2020 has been a strange and difficult year for most people, but that hasn’t stopped the release of some truly fantastic music. As we near the close of this tumultuous and trying year, here are the 20 albums that have resonated the most with me in 2020.
As we draw down (the moon) on our reveal of the top seventy-five albums of the year, as voted for by the cast, crew, and alumni of this fine rock, metal, punk, hardcore and indie-focused site, we can take a moment to reflect on the power of heavy music, and that every one of the seventy-five albums we are celebrating and acknowledging will have had a positive impact on several of our team and readers. Continue reading
As much as Wino deserves his doom godfather status for fronting groups like The Obsessed and Saint Vitus, there’s something to be said for his more recent singer/songwriter excursions. Whether going it alone or with such collaborators as Conny Ochs, the acoustic style suits him surprisingly well and the volume contrast brings a fuller perspective to his haggard lifer persona. This is especially true for his third album, Forever Gone (Ripple Music), which may be his most low-key effort to date.Continue reading
Psycho Las Vegas has announced their return in the summer of 2021. If you had tickets for this year, you are in luck! Most of the lineup will return next year, except Rebel Motorcycle Club, Ty Segall & The Freedom Band, and Crowbar. This still looks like one of the best festivals in the world next year, in a year overpacked with re-scheduled events and tours. See the full lineup below.Continue reading
Psycho Las Vegas has shared the bad news that they have canceled the 2020 festival that was set for August due to ot the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Psycho Las Vegas 2021 has been scheduled to August 19-22, 2021. “Nearly all the bands” have agreed to return for the 2021st dates. The full announcement is expected after they confirm those last bands. Continue reading
There are few lineups that conjure up the magic of underground metal like the twin pairing ofToday Is The Day and The Obsessed. Both groups have had an outsized influence on the underground and it’s hard not to be enamored with what they have done for this scene. With their charismatic frontmen, Steve Austin and Wino respectively, this lineup came together as a sort of minor miracle, celebrating the magic of the new Today is the Day record at a release show that reminded those of us in attendance exactly why these guys are viewed as the true masters of noise metal. Riffs and heavy vibes abounded on the Brooklyn faithful, and after a heady warmup set from Prostitution and then punishing riffage from Somnuri, we were ready for the main events! Continue reading
Ripple Music, purveyors of some of the best Heavy Music on the planet have announced the signing of Doom and Stoner Metal icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich. Wino’s new solo album, Forever Gone, will launch Ripple’s new “Blood and Strings” series, in which some of the most admired names in riff-rock and metal unplug to record albums of acoustic heaviness. Wino is, of course, the iconic singer and guitarist associated with some of the biggest names in the genre, such as The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand and Shrinebuilder. Wino’s new solo album was produced by Frank Marchand, and more details about the album and “Blood and Strings” are coming soon. Continue reading
Scott “Wino” Weinrich and The Obsessed were one of the few bands waving the doomy, Black Sabbath-loving flag when, frankly, doom and Sabbath were not cool. They kept the faith during the dark days when it wasn’t cool to like big, slow, heavy riffs. Continue reading
Saint Vitus will be unleashing their Live Vol. 2 album on September 23rd via Season of Mist, but thanks to Decibel Magazine, you can hear the devastatingly heavy offering right now. Continue reading
Back in the early 90s, doom and stoner were pretty much the uncoolest of genres to be associated with. Playing fast and brutal was the order of the game and those who still clung to the belief that Black Sabbath were the coolest cats to ever strut their stuff were roundly ignored in favour of blastbeats and death grunts.
Now of course the tables have turned and everywhere you care to look you’ll see groups of scruffy young urchins in flares and suspiciously new looking Witchfinder General shirts being hyped to oblivion by record labels eager to show just how hip their latest purveyors of fuzz really are. If they sing about Satan; even better!
Now, without wishing to sound completely cynical, many of these bands are talented, hardworking and deserve to do well. After all, Sabbath really is the greatest and there’s no disputing it. Unfortunately however, there are numerous bands riding the coattails of this retro-rock/doom/stoner trend and Houston, Texas’s Funeral Horse are one of the worst examples.
Debut full length Divinity for the Wicked (Artificial Head) has a stripped down, no-frills sound that reduces the songs to the bare bones of hard rock and stoner. Sadly, the songwriting is generic in the extreme with riffs being repeated over and over with little thought for progression. When the members eventually do decide to switch tempos or riffs, the transitions sound clunky and amateurish. Add in some inexcusable long pauses during and between songs, a production thinner than Kate Moss and terrible, out-of-tune vocals and you’re left with a record that isn’t fit to serve as Wino’s drinks coaster.
Hopefully the band will note their failings on this record and return to some of the Sub Pop influences they displayed on earlier EP’s, as there’s really no place in such an overcrowded genre for something this weak.