My Favorite Albums of 2019


Where did the year go?!  Time flies when you’re having fun and thus I want to dedicate this year’s list to an amazing woman that filled the majority of my 2019 with so much love, laughter, music, food, support, friendship, companionship, and fun.  Debbie…I love you.

Please support these awesome bands/artists by visiting their internet presence and buying their output.

Cactus Flowers – Incantations  (Self Released) – Fantastic debut from this killer Houston trio.  See my write up on this awesome band here – http://www.gonzogeek.com/Blog/tabid/62/ID/8251/Cactus-Flowers.aspx

DuneEater – No Gas No Good  (Self Released) – Full throttle Stoner Rock from Australia.  These Aussies sound like a hybrid of early Kyuss and Fu Manchu.  Very catchy and the perfect soundtrack for barreling down the highway with the top down.  https://duneeater.bandcamp.com/album/no-gas-no-good

Skyblood – Self Titled  (Napalm Records) – Swedish vocalist extraordinaire Mats Leven (of Candlemass, Yngwie Malmsteen, Krux, and At Vance fame) embarks on his first solo album under the Skyblood moniker.  What a fantastic voice and he also plays most of the instruments on the record himself.  Beauty, power, and majesty.  His quirky inflections are awesome and at times he has a somewhat Gothy delivery.  The album cover art is incredible too.  https://skyblood.bandcamp.com/releases

Wolfbrigade – The Enemy: Reality  (Southern Lord) – Swedish D-Beat Crust legends return with an incredibly fun ride with their new slab of heaviness.  A lot more mid-tempo groove on this record than past offerings which makes this album so hella-enjoyable.  But don’t fear, cuz the ferocity and aggression is here in spades too.  https://wolfbrigadesl.bandcamp.com/

Sacred Reich – Awakening  (Metal Blade Records) – Its been 23 years since this Arizona Thrash outfit’s last studio album and they have come back right where they left off…making killer Thrash Metal music.  Dave McClain is back on drums and young newcomer Joey Radziwill is on rhythm guitar.  Phil’s voice sounds incredible and he sings with conviction and passion.  So great to have a band with leftist/progressive ideals back in the Metal scene which sadly has been infiltrated by lots of right-wing/conservative ideology as of late.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Reich

Orbiter – Southern Failures  (Self Released) – Soaring heavy Stoner Rock from Gainesville, Florida.  Melodic yet muscular with clean vocal delivery and great musicianship.  Great production makes the album sound big and booming.  https://orbiterfl.bandcamp.com/album/southern-failures 

SkullDozer – Killing Season  (Self Released) – Dirty gritty Stoner Metal from Portland, Oregon.  The singer has a really cool androgynous vocal delivery.  Really heavy mid-tempo stomping grooves.  A very fun listen.  https://skulldozer.bandcamp.com/album/killing-season

Alice Phoebe Lou – A Place Of My Own – The Mahogany Sessions  (Mahogany Sessions) – A stunningly beautiful EP from this South African native.  Her voice is absolutely gorgeous and the musicianship by the other band members is top notch.  Super mellow, airy, Jazzy, Bluesy, Folky, Indie Rock that will make you float away to your happy place.  https://www.alicephoebelou.com/

Valley Of The Sun – Old Gods  (Fuzzorama Records) – From Ohio comes more fantastic soaring Stoner Rock that beautifully captures the spirit of the desert scene.  Majestic clean vocals atop a chassis of thunderous Stoner Rock grandeur.  Really good stuff.  https://fuzzoramarecords1.bandcamp.com/album/old-gods 

Heavy Feather – Debris & Rubble  (The Sign Records) – Incredible Blues Rock from Stockholm, Sweden with serious guitar work and powerfully sexy vocals.  Lisa Lystam sings her ass off and the band channels a classic 70’s vibe with amazing sincerity.  https://heavyfeatherofficial.bandcamp.com/

Dream Theater – Distance Over Time  (InsideOutMusic) – The Prog-Metal masters hit it outta the park with this one.  See my write up on this fantastic record here – http://www.gonzogeek.com/Blog/tabid/62/ID/6246/Dream-Theater–Distance-Over-Time.aspx

Flotsam & Jetsam – The End Of Chaos  (AFM Records) – The Arizona Thrashers return with a vicious and pummeling new record.  Ken Mary of Fifth Angel fame now occupies the drum-throne after Jason Bittner jumped ship to join Overkill.  Great to see this legendary band getting heavier and meaner with age.  One hell of a chugging riff-fest.  http://www.flotsam-and-jetsam.com/

The Well – Death And Consolation  (RidingEasy Records) – Killer Stoner Rock trio from Austin, Texas.  Fuzzed out guitars with hints of Doom and Punk.  The dual vocals of Ian and Lisa meld together beautifully.  Hypnotic, tribal, and spooky.  These guys are awesome.  They even played a festival in Katmandu, Nepal this year…wow!  https://www.thewellband.com/

Bask – III  (Season Of Mist) – Ashville, North Carolina’s purveyors of Post-Metal Psychedelic Americana return with their third album.  This is a gorgeous record filled with lovely textures weaved through beautiful melodies and powerful rhythms.  Can’t help but think of Autumn weather in the mountains with the changing leaves when listening to this.  https://basknc.bandcamp.com/album/iii

Overkill – The Wings Of War  (Nuclear Blast) – The long time New Jersey Thrash juggernaut keeps cranking out bad-ass records consistently and shows no signs of stopping or going soft.  Drummer extraordinaire Jason Bittner makes his debut on this record and injects even more horsepower into this already fierce machine.  Classic Thrash played by the old guard the way it should be.  http://wreckingcrew.com/Ironbound/

As I Lay Dying – Shaped By Fire  (Nuclear Blast) – A triumphant return after Tim Lambesis’ conviction and time spent behind bars for the murder-for-hire plot of his wife.  As despicable as this was; Tim seemed to be a changed man after his release and him and the band released very public apologies for his actions.  This record comes 7 years after their last studio effort and is a powerful statement by a band and front-man that seemed would never recover from their personal tumult.  The interplay between Tim’s ultra-heavy gruff vocals and the clean soaring delivery of Josh Gilbert is awesome.  It’s not overtly cheesy as most Metalcore bands are.  Really catchy, inspirational, and chuggingly heavy. https://www.asilaydying.com/  

Kamchatka – Hoodoo Lightning  (Self Released) – Another great record from this long running Swedish band.  Like most of their Scandinavian ilk, this is superbly executed Bluesy Stoner Rock.  Great melodies, powerful hooks, velvety vocals, and stellar musicianship.  https://kamchatkaofficial.bandcamp.com/album/hoodoo-lightning 

L7 – Scatter The Rats  (Blackheart Records) – Another great band from back in the day making a comeback and with all the original members.  It’s been 20 years since this classic Los Angeles Grunge machine released a record.  The new album is L7 through and though.  Bad-ass mid-tempo groove played by a pack of girls that will kick your ass.  http://l7theband.com/

Love Gang – Dead Man’s Game  (Colfax Records) – Gritty dirty Rock from Denver, Colorado.  Super fun and upbeat.  Unique textures and sounds with the use of Organ, flute, and Saxaphone, but not in a cheesy Renaissance music way…ha!!!  https://lovegangco.bandcamp.com/

Lo-Pan – Subtle  (Aqualamb) – Columbus, Ohio hero’s return with a kick-ass long player.  Jeff’s silky soaring voice floats over cascading riffs and a thunderous rhythm section.  Great melodies that stay with you.  Really good stuff.  https://lo-pan-rock.bandcamp.com/album/subtle 

John Garcia And The Band Of Gold – Self Titled  (Napalm Records) – The man, the voice, the legend.  Stoner Rock icon John Garcia started the year with the release of a bad-ass record.  Produced by none other than the mighty Chris Goss.  All killer and no filler. Full of thick swanky groove.   John’s voice is unmistakable and the band is well…golden.  https://johngarcia.bandcamp.com/album/john-garcia-and-the-band-of-gold

Rotting Christ – The Heretics  (Season Of Mist) – Greece’s stalwarts of Proggy-Grandiose-World-Death Metal are back with another intense record that shatters international boundaries.  Multi-ethnic influences and textures combine with many different languages to form a stunning and incredibly heavy slab of creativity.  https://www.rotting-christ.com/en

Helhorse – Hydra  (Napalm Records) – The Danish outfit puts out its 4th album.  A brilliant mixture of Metal, Punk, Hard Rock, Sludge, and Doom.  It’s all here and executed with style and grace.  https://helhorse.bandcamp.com/album/hydra

Thal – The Harvesting  (Overlook Hotel Records) – A super soulful yet heavy release from this Columbus, Ohio band.  John’s voice is huge and drips with soul and conviction.  The guitar and bass tones are massive.  The songs hover around a solid mid-tempo groove to a more doomy slow tempo.  https://thal.bandcamp.com/album/the-harvesting

Alconaut – Sand Turns To Tide  (Self Released) – Some serious classic Stoner Rock worship by this band from Bastia, Corsica.  Chugging mid-tempo riffs a plenty.  Nothing new, but done very well and very memorable.  https://alconaut.bandcamp.com/album/sand-turns-to-tide

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