It’s the chestnut tree every year obviously, so here is the eagerly awaited top of the best albums of the year for Desert-Rock.
This ranking is the synthesis of all the opinions of the team, reflecting the variety of genres that you are used to finding with us (click on each to read the detailed chronicle of the disc):
1) Monster Magnet – A Better Dystopia
When the godfathers of the genre decide to offer an album of covers, obviously they do not do it just any old way: through a skilful mix of sure values and real discoveries, they not only manage to offer a precious and rare look at their songs. musical references (colorful… like the album cover!), while simply offering an excellent album… by Monster Magnet! Superb performance.
2) Samsara Blues Experiment – End Of Forever
An album of incredible density and unfortunately in the spirit of the times. It closes more than a decade of collaboration between exceptional musicians and completes (?) A work of rare emotional intelligence. Samsara goes as he lived, creative and talented.
3) King Buffalo – The Burden of Restlessness
First opus of a triptych which should have ended during the year and will have to wait. The Burden of Restlessness proclaims loud and clear that you have to rely on King Buffalo and his riffs while progressing and subtlety. An album where even when the compositions are on the edge, they always fall on the side of the light.
4) Domkraft – Seeds
Domkraft artisans returned this year with a beautiful object carrying their dough. A heavy cake, a sign of quality and yet light enough to come back on its own and almost endlessly on the turntable. Seeds was able to capture the listener and confirm Domkraft’s know-how. A must have of the past year.
5) Domadora – The U Book
Generosity and letting go make this new Domadora album a refreshing 2021 success. The U Book is an unexpected journey to the confines of jamming and understanding between musicians. And too bad for those who started to take stock of the year at the end of November, before its release …
6) Dozer – Vultures
One of the best formations in the history of the stoner announced its return to business in early 2022. To keep their fans patient, you have to savor these 6 tracks captured between 2004 and 2005 when the group was at its peak – when Through The Eyes Of Heathens was in the making – as well as the tragically fated UFO “Vinegar Fly”. Zero filling and zero lack of taste on the menu of this plate which constitutes an excellent opportunity to dive or even dive back into Dozer’s repertoire.
7) Kal-El – Dark Majesty
Dark Majesty, or the 2021 edition of a now well-mastered recipe. Ultra-fuzzy guitars chained to a rhythmic section with a powerful groove, overhung by a voice hovering above like the spaceship often present on the covers. All enjoying a monumental production and an extremely careful mix. One more piece of these dear Norwegian friends, to collect without hesitation.
8) Alastor – Onwards and Downwards
Sweden still has a few nuggets in their bag to reveal, and Alastor is one of them. With its (only) second album, the group confirms a bluffing talent for writing, in the service of rich and intelligent compositions, served by a delicious sound. An exciting record and a real promise for the future.
9) Robots Of The Ancient World – Mystic Goddess
Small Stone Records is not dead! This year they found us this nugget of group in the right line of their solid reference catalog, namely a production of real good US stoner: an edgy stoner but not that, with clever and effective songs, a good singer … We fingers crossed that the group continues on this path.
10) Monolord – Your Time to Shine
The doom band we love to hate, for all the wrong reasons! Your Time To Shine, unpretentious, in line with their previous productions, has found its place in our top of the year, by dint of solid riffs, an always as effective sound and a writing talent that we can not dispute. Could the album be improved? Sure, but it still delivers a healthy dose of quality doom, so let’s not sulk.
10) Green Lung – Black Harvest
Directly emanating from the old school doom metal of the 70s and 80s, the Englishmen of Green Lung confirm all the good that we already thought of them, with what is probably their best album to date. Completely uninhibited, the quintet shoots a bit in all directions… and hits the target with each shot! Their energy, their uninhibited inspiration and their quality of writing quickly won over us.
12) Eldovar – A Story of Darkness & Light
Hard to say at the moment but… COVID hasn’t produced all bad things! Disturbed and isolated by the various health constraints, the musicians of these two groups that nothing seemed to bring together a priori – Kadavar and Elder less their bassist – met in the studio to write and record this album, the quality of which will have surprised many more. a. Kadavar and Elder could only work well together anyway!
12) Kadabra – Ultra
Ultra, here is a title which could pass for presumptuous and which instead signs the advent of Kadabra, Ultra will have been one of the plates which this year will have sublimated fifty years of Sabbath riffs to include them in compositions with modern structures to breathe a breath of fresh air on this young production.
14) Mythic Sunship – Wildfire
Among the swarm of psych records released this year, few finally emerged during the review. Mythic Sunship is one of those groups that have stood out, through an album very skillfully mixing jam rock and psych rock, all in a musical chaos in precarious balance between WTF improvisation and unstable structures. The disc had everything to crash, but by dint of innovation, creativity and control, it skilfully comes out of the game.
15) King Buffalo – Acheron
Acheron – King Buffalo’s second record released this year – is the Dark side of the moon of the third millennium. And King Buffalo is the biggest rock band today. Bar point.
16) Count Raven – The Sixth Storm
The rebirth of the cult Swedish combo, more than 12 years after its previous record and after 35 years of career, all the same! Everything made us fear the disc too many, stinking of mothballs and lack of inspiration. Quite the contrary, Count Raven appearing determined to find his place of reference among the old school doom metal bands that count… again and again!
16) Lucid Sins – Cursed!
Between Witchcraft and 70’s prog, with the shadow of Pentagram hovering not far, obviously, the Scottish Lucid Sins offer a second album more successful, more melodic. A treat.
18) Suncraft – Flat Earth Rider
It’s their first album and they made my summer sunny! On a mix of Truckfighters and Elder (among others of course), energetic, powerful and a little fat on the edges, in short, perfect for fighting the rain!
18) Hooded Menace – The Tritonus Bell
Sixth album and turning heavy 80’s for the putrid Finns. One of their best albums to date.
20) Iceburn – Asclepius
Gentry Densley has become a discreet but always too unproductive musical genius, an enlightened but atypical composer, and a passionate performer. After Ascend and especially Eagle Twin in recent years, he dusted off Iceburn, a project buried for 20 years, and offered with his friends 2 titles (!) Bloated with daring, originality, power, and talent, therefore. A complex but fascinating record.
As every year we have pushed the classification up to 20 discs, which makes it possible not to leave in the shade very qualitative discs… As for the albums at the gates of the classification, they are the sign of a year of production finally rather rich, in discoveries (Moon Coven, Wormsand, Bogwife,…) or in sure values (Sunnata, Motorpsycho, Khemmis…). 45 records were cited by our team of 10 columnists in this year’s best!
To us 2022!
Translated from French