What an exceptional year for music it has been! I've genuinely not even had the time to really dig down with the albums outside this top 5 as much as they deserve. When you consider that includes new music from Uncle Acid, Brutus, Kadavar, Samara Blues Experiment and Cult of Luna, just to name a few off the top of my head, it borders on criminality. Anyway, these are just my favourite albums of the year.... no more, no less.
5. Chivo - Cantankerous Rock (Self-released)
Thick and heavy stoner rock with excellent drumming (and songs!!). Reminds me of the first Truckfighters album. A quality album of punishing heavy rock from Spain.
4. Blood Ceremony - The Eldritch Dark (Rise Above Records)
Definitely softer in their approach but also more sophisticated, this is safely my favourite record by the band. Their medieval folk melodies are finally allowed to take ultimate precedence. Don't worry though, still plenty of heavy included!
3. Clutch - Earth Rocker (Weathermaker)
I'm no advocate or dedicated fan, like so many are, but even I can acknowledge this represents another career height for Clutch. Their very best output since Blast Tyrant in my opinion. Each and every song is memorable and delivered with flair. I really like the production too, clear but with lots of punch. Y'know, phat ass sounding drums and shit.
2. Church Of Misery - Thy Kingdom Scum (Rise Above Records)
Another class act once again peaking. I definitely feel they've slightly shifted their style for this album.. it's a little faster paced, more Clutch than Electric Wizard if that makes any sense, speaking riff wise. Importantly however the groove hasn't left and the bass tone is absolutely delicious. I was compelled to nod my head in pure aural gratification every time I listened. The Japanese masters deliver another essential Doom album.
1. Magic Circle - Magic Circle (Armageddon Shop)
I have listened to this album so many times this year. It's exceptional in the sense that it does the simple things very well. This might seem like quite an odd observation to make, but it results in the album having an enduring, timeless, CLASSIC quality to it. The vocal performance is extraordinary. It just works in so many levels with the riffs, the melody, the drum fills, the subtle bass licks generating a greater sonic experience. I cannot urge you enough check this out enough. Safe to say, I consider this a modern Doom Metal vintage that deserves it's place in any enthusiast's collection. Don't deny yourself!!