vance Powell, who’s known a live band producer. The results on Book of Bad Decisions might not have been so earth-shatteringly different from 2015’s Psychic Warfare (review here), which was the too-soon follow-up to 2013’s Earth Rocker (review here) — both helmed by Machine — but the inimitable four-piece indeed succeeded in capturing the electricity of their stage performance and, as ever, treated fans to a collection of songs bearing Clutch‘s unmistakable hallmarks of quirky lyrics, funky rhythms and heavy roll. They may always be a live band, but Clutch‘s studio work is in no way to be discounted, ever, as this record reaffirmed. Plus, crab cakes.

14. Ancestors, Suspended in Reflections

Ancestors Suspended in Reflections

Released by Pelagic Records. Reviewed Aug. 3.

After 2012’s In Dreams and Time (review here), I wasn’t sure Ancestors were going to put out another record. They kicked around word of one for a while, but it wasn’t until the end of last year that it really seemed to congeal into a possibility. And by then, who the hell knew what they might get up to on a full-length? With Suspended in Reflections, in some says, they picked up where they left off in terms of finding a niche for themselves in progressive and melodic heavy, but I think the time showed in the poise of their execution and the control of the material. Suspended in Reflections can’t help but be six years more mature than its predecessor, and that suits its contemplative feel. In tracks like “Gone,” and “The Warm Glow,” they tempered their expansive sound with an efficiency that can only be had with time.

13. High on Fire, Electric Messiah

high on fire electric messiah

Released by eOne Heavy. Reviewed Sept. 28.

The narrative here was hard to beat. Matt Pike spending an album cycle talking about Lemmy Kilmister and paying homage to his dirt-rock forebear and the gods of old? It doesn’t get much more perfect than that. Electric Messiah was the third collaboration between High on Fire and producer Kurt Ballou behind 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here), and while it seemed after the last record that the formula might be getting stale, the band only sounded more and more lethal throughout the latest offering. Even putting aside their contributions to underground heavy, they’ve become one of the most essential metal bands of their generation. Metal, period. Doesn’t matter what subgenre you’re talking about it. If you’re listening to High on Fire, you know it. Usually because you’ve just been decapitated.

12. Yawning Man, The Revolt Against Tired Noises

yawning man the revolt against tired noises

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed July 2.

You know, if you take the time to separate Yawning Man from their 30-plus-year history and their legacy as one of the foundational acts of what later became desert rock, and you listen to The Revolt Against Tired Noises, you’re still left with basically a dream of an album. Mostly instrumental, as is their wont, they nonetheless had bassist Mario Lalli (also Fatso Jetson) sing this time around on a version of the previously-unreleased “Catamaran,” which Kyuss covered once upon a whenever although Yawning Man had never officially put it to tape. But really, that and all other novelty aside, guitarist Gary Arce, Lalli and drummer Bill Stinson are a chemistry unto themselves. I don’t know if they’ll ever be as huge as they should be, but every bit of acclaim they get, they’ve earned, and if The Revolt Against Tired Noises helps them get it, all the more so.

11. Greenleaf, Hear the Rivers

greenleaf hear the rivers

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Nov. 26.

Swedish heavy rock mavens Greenleaf have become an entirely different band than they once were. No longer a Dozer side-project from guitarist Tommi Holappa with a rotating cast of players, they’re a solidified, road-tested, powerhouse unit, and Hear the Rivers bleeds soul as a result. Holappa, frontman Arvid Hällagård, bassist Hans Fröhlich and drummer Sebastian Olsson sound like they’re absolutely on fire in the album’s tracks, and far from being staid or formulaic as one might expect a sixth long-player to be, Hear the Rivers built on what the band accomplished with 2016’s Rise Above the Meadow (review here) and came across as all the more vital and nearly frenetic in their energy. I won’t say Greenleaf has seen their last lineup change, because one never knows, but the band as they are today is the realization of potential I don’t think even Greenleaf knew was there.

10. Gozu, Equilibrium

gozu equilibrium

Released by Blacklight Media / Metal Blade Records. Reviewed April 4.

Five records deep into a career into its second decade, Gozu haven’t had a miss yet. Admittedly, some of their early work can seem formative considering where they are now, but still. And after the 2016 rager, Revival (review here), to have the band return to the same studio — Wild Arctic in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where strides producer Dean Baltulonis — for the follow-up allows for the four-piece to directly show how their sound has grown more encompassing in the last couple years. And it has. Equilibrium is a rich and varied listen that holds true to Gozu‘s well-established penchant for soulful vibes and crunching, hard-hitting riffs and groove, but while it shares the directness of approach with Revival, it makes moves that a band could only make moving from one record to the next. I expect nothing less their next time out as well, because a decade later, that’s Gozu‘s proven track record.

9. Monster Magnet, Mindfucker

monster magnet mindfucker
Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Feb. 23.

The battle for the best album title of 2018 ended early when New Jersey everything-rockers Monster Magnet announced the release of Mindfucker. And what else to call a Monster Magnet LP at this point? They’ve stopped writing to genre. They’re driven by the creative mania of frontman/founder Dave Wyndorf, and they’ve seen psychedelic expanses and commercial success the likes of which would serve the tenure of four lesser bands. What’s left to do but whatever the hell you want? So that’s what Monster Magnet are doing. It just so happens that while they’re doing it, they’re still basically outclassing the entirety of the former planet earth as songwriters. As Monster Magnet fan in 2018, there was nothing more I could’ve asked than what Mindfucker delivered. And if you’re still trying to get your brain around it however many months later, you’re not alone. I think that’s the idea.

8. Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash

Apostle of Solitude From Gold to Ash

Released by Cruz del Sur Music. Reviewed Feb. 20.

Best doom album of 2018. The combination of craft and passion behind the delivery. The way the dark tones fed into the emotions so clearly on display and sheer presence of it in listening to songs like “Keeping the Lighthouse,” “Ruination by Thy Name” and “My Heart is Leaving Here.” Apostle of Solitude never seem to be the highest profile band out there, but their work seems never to be anything less than outstanding, and I refuse to accept them as anything less than among the most pivotal American acts out there making traditional doom. And not just making it, but making it their own, with a sense of new pursuits and individualism that extends to playing style as well as atmosphere. I know doom isn’t exactly in short supply these days — figuratively or literally — but if you miss out on what Apostle of Solitude are doing with it, you’ll only regret it later. I’ll say it one more time: Best doom album of 2018.

7. Holy Grove, Holy Grove II

holy grove ii
Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 31.

Every now and again, anticipating the crap of an album really pays off, and such was the case with Holy Grove II, the Ripple Music debut from the Portland outfit whose 2016 self-titled (review here) seemed like such a herald of excellence to come while also, you know, being killer. Holy Grove II brought the four-piece of vocalist Andrea Vidal, guitarist Trent Jacobs, bassist Gregg Emley and drummer Eben Travis to entirely new levels of composition and execution. In songs like “Blade Born,” the shorter, sharper “Aurora,” the patiently rolling “Valley of the Mystics,” “Solaris” and closer “Cosmos,” which boasted a not-really-necessary-but-definitely-welcome guest vocal appearance from YOB‘s Mike Scheidt, — and oh wait, that’s all of the tracks — Holy Grove entered a different echelon. Anticipation will likewise be high for Holy Grove III, but it’ll be hard to complain with this record to keep company in the meantime.

6. All Them Witches, ATW

all them witches atw
Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 18.

Over five All Them Witches albums, the Nashville four-piece have gone from a nascent heavy Americana jam band to one of the most distinct acts in the US underground. Their development in sound is chemistry-driven, so it was a risk when the founding trio of bassist/vocalist Charles Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod (who also produced) and drummer Robby Staebler welcomed new keyboardist Jonathan Draper into the lineup to take the place of Allan van Cleave. Amid a more naturalist production than that of 2017’s Sleeping Through the War (review here), the revamped four-piece flourished in terms of songwriting and conveying their stage-born sonic personae. From the gleeful fuckery of opener “Fishbelly 86 Onions” to the memorable moodiness of “Diamond” and the back-end jam “Harvest Feast” en route to the stretched-out end of “Rob’s Dream,” All Them Witches essentially confirmed they could do whatever they wanted and make it work.

5. YOB, Our Raw Heart

yob our raw heart
Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed June 7.

Actually, if you want a sample of YOB‘s raw heart, the place to go is probably 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), but whatever the Eugene, Oregon, shapers of cosmic doom might’ve lacked in titular accuracy on their eighth long-player, they made up for in a new, statesman-like posture. Their approach was mature, hammered out to a professionalism working completely on its own terms, and they never sounded so sure of who they are as a band or as confident of their direction. In extended cuts “Beauty in Falling Leaves” and “Our Raw Heart,” they explored new and progressive textures and melodies, and managed to reaffirm their core aspects while finding room for conveying emotion that came across as nothing but ultimately sincere. They have been and still are one of a kind, and as they continue to move forward, they remain a band that makes one feel lucky to be alive to witness their work. Our Raw Heart was perhaps more refined than it let on, but the heart was there for sure, as always.

4. Brant Bjork, Mankind Woman

brant bjork mankind woman

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Sept. 13.

I’m not going to say I wasn’t a fan of the (relatively) harder-hitting approach Brant Bjork and his Low Desert Punk Band took on 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) and 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here), but Mankind Woman brought in some more of his soul influences, and whether it was the subtly subversive funk of “Chocolatize” and “Brand New Old Times” or the callout “1968” and laid back vibes of the title-track and “Swagger and Sway,” Bjork — working with guitarist Bubba DuPree on songwriting and production — offered a definitive look at what has made his 20-year solo career so special and demonstrates not only his longevity and his legacy, but his will to continue to progress as an artist honing his craft. His discography is well populated by now to be sure, but Mankind Woman represents a turn from the last couple records, and if it’s in any way portentous of things to come, it bodes well. Bjork is right at home nestled into classic-style grooves, and his legacy as one of the principal architects of desert rock is continually reaffirmed.

3. Earthless, Black Heaven

earthless black heaven

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed March 15.

They’ve been great, not just good, for a long time now, and as forerunners of the San Diego heavy scene, they’re godfathers to an up and coming generation of bands taking their influence — let alone acts from the rest of the world — but Black Heaven is a special moment for them because of its departure. No, it wasn’t not the first time guitarist Isaiah Mitchell sang on an Earthless recording, but it did represent a tip of the balance in that direction for the band on a studio full-length, and that resulted in a special moment. Album opener “Gifted by the Wind” was one of the best songs I heard this year, and while “End to End” and the all-thrust “Volt Rush” affirmed that more traditional songwriting was well within the grasp of Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba, they still found space for a sprawling jam or two, keeping their claim on the instrumentalism that’s (largely) fueled their tenure to date. Earthless don’t want for acclaim, but every bit of it is earned, and while their primary impact has always been live, Black Heaven saw them construct a traditional-style LP that still bore the hallmarks of their collective personality. It was the best of all worlds.

2. King Buffalo, Longing to Be the Mountain

king buffalo longing to be the mountain
Self-released/released by Stickman Records. Reviewed Sept. 27.

In the dark early hours of 2018, the Rochester, New York, trio of guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson issued the Repeater EP (review here) as a follow-up to their 2016 debut, Orion (review here), so Longing to Be the Mountain didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, but even with Repeater preceding its arrival, I don’t think anyone necessary expected King Buffalo‘s second album to have such a scope or to be so engrossing with it. In its melody, patience, atmosphere and heft, it was an absolute joy to behold. Its songs were memorable at the same time they were far-reaching, and while Orion was already my pick for the best debut of 2016, Longing to Be the Mountain realized even more potential than that record had hinted toward. It could be intimate or majestic at its whim, and its dynamic set an individual characterization of heavy psychedelia and blues-style sprawl that the band wholly owned. With production by Ben McLeod of All Them Witches behind them, they worked to serve notice of a progression undertaken the results of which are already staggering and still seem to be looking ahead to the next stage, literally and figuratively. One of the principal standards I use in constructing this list every year is what I listen to most. That’s this record.

1. Sleep, The Sciences

sleep the sciences

Released by Third Man Records. Reviewed May 1.

Obviously, right? To some extent, when Sleep surprise-announced on April 19 they’d release their first album in 15 years the next day, and then did, they took ownership of 2018. Even with records still to come at that point from YOB and Sleep guitarist Matt Pike‘s own High on Fire, there was no way that when the end of the year came around, it wasn’t going to be defined by the advent of a new Sleep record. And even if it sucked, it would probably still be Album of the Year, but fortunately, as Pike, bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros (also Om) and drummer Jason Roeder (also Neurosis) took their long-running stage reunion to the studio, they brought material that highlighted the best elements from all players. Pike‘s wild soloing, Cisneros‘ meditative vocals and Roeder‘s intricate but smooth style of roll all came together in older pieces like “Antarcticans Thawed” and “Sonic Titan” and newer highlights “Giza Butler” and “Marijuanaut’s Theme,” and aside from the excitement at their existence, they showed the mastery of form that Sleep had been demonstrating live since 2009 and which they hinted toward in the 2014 single, The Clarity (review here). A new Sleep full-length was something long-discussed, long-rumored and long-considered, but when it finally happened, I think the results vaporized expectation in a way no one could’ve anticipated. There’s a reason Sleep are Sleep. Having The Sciences as a reminder of that brought about the defining moment of 2018.

The Next 20

Indeed, it wouldn’t be much of a Top 30 at all if it didn’t go to 50. Don’t try to make sense of it, just look at the records.

31. Atavismo, Valdeinfierno
32. Grayceon, IV
33. Clamfight, III
34. Seedy Jeezus, Polaris Oblique
35. Megaton Leviathan, Mage
36. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Wasteland
37. Arcadian Child, Superfonica
38. Freedom Hawk, Beast Remains
39. The Machine, Faceshift
40. Messa, Feast for Water
41. Black Rainbows, Pandaemonium
42. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Science Fiction
43. Domkraft, Flood
44. Träden, Träden
45. Mythic Sunship, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music
46. Samavayo, Vatan
47. Foehammer, Second Sight
48. Bongripper, Terminal
49. Mansion, First Death of the Lutheran
50. Sunnata, Outlands
51. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Come and Chutney

Believe me when I tell you, I sweated over this section more than I did the actual top 30. Mansion should be higher. So should Chubby Thunderous, though something in me thought they might like being #50 on a list of 30. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Clamfight, Black Rainbows, Foehammer, Seedy Jeezus, Messa, Domkraft. All of these were fucking awesome. And there are more (we’ll get there). Eventually numbers add up. I won’t say a bad word about any of these. That’s it.

Honorable Mention

This section always winds up expanded as other people point out things I missed and so on, but here’s what I’ve got in the immediate, alphabetically:

  • Alms, Act One
  • Ape Machine, Darker Seas
  • Belzebong, Light the Dankness
  • Black Moon Circle, Psychedelic Spacelord
  • Blackwater Holylight, Blackwater Holylight
  • Bong, Thought and Existence
  • Carpet, About Rooms and Elephants
  • Churchburn, None Shall Live… The Hymns of Misery
  • Deadbird, III: The Forest Within the Tree
  • Dead Meadow, The Nothing They Need
  • Death Alley, Superbia
  • Drug Cult, Drug Cult
  • Dunbarrow, II
  • Electric Citizen, Helltown
  • Eagle Twin, The Thundering Heard: Songs of Hoof and Horn
  • Evoken, Hypnagogia
  • Funeral Horse, Psalms for the Mourning
  • Fuzz Evil, High on You
  • Graven, Heirs of Discord
  • Graveyard, Peace
  • Green Dragon, Green Dragon
  • Green Druid, Ashen Blood
  • Here Lies Man, You Will Know Nothing
  • High Priestess, High Priestess
  • Horehound, Holocene
  • IAH, II
  • JIRM, Surge ex Monumentis
  • Killer Boogie, Acid Cream
  • Lonely Kamel, Death’s Head Hawkmoth
  • MaidaVale, Madness is Too Pure
  • Moab, Trough
  • Mountain Dust, Seven Storms
  • Mouth, Floating
  • Mr. Plow, Maintain Radio Silence
  • T.G. Olson, Earthen Pyramid
  • Onségen Ensemble, Duel
  • Orango, Evergreen
  • Owl, Nights in Distortion
  • Pushy, Hard Wish
  • Rifflord, 7 Cremation Ground/Meditation
  • River Cult, Halcyon Daze
  • Rotor, Sechs
  • Somali Yacht Club, The Sea
  • Sumac, Love in Shadow
  • Sundrifter, Visitations
  • Svvamp, Svvamp II
  • Thou, Magus
  • Thunder Horse, Thunder Horse
  • Weedpecker, III

Special Note

Somehow it didn’t seem appropriate to include these in the list proper because they’re not really underground releases, but there were two more records I especially wanted to highlight for their quality:

  • Alice in Chains, Rainier Fog
  • Judas Priest, Firepower

Best Short Release of the Year

Normally I’d do this as a separate post, but as a result of being robbed earlier this year, I feel like my list is woefully incomplete. If you have any demos, EPs, splits, singles, etc., to add to it, please feel free to do so in the comments below. Still, the top pick was clear:

  • Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard & Slomatics, Totems Split

Rarely do two bands work in such coherent tandem to their mutual benefit. Here are a few other essential short releases for 2018, alphabetically:

  • All Them Witches, Lost and Found
  • Alunah, Amber & Gold
  • Canyon, Mk II
  • Demon Head, The Resistence
  • Destroyer of Light, Hopeless
  • Ecstatic Vision, Under the Influence
  • Godmaker & Somnuri, Split
  • Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul
  • King Buffalo, Repeater
  • Minsk & Zatokrev, Split
  • Sleep, Leagues Beneath
  • Stonus, Lunar Eclipse
  • Sundecay, Gale

Looking Forward

A good many albums have already been announced or hinted at for 2019. I in no way claim this to be a complete roundup of what’s coming, but here’s what I have in my notes so far, in absolutely no order:

Kings Destroy, Lo-Pan, Cities of Mars, Heavy Temple, Mr. Peter Hayden, Curse the Son, High Fighter, Destroyer of Light, Year of the Cobra, Buffalo Fuzz, Zaum, The Sonic Dawn, Alunah, Candlemass, Elepharmers, Grandier, Dorre, Abrahma, Mars Red Sky, Eternal Black, Elephant Tree, Atala, No Man’s Valley, Sun Blood Stories, Crypt Sermon, The Riven, Hibrido, Snail, Red Beard Wall, 11Paranoias, Dead Witches, Monte Luna, Captain Caravan (LP), Swallow the Sun, Oreyeon, Motorpsycho, Vokonis, Hexvessel, Saint Vitus, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Kind, Mastiff, Shadow Witch, Om.

Okay, That’s It

Yeah, no, I’m serious. List is done. Everybody go back to your lives. Your families miss you.

Really though, while this is by no means my last post of 2018, I can’t let it pass without saying thank you so much to everyone for checking out the site this year, or for just digging into this, or for sending me music, or hitting me up on social media, sharing a link, anything. Thank you. Thank you. I could never have imagined when it started out where it would be now. Or that I’d still be doing it. Your support means more to me than I can say, and I thank you so much for being a part of this with me.

So thanks.

If you have something to add to the list, please do so by leaving a comment below, but keep in mind as well the above note requesting civility. Please don’t make me feel stupid because I forgot your favorite record. I forgot a lot of people’s favorite records. I’m one dude. I’m doing my best.

And please keep in mind if you’ve got a list together that the Year-End Poll is open and results will be out Jan. 1.

Everybody have a great and safe 2019.

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Corrosion of Conformity Announce Tour Dates with Crowbar, Weedeater, The Obsessed & Mothership; Tickets on Sale Today

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

corrosion of conformity live (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Hey look, I don’t usually post ticket links with tour announcements. Looks shitty — you know I’m all about vanity — makes it harder to read the dates, and if you’re on any form of the internet reading about music you already know how to use said internet to buy tickets. But this isn’t just any tour. Corrosion of ConformityCrowbar and Mothership teaming up with Weedeater and The Obsessed rotating in and out for stretches. It’s fucking significant. And tickets are on sale today, so yeah, I’m posting the links. Can’t help but notice there are three days off after the New York show. Have to wonder what’s up there… Hmm…

Anyway, I don’t know how else to put it but this tour is pretty astounding, so yeah, just get tickets. Whatever. You know these bands. You know why you need to be there. So mark your calendar and go. Easy as that.

Here’s the info (and links) from the PR wire:

corrosion of conformity crowbar tour

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Announces 2019 North American Headlining Tour With Support From Crowbar, Weedeater, The Obsessed, And Mothership; Tickets On Sale This Friday

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will kick off 2019 with a long-anticipated North American headlining tour! Set to commence January 19th in San Antonio, Texas, and run through February 27th in Nashville, Tennessee, the month-long trek will include support from Crowbar and Mothership as well as Weedeater and The Obsessed on select shows. Tickets go on sale this Friday! See all confirmed dates below.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY released the critically-acclaimed No Cross No Crown full-length earlier this year via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Captured in North Carolina with longtime producer John Custer, the record marks the first studio recording with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan in over a decade and, earning the #67 spot on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, #12 on the Billboard Top Current Albums Chart, and #3 on the Top Hard Music Albums Chart upon its first week of release, is the highest charting album of the band’s career.

No Cross No Crown is available on CD, digital, vinyl, and cassette formats. Various order bundles are available at nuclearblast.com/coc-nocrossnocrown.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY w/ Crowbar, Weedeater (1/19 – 2/13), The Obsessed (2/16 – 2/27), Mothership:
1/19/2019 Alamo City Music Hall – San Antonio, TX [tickets]
1/20/2019 Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK [tickets]
1/21/2019 The Riot Room – Kansas City, MO [tickets]
1/22/2019 Gothic Theatre – Denver, CO [tickets]
1/24/2019 Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ [tickets]
1/25/2019 Fremont Country Club – Las Vegas, NV
1/26/2019 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA [tickets]
1/27/2019 Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA [tickets]
1/29/2019 Slim’s – San Francisco, CA [tickets]
1/31/2019 Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR [tickets]
2/01/2019 Neumos – Seattle, WA [tickets]
2/02/2019 Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, BC [tickets]
2/04/2019 Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB [tickets]
2/05/2019 Marquee – Calgary, AB [tickets]
2/07/2019 Park Theatre – Winnipeg, MB
2/08/2019 Fine Line – Minneapolis, MN [tickets]
2/09/2019 Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL [tickets]
2/10/2019 Machine Shop – Flint, MI [tickets]
2/12/2019 Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH [tickets]
2/13/2019 The Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY
2/16/2019 Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA [tickets]
2/17/2019 Underground Arts – Philadelphia, PA [tickets]
2/18/2019 Ottobar – Baltimore, MD [tickets]
2/20/2019 Opera House – Toronto, ON [tickets]
2/21/2019 Mr. Smalls Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA [tickets]
2/22/2019 Lincoln Theatre – Raleigh, NC [tickets]
2/23/2019 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA [tickets]
2/24/2019 Orpheum – Tampa, FL [tickets]
2/26/2019 Vinyl Music Hall – Pensacola, FL
2/27/2019 The Cowan – Nashville, TN

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is:
Pepper Keenan – vocals, guitar
Woodroe Weatherman – guitar
Mike Dean – bass, vocals
Reed Mullin – drums, vocals

http://www.coc.com
http://www.facebook.com/corrosionofconformity
http://www.twitter.com/coccabal
http://www.nuclearblast.com
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa

Corrosion of Conformity, “Wolf Named Crow” official video

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Corrosion of Conformity Announce UK Tour with Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry and Black Moth

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Can you frickin’ imagine C.O.C. and Orange Goblin on the same bill? I’m sorry, but that’s just awesome. Both will be supporting new records — for Corrosion of Conformity, it’s earlier-this-year’s No Cross No Crown (review here), and for Orange Goblin, the impending The Wolf Bites Back (review later this week) — and with support from Fireball Ministry, lest we forget their own new album, Remember the Story (review here), which came out toward the end of 2017 — and Black Moth, the proceedings are all the more righteous for those who’ll be fortunate enough to witness them.

As fate and clever timing would have it, C.O.C. were in the UK this weekend playing Download and they’ve got another date in Colchester tonight ahead of hitting mainland Europe tomorrow to begin a tour that includes a couple dates meeting up with Converge and a stop at Hellfest. This of course will lead to the next tour, which is another run with Black Label Society in the States following up on the one at the start of the year. That’s in July/August, then in Oct./Nov. it’s back to the UK for the aforementioned excellence alongside Orange Goblin et al. It’s been a busy year for these dudes, especially as they’ve been largely without drummer Reed Mullin, who’s been unable to tour with the band following knee surgery and is, as of the last social media post on the subject, understandably anxious to return.

The PR wire brings the latest, but really, the point here is go see C.O.C. You have the means, motive and opportunity, so make it happen:

corrosion of conformity photo by Dean Karr

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY To Kick Off European Tour This Weekend; Band Confirms Fall UK Dates + Second Leg Of North American Tour With Black Label Society And Eyehategod Nears

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will return to Europe this weekend for a stretch of live dates set to commence June 9th and run through June 24th. The journey includes special performances with Converge as well as appearances at Download, Hellfest, Copenhell, and Graspop. In July, the band will return to North American stages to kick off the second leg of their tour supporting Black Label Society. Slated to begin July 15th, the tour will make its way through nearly two dozen cities upon its conclusion on August 11th. Additional support will again be provided by Eyehategod. CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will close their summer live takeover with a performance at Loud And Heavy Fest in Fort Worth Texas sharing the stages with the likes of Cody Jinks and Whiskey Myers! In October, the band will take on an eight-date UK headlining tour with Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry, and Black Moth. See all confirmed dates below.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY continues to tour in support of their critically lauded No Cross No Crown full-length, released earlier this year via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Captured in North Carolina with longtime producer John Custer, the record marks the first studio recording with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan in over a decade and, earning the #67 spot on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, #12 on the Billboard Top Current Albums Chart, and #3 on the Top Hard Music Albums Chart upon its first week of release, is the highest charting album of the band’s career.

No Cross No Crown is available on CD, digital, vinyl, and cassette formats. Various order bundles are available at nuclearblast.com/coc-nocrossnocrown.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY:
6/09/2018 Download – Donnington Park, UK
6/11/2018 Colchester Arts Centre – Colchester, UK
6/12/2018 FortaRock – Nijmegen, NL
6/13/2018 Den Atelier – Luxembourg, LU
6/14/2018 Universum – Stuttgart, DE
6/16/2018 Konzertfabrik Z7 – Pratteln, CH
6/17/2018 Santeria Social Club – Milan, IT
6/18/2018 Orion – Rome, IT w/ Converge
6/19/2018 VAZ Hafen – Innsbruck, AU w/ Converge
6/20/2018 La Belle Electrique – Grenoble, FR w/ Converge
6/22/2018 Hellfest – Clisson, FR
6/23/2018 Copenhell – København, DK
6/24/2018 Graspop – Dessel, BE

w/ Black Label Society, Eyehategod:
7/15/2018 Inkcarceration Music Festival @ Ohio State Reformatory – Mansfield, OH *
7/16/2018 Monarch Music Hall – Peoria, IA *
7/17/2018 The Forge – Joliet, IL *
7/18/2018 20 Monroe Live – Grand Rapids, MI
7/20/2018 Bourbon Theatre – Lincoln, NE
7/21/2018 Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK
7/22/2018 Cotillion Ballroom – Wichita, KS
7/23/2018 The District – Sioux Falls, SD
7/25/2018 The Clyde Theatre – Wayne, IN
7/27/2018 Si Hall At The Fairgrounds – Syracuse, NY
7/28/2018 Impact Music Festival – Bangor, ME
7/29/2018 The Webster – Hartford, CT*
7/30/2018 The Queen – Wilmington, DE
8/01/2018 The Mill & Mine – Knoxville, TN
8/02/2018 The Fillmore Charlotte – Charlotte, NC
8/03/2018 Phase 2 – Lynchburg, VA
8/05/2018 The Norva – Norfolk, VA
8/07/2018 Rebel – Toronto, ON
8/08/2018 Metlus – Montreal, QC
8/09/2018 Sherman Theater – Stroudsburg, PA
8/10/2018 Paramount – Huntington, NY
8/11/2018 Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
8/18/2018 Loud And Heavy Fest @ Panther Island Pavilion – Fort Worth, TX w/ Cody Jinks, Whiskey Myers

w/ Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry, Black Moth:
10/26/2018 Engine Rooms – Southampton, UK
10/27/2018 02 Institute – Birmingham, UK
10/28/2018 Rock City – Nottingham, UK
10/30/2018 Ritz – Manchester, UK
11/01/2018 02 ABC- Glasgow, UK
11/02/2018 Plug – Sheffield, UK
11/03/2018 The Great Hall – Lardiff, UK
11/04/2018 02 Forum Kentish Town – London, UK
* No Eyehategod

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is:
Pepper Keenan – vocals, guitar
Woodroe Weatherman – guitar
Mike Dean – bass, vocals
Reed Mullin – drums, vocals

http://www.coc.com
http://www.facebook.com/corrosionofconformity
http://www.twitter.com/coccabal
http://www.nuclearblast.com
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa

Corrosion of Conformity, “The Luddite” official video

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