[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Alunah - Awakening the Forest (Napalm)
This English quartet cranks out some fantastic doom with sultry female vocals on their 3rd full-length release. Shifting between crushing doom riffs and psychedelic breaks, the band reminds me a lot of Subrosa, who are also fantastic. Somehow this band has flown under my radar for the past five years. I think it’s time to rectify that egregious error and check out the back catalog.
Lo-Pan - Colossus (Small Stone)
Though this remains a must-see live band, Lo-Pan has always delivered with solid studio work as well. On their fourth release, the Columbus quartet delivers the punishing stoner metal that we’ve come to expect and somehow manages to top their previous albums. If you want riffs and more riffs, you’ve come to the right place. Lo-Pan adds fuel to the argument that the best metal is coming out of Ohio these days.
Northern Oak - Of Roots and Flesh (N/A)
Folk metal can be a tough sell when you’re playing the formulaic melodies and singing about drinking, but when you step outside the box and lay down a base of black metal and then add the folk elements on top, you have my attention. That’s exactly what this Sheffield, UK 6-piece has done on their third album. This is one of the heaviest folk metal releases I’ve heard and the flute actually brings something to the table. Can’t wait to head to the forest to build a fire and crank this one up.
Orange Goblin - Back From The Abyss (Candlelight)
Orange Goblin’s 1998 masterpiece Time Travelling Blues was my introduction to Stoner Metal and remains one of my favorite albums to this day. The subsequent releases have been largely hit-and-miss, but the London quartet has come full circle with their 8th album. This is arguably the most cohesive OG release in 16 years, dropping any pretense for a full-out riff fest with plenty of doom and stoner elements. I haven’t been this excited about a new release from one of my favorite bands in a while. It’s always a pleasure to hear Ben Ward kick off a song with a trademark, “Yeah!”