[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Monolord - Vænir (RidingEasy)
I didn’t think these guys could possibly top their magnificent debut from last year, but they’ve somehow managed to do so. While Empress Rising firmly placed the Swedish trio on the Doom map, the follow-up clearly vaults them into the Doom elite. It might seem odd to describe an album with mainly 6+ minute songs as “streamlined”, but this one seems to move a little better than the debut. The riffs are still massive and slow and the vocals still have that watery, reverb effect, but the songs are even more accessible and memorable this time around. This record has immediately vaulted into my #1 spot for the year. Now, about getting these dudes over to the States for a tour…
Space Probe Taurus - Mondo Satan (Ripple)
The second album from this Swedish quartet is a throwback to the 1990’s heyday of Stoner Rock, back before Monster Magnet wore aluminum foil pants on MTV. There’s definitely some Dave Wyndorf action in the vocals, but the riffs trade in the psychedelia for straightforward, bluesy rock and roll, akin to the Orange Goblin biker-rock phase. Sound-wise, I really enjoy the fuzz tones on this record and the constant lead runs are pretty tasty. Apparently these guys have been plying their trade since 1992, so it’s no surprise that they’ve managed to wrap up their influences into a tight amalgamation of fuzzed out glory.