Metal Chris’ Favorite Doom and Stoner Albums of 2019

I already made lists of my favorite black metal albums (here) and death metal albums (here) of 2019 but with this post we’re going to slow it down with my favorite doom and stoner releases of the year. I use the genre labels pretty loosely here so don’t get too nitpicky and just chill with some of the best slower jams metal had to offer in 2019. They’re not ranked so I just put them in the order of release date. I hope you enjoy my picks and find some new favorites.

Waste Of Space OrchestraSyntheosis
Released April 5, 2019 by Svart Records
Waste Of Space Orchestra is a band made up of the members of two bands from Finland, Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising. Not just a few members, it’s the full roster of both bands combined, including both drummers. The resulting album is something quite unique featuring elements of both bands, Oranssi Pazuzu leans toward black metal while Dark Buddha Rising is rooted more in doom metal, with everything wrapped up in heavy amounts of that spacey vibe they both incorporate.

Sunn O)))Life Metal
Released April 26, 2019 by Southern Lord Recordings
The band Earth created the drone genre but Sunn O))) took it to another level. The duo released two albums in 2019 after 3 years without a studio release, but Life Metal is the better of the two. This extremely slow music that is meant to be played at very high volumes is not for everyone. If you’re looking for riffs there are none. There’s no drums either. The music is more about tone, textures and moods and on this release Sunn O))) shows they’re still the best drone band around.

DuelValley of Shadows
Self-released May 17, 2019
The Sword may have gone on indefinite hiatus but fellow Austin, Texas, natives Duel are clearly trying to fill that void. Valley of Shadows is packed with infectious riffs and catchy vocal lines making it quite hard to pick a single song as a favorite, it’s really that good. This album was self released and digital only, but should be on any stoner metal fan’s radar.

PelicanNighttime Stories
Released June 7, 2019 by Southern Lord Recordings
Chicago based instrumental band Pelican is a bit of an odd ball on this list, they’re not really stoner nor doom but their first release in 6 years is so strong I had to find a way to include it. Sometimes labeled post-metal, I’m not sold on that take either. Regardless, the band has returned with some of the best songwriting of their career, really tightening up their sound. I just hope the next full length isn’t another six years away.

BeastwarsIV
Self-released June 28, 2019
Recorded in 10 days starting just a week after Beastwars vocalist Matt Hyde finished chemotherapy treatment, this album has a pain and darkness to it that you just can’t fake. The song “Storms of Mars” is a powerful example of the New Zealand based band’s dark sludgey sound as you hear a powerless man begging for just ten more years so he can watch his child grow up. This was obviously a therapeutic album for a band that was recording in the middle of a healing process, as part of that very process, and it makes IV something really special.

LowFlyingHawksAnxious Ghosts
Released June 28, 2019 by Magnetic Eye Records
This short release covers a lot of ground in just 5 songs. There are slow spacey stoner soundscapes that give way to more straight forward sludge grooves. LowFlyingHawk’s rhythm section includes Dale Crover of the Melvins behind the kit and Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle on bass but it’s the seamless transitions of styles that have kept my attention on this release.

Plague Of CarcosaOcean Is More Ancient Than The Mountains
Released July 19, 2019 by Sludgelord Records
Plague of Carcosa is another instrumental band from Chicago on this list but their sound is more akin to heavyweights like Bongripper and Conan but with an added Lovecraftian spookiness underneath it all. This release is short but the two songs are long, haunting and crushingly heavy.

WaingroIII
Self-released August 16, 2019
Vancouver based Waingro have put out something fun with their third full length. They play a high energy style of crunchy stoner metal but with a singer that does a hardcore style shouted vocal delivery. I know that isn’t something everyone is going to love but it actually fits the band’s sound well.

MonolordNo Comfort
Released September 20, 2019 by Relapse Records
From Gothenburg, Sweden, Monolord play nothing akin to the melodic death metal the city is famous for. Pallbearer changed the game with their debut release Sorrow and Extinction in 2012 and a wave of doom metal bands with clean vocals popped up around the world, including Monolord. Where Pallbearer has moved further away from doom with every release Monolord has stayed the course and instead of rehashing they have evolved the sound even further. They have managed to make an incredible album here with memorable riffs (that riff at about 3 minutes into “Last Leaf” may be the best on this entire list) but are also able to slow it way down into the doldrums that modern doom is known for.

Holy SerpentEndless
Released October 18, 2019 by RidingEasy Records
Australian band Holy Serpent put out a really solid slab of stoner/doom metal with Endless. The catchy, thundering riffs on these jams make the release very accessible to any fan of the genre. Dissonant vocals contrast well with the guitar tone creating a sound that is both fun and quite chill at the same time.

EsotericA Pyrrhic Existence
Released November 8, 2019 by Season of Mist
Esoteric has long been my favorite funeral doom metal band and their first release in 8 years did not change that opinion. The Birmingham, England, based band has put out an impressive amount of beautiful yet grindingly slow and heavy material since the mid-90s with no concern for commercial appeal. Case in point, A Pyrrhic Existence starts off with a 27+ minute long dirge that, while not particularly marketable on the radio, shows the band building up tension to a crescendo masterfully.

SpaceslugReign of the Orion
Released December 6, 2019 by BSFD Records
I’ve really been diving into the world of Eastern European stoner bands the past couple years and Polish band Spaceslug, along with contemporaries like The Re-Stoned, Somali Yacht Club, Bantha Rider and Stoned Jesus, have been proving the area has some of the best bands in the genre today. As you might expect from the title, Reign of the Orion is full of spaced out tunes to help you float away to distant nebulae in your mind’s eye.

Premiere of Lost In Time music video by Borracho

Cover of Atacama by Borracho

It’s the holiday season and what’s the best gift every year? New Apple products? World peace? Of course not! The best gift is brand spankin’ new heavy metal tunes! Washington DC’s own Borracho are three wise men who are stuffing your stocking with extra helpings of stoner riffage this year. Their brand new album, Atacama, just dropped today and you can download it digitally ($8) or get it on CD ($12) from Bandcamp right here, right now! If recordings of these tunes just aren’t enough for you be sure to catch Borracho in action at their CD release show on Thursday, December 15th at Slash Run. You can get all the details on that show here.

Can’t wait until the 15th for that sweet Borracho live experience? Well then you’ve got to check out the music video for their new song “Lost In Time,” one of my favorite tracks off of Atacama. This video was recorded at the Velvet Lounge on U Street and I’m going to have to warn you, if you’ve ever been a bit buzzed watching Borracho perform live then this video may trigger some flashbacks of the face melting kind! Well what are you waiting for, click play on the video below, crank it to 11 and drift off to the land of riff.

Sleep ticket give away

Sleep at the 9:30 Club

We promised two great contests this week and now here’s the second one! The masters of stoner metal riffage, Sleep, are going to be making a rare appearance in Washington DC on Sunday, June 26th at the 9:30 Club and you don’t want to miss it! We’re going to give one of you lucky DCHM readers the chance to win a free pair of tickets to this sure to sell out show. To enter just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite stoner band of all time is. At 5pm EST on Monday, April 4th, 2016, the contest will end I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for just $30 here.

Sleep is known for their incredible ability to summon a very Black Sabbath vibe through some of the fuzziest stoner riffs out there! Guitarist Matt Pike spends most of his time in High On Fire these days and this Sleep “tour” only includes 7 North American dates, so getting to see Sleep in DC is a rare thing indeed, something that hasn’t happened in a decade. The the opener for this show is a perfect choice! Richmond based Windhand play some of the catchiest slow riffs in the modern doom metal world which blend perfectly with vocalist Dorthia Cottrell’s haunting voice. Now check out these videos of the bands below while you tell me in the comments what your favorite stoner band is!

Sleep – Dragonaut

Windhand – Orchard

Bongzilla ticket give away

Bongzilla at the Metro Gallery

Pack some Visine with your ear plugs this weekend because Bongzilla is headlining the Metro Gallery on Saturday, October 24th (that’s this coming weekend). To help you stoner metal fans motivate for this show we’re going to give away a free pair of tickets the show! To enter: leave a comment on this post telling me what you favorite stoner metal song of all time is (I’m half expecting all entries to be Dopesmoker by Sleep) and this Thursday, October 22nd at 5pm EST a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. Please do not enter if you are under 18 because this show is for ages 18+ only and winning tickets from me will not get you past the door guy asking to see your ID. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from right now for $20 from Ticket Fly here.

Bongzilla is a Madison, Wisconsin based stoner metal band that has been pretty quiet for the past 10 years. They’ve been added to next year’s Maryland Deathfest bill but you don’t have to wait until May to see Bongzilla play live! If you’re into stoner metal then you don’t want to miss the return of Bongzilla to our area this weekend! In addition, there’s some great stoner/doom local bands on the bill as well including Baltimore’s own Corpse Light, Slagstorm from Hagerstown (featuring members of Fortress) and Northern Virginia based Foehammer, who you may remember played the DCHM holiday party last year. Now check out these sweet songs by the bands on the bill and let me know what your favorite stoner metal song is.

Bongzilla – Grim Reefer

Corpse Light

Slagstorm

Foehammer – Stormcrow

Electric Wizard ticket give away

Electric Wizard at Baltimore Soundstage

You may have heard that Electric Wizard is returning to Baltimore, this time to play at the Baltimore Soundstage on Wednesday, April 1st, 2015. And you may have heard that this show is already sold out. These things are true but we here at DCHM wanted to give everyone one last chance to get into this show so we’re giving away a pair of tickets to one of you lucky readers! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what was the best sold out concert you’ve ever been to. At 5pm EST this Friday, March 20th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to enter using a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner within 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. This is your last chance to get Electric Wizard tickets so don’t put it off!

Electric Wizard last played in Baltimore in 2012 as a headliner at that year’s Maryland Deathfest. It was the UK based stoner/doom metal band’s first time in the US in many years. They’ve finally put out a new album since then, last year’s Time To Die, and now they’re finally coming back to the US for a tour. This will be our area’s only stop for the tour and as you can imagine, it sold out pretty quick. The opening band for the tour is actually a local band from our area, Satan’s Satyrs. The throwback band has become a favorite of the guys in Electric Wizard, so much so that Satan’s Satyrs bass player Clayton Burgess is now also playing bass for Electric Wizard. If you’re looking for a night of down tuned fuzzy riffs then you don’t want to miss this concert! This show is going to seriously kick some ass so check out these videos by the bands playing and leave a comment below telling me what your favorite sold out concert was!

Electric Wizard – Satanic Rites Of Drugula

Electric Wizard – Black Mass

Satan’s Satyrs – One By One (They Die)

Stoner Playlist

Well it’s official, today, February 26th, they legalized the personal possession of marijuana (up to 2 ounces and 6 plants) in Washington DC by anyone age 21 or over. It’s still not legal on federal land, which includes all parks (including the zoo and the National Mall), Smithsonian museums, Congress, and even some roads like the Rock Creek Parkway, and you still can’t smoke it in public on the street or in a bar/restaurant, hell you’re not even allowed to buy it (it is legal to give it away to someone 21 or over though). But still, it’s now no longer a crime to possess or use pot in your own home in Washington DC. I think that makes, in Washington DC at least, 2-26 the new 4-20. So grab some munchies and check out this stoneriffic playlist of pot related metal songs I’ve thrown together to mark the occasion.

Black Sabbath – Sweet Leaf 1971 Master Of Reality

I’d be an idiot if I didn’t start this playlist off “Sweet Leaf,” the opening track from the original stoner metal album Master Of Reality. Pretty much every song on this list was influenced by this song in one way or another.

Cannabis Corpse – Skull Full Of Bong Hits 2009 The Weeding

Richmond’s Cannabis Corpse have made a career out of making pot themed parodies of famous death metal songs, mostly from Cannibal Corpse. I’m assuming they got real high and had some Weird Al Yankovic and death metal on shuffle together. This song parodies the Cannibal Corpse classic “A Skull Full Of Maggots.”

Electric Wizard – Satanic Rites Of Drugula 2007 Witchcult Today

Have you ever been so high you felt like Nosferatu waking from an ancient, undead slumber? Judging by this song I can tell you Electric Wizard sure as hell has.

Death – Cosmic Sea 1991 Human

Back in 1991 Death’s line up included Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal (both of Cynic fame) and the Human album had some instant classic songs like “Suicide Machine” and “Flattening Of Emotions.” I remember when I first heard this instrumental track and thinking to myself “oh so the Death guys have been getting high as shit.” This song isn’t an ode to Mary Jane like most of the tracks on this list but compared to the rest of Death’s catalog it’s apparent that this is definitely their weed song.

Bongripper – Reefer Sutherland 2007 Hippie Killer

The Chicago based instrumental band Bongripper sure brings the heavy. They blew me away at Maryland Deathfest XVII and this hilariously titled song, “Reefer Sutherland,” is a great 16 minute long example of the band’s stoner doom metal sound.

Cephalic Carnage – Kill For Weed 2005 Anamolies

Cephalic Carnage is from Colorado and while that state already legalized pot that wasn’t the case when they wrote this brutal song back in 2005 about the need for legalizing pot.

Bongzilla – Amerijuanican 2005 Amerijuanican

Madison, Wisconsin’s Bongzilla’s namesake is pretty apt, they bring some big, heavy riffs with their sound that is as fuzzy as a smoke filled room.

Acid Witch – Stoned To The Grave 2010 Stoned

Acid Witch is one hell of a trippy band, they sound like they crawled out from some dank cave that they haven’t left since the 70s. This song recants the tale of how the Acid Witch met her untimely death.

Down – Hail The Leaf 1995 NOLA

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out exactly what leaf Phil Anselmo (of Pantera fame) is hailing in this track off the band’s debut album.

Kyuss – Gardenia 1994 Kyuss (Welcome To Sky Valley)

Back before Josh Homme went on to form a bunch of pop rock bands like Queens Of The Stone Age and Eagles Of Death Metal he was in a killer stoner band called Kyuss. These guys brought the riffs every time and Gardenia is a great track to showcase one of the greatest stoner bands that will probably never fully reunite.

Sleep – Dopesmoker 2003 Dopesmoker

A stoner metal playlist just isn’t complete without the legendary Dopesmoker, made famous for being an album consisting of just one song that clocks in at over an hour. There simply isn’t a better metal song to zone out to.

Saint Vitus at the Black Cat

Thursday the 27th of September 2012 saw the Black Cat in Washington DC drawing a pretty good sized crowd for one of the legends of doom/stoner metal, Saint Vitus. This was the first of two major doom/stoner shows in just a few days as Down and Pentagram played the Fillmore three days later (my review of that show is coming next). However, the first band to play on this rainy Thursday night was Sourvein, a stoner/doom/sludge band that was a decent opener. They didn’t do anything that really stood out that much to me but they were heavy and fuzzy and made for a good band to open this kind of show. The second band to play was a three piece stoner band from North Carolina named Weedeater. Their bass player, “Dixie” Dave Collins, also does the vocals and he’s a pretty entertaining front man. When he wasn’t swigging whiskey from the bottle on stage he was giving all kinds of crazy cross eyed looks to the audience and stomping around his side of the stage. You may have seen him before in the bands Buzzov•en and Hail!Hornet but Weedeater was definitely his band and as such, they were a lot of fun to watch play. Their songs ranged from faster paced catchy riffs to slow plodding doom all with a bit of humor to them. Their closing song, the humorous yet epic track Weed Monkey, was a perfect showcase of their range and a great set up for the final band of the night, Saint Vitus.

Saint Vitus formed in the late 70s in Los Angeles as one of the first doom metal bands (after Black Sabbath of course). However it wasn’t until 1986 that their legendary vocalist, Scott “Wino” Weinrich would join the band. Wino has been in several other noteworthy bands such as The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, Shrinebuilder, Premonition 13 and too many more to list, however he is most famous for his time in Saint Vitus. This is why the influential Saint Vitus got all the old school doom heads out to the show, as well as many younger fans. Saint Vitus put out a new album, Lillie: F-65, back in May and made an appearance at Maryland Deathfest that same month, however Thursday’s concert was the first time Saint Vitus had played any of that new material actually inside the District. They kicked off their set with one of the new album’s best tracks, Blessed Night, and played several more from the album through the night. They also played several older classics from the three old albums with Wino and even played a couple songs from before he joined the band. You can see the actual set list here if you’d like. Despite the band’s age they had great energy on stage. Guitarist Dave Chandler went crazy with the solos all night sometimes playing with his teeth or even behind his head at times. He really did a good job of bringing the crowd up while Wino’s painful lyrics and trademark weathered, raspy voice brought everyone back down. Towards the end of the set Dave Chandler even said that this was definitely the band’s best gig in DC and he thanked the audience for being so into the show. I guess that wasn’t good enough for him as he later jumped off the stage and played a solo while walking around in the audience! Saint Vitus eventually walked off stage and came back to perform two of the band’s most well known songs, Dying Inside and Born Too Late. I’ve got video footage of the entire encore, and some other songs too, posted below so check that out if you can handle the doom. My only complaint with the show was having to watch the band in that awful pinkish orange lighting the Black Cat has. It’s long past time they upgraded the lighting on the upstairs main stage and this show was just another reminder of that. Even so, Saint Vitus put on a killer show that night no matter how you look at it. Thanks for reading this post and be sure to get out to some of the great metal shows coming to the area to help support the scene you’re a part of!

Sourvein:

Troy Medlin of Sourvein

JC Fari of Sourvein

Troy Medlin of Sourvein

Sourvein at the Black Cat

Weedeater:

Dave Shepherd of Weedeater

Dave Shepherd of Weedeater

Weedeater at the Black Cat

Keith Kirkum of Weedeater

Dixie Dave Collins of Weedeater

Dixie Dave Collins of Weedeater

Dixie Dave Collins of Weedeater

Saint Vitus:

Wino of Saint Vitus

Wino of Saint Vitus

Wino of Saint Vitus

Dave Chandler of Saint Vitus

Dave Chandler of Saint Vitus

Saint Vitus at the Black Cat

Dave Chandler of Saint Vitus

Wino of Saint Vitus

Dave Chandler of Saint Vitus

Dave Chandler of Saint Vitus