[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Visigoth - Conqueror's Oath (Metal Blade)
I really enjoyed this Utah 5-piece's 2015 debut, but their 2nd release is on another level. Swords and sorcery themed traditional heavy metal with an insane amount of hooks, riffs and leads. There's not one bad song on here. Early contender for 2018 Album of the Year.
The Watchers - Black Abyss (Ripple)
This Texan quartet deals out some riffs heavier than a Whataburger patty melt on their debut full-length. They manage to tread the fine line between stoner rock and doom metal with deft balance, leaning more towards the heavy end but retaining that classic Texas groove and swagger.
Black Wizard - Livin' Oblivion (Listenable)
Somehow these guys have managed to fly under my radar for a decade now, but I'm rectifying that with their 4th release. Riff-heavy, up-tempo, duel guitar doom metal with pummeling drums and smooth vocals. This is what Orange Goblin should be releasing these days.
Gygax - Second Edition (Creator-Destructor)
This is the perfect record to blast out of your Trans-Am now that the weather has finally come around. 8 tracks of D&D-themed Thin Lizzy worship are featured on the LA foursome's second record. Best guitar harmonies I've heard in a long time.
High Reeper - High Reeper (Heavy Psych)
In a world where everyone rips off Sabbath, you need to do a fantastic job to stand out and these Philly hippies manage to pull it off quite well on their debut. I could've used a beefier bass tone, but otherwise, this is a solid worship record that doesn't get tired on repeat plays.
Fuzz Lord - Fuzz Lord (Fuzzdoom)
Okay, so the band is called Fuzz Lord and their own label is called Fuzzdoom...so I don't really need to explain what you're getting here. But it's really good debut from the Chillicothe, OH trio and it sounds absolutely fantastic for a record recorded in a basement and self-released.
Speedclaw - Beast in the Mist (Shadow Kingdom)
Speed Metal isn't usually in my wheelhouse, but these Croatians manage to pack a whole lot of fun into under 30 minutes on their second EP. Buzzsaw riffs and shredding leads complement the throaty vocals and the surprisingly well-written lyrics. This would've blown you away in 1983. Reminiscent of my other speed crush Bewitcher.
Gatekeeper - East of Sun (Cruz Del Sur)
If you release a Conan the Barbarian themed record, I'm going to listen it. Period. And if it's as good as this one, it ends up on the blog. It's that easy. Bonus points if you're Canadian. Excellent thrash/trad metal. They also cover Omen and Savatage, in case you were wondering where they're coming from.