Best New Releases May 2024

Spring is in full effect and so are the new releases, live shows, and festivals in the heavy underground world. Needless to say, it's a busy time, and certainly difficult to keep up with everything that's happening, but I'll always do my best to do these incredible musicians justice. 

All of the albums listed here are ones that really struck a chord with me, either with their raw power and energy, the skill of their musicians, the overall atmosphere present, or a combination of more than one of those things. A few of them were released by bands that I've been following for a while that are near and dear to my heart. In a nutshell: I'm really psyched about all of these albums, and this month has been the hardest of 2024 when it comes to ranking them...every single one is a number one album to me for different reasons. 

Without further ado, here's everything I submitted to the Doom Charts this month, in ascending order:

1. Transonic Science - Psychobulb

Call it a comeback album if you want, but Transonic Science proves on Psychobulb that they never went anywhere. In fact, that flame of passion the band began their career with is burning as brightly as it ever was. 

If you're the slightest bit familiar with German stoner rock, chances are you're familiar with Transonic Science. These guys have been holding down the fort of the underground stoner music scene for nearly three decades, with Psychobulb being their first full-length release in over twenty years. The band not only continues to deliver their signature brand of powerful, gritty, high octane stoner rock with those trademark husky vocals we know and love, but they also offer up some more serious, darker tunes and even a ballad. Transonic Science is a band that not only knows what they're doing, but they do it with confidence while continuing to grow and evolve. That, my friends, is a band that stands the test of time, and Psychobulb is an album that every stoner rock fan needs to have in their collection. 

Read my full review here.

Favorite Track: Cherokee Smith

2. Daily Thompson - Chuparosa

Daily Thompson, that delightful trio from Dortmund with their uncanny ability to summon the very soul of 90s grunge/alternative and inject it into their own brand of stoner rock, is back with their most ambitious, sophisticated work yet. Enlisting the help of none other than Tony Reed (Mos Generator, Big Scenic Nowhere) for engineering/mastering and featuring a solo from none other than Bob Balch (Fu Manchu) himself, Daily Thompson has graced us with Chuparosa, their sixth studio release. Chuparosa contains plenty of the grungy goodness we know and love from the band, but it also sees them heavily leaning into the classic stoner/desert sound as developed by bands like Kyuss and Fu Manchu. Not only that, but the album has plenty of layered sound full of grit, groove, and a lot of soul. Stoner and alternative rock fans alike will love this one. 

Read my full review here.

Favorite Track: Diamond Waves (a Love Song for the Ocean)

3. Sonora - Frog Lickers

I've never licked a frog, but this band makes it seem like a pretty rad idea.

Sonora hopped (heh) onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere from France with their debut EP, Frog Lickers. This 6-track EP begins with some darkly hypnotic psych and brooding alternative rock that evolves into some straight-up stoner/desert grooves that get heavier and grittier throughout the remaining songs. Accompanied by a melodic, grungy vocal that smooths out the edges, this EP is delightfully easy to get lost in and coast along on. 

Favorite Track: Empty Hole

4. Nine Moons - Caracaras

There are several forces at work on Caracaras, the second album from English psychedelic rock duo Nine Moons. My favorite is probably the uplifting combination of psychedelic an garage rock (beautifully demonstrated on the song Sage), creating quite the proverbial ray of sunshine. Combine this with alternatively melodic and punky, Brit rock vocals and a retro acid vibe, and you have the perfect summer jam. Make no mistake, there's much more to CaracarasDesert Eyes and Haunted Vista, for example, are tracks that provide prime helpings of stoner/desert riffage. Smokehouse, meanwhile, is a trove of bluesy psych groove. The instrumental Hunter's Moon features some beautiful oud music that will have you mentally soaring over the harsh Arabian Desert. Caracaras is an extremely pleasant listening experience from start to finish that ends way too soon. 

Favorite Track: Sage


5. Baardvader - When The Stars Arrive

If doom-grunge is a thing (and let's face it, this is the heavy underground where everything is a thing in the best possible way), then Baardvader are its pioneers. The band is back with their third album, When The Stars Arrive. 

Baardvader is a bit unique when it comes to combining grunge with stoner/doom in that they have a tendency to veer toward the heavier side of the genre, leaning into doom metal territory. The band utilizes haunting, enchantingly eerie verses and climactic heavy guitars in the choruses that really give you the best of both worlds. This combined with powerful grungy vocals give you the ultimate listening experience that is darkly beautiful, bewitching, and deliciously heavy. 

On When The Stars Arrive, Baardvader has skillfully managed to add even more depth and layers to their sound, making it their most developed work to date. Fans of both the heavier and lighter sides of stoner/doom are going to fall in love with this one!

Favorite Track: Let Go

6. Sunnata - Casting Shadows

I'm a little ashamed to admit that Casting Shadows is my first time hearing Warsaw's Shamanic doom masters Sunnata, but I'm now thoroughly addicted to this incredible sound. 

"Shamanic doom metal" is a very accurate descriptor of Sunnata's music. It draws heavily from Eastern influences (one of my favorite things to hear in conjunction with heavy music), heard primarily in the vocal harmonies that have a tendency to alternate between being utterly hypnotic, melodic, and borderline panicked, as if warning of impending doom. In fact, the most amazing thing about Casting Shadows for me is how the vast majority of its unbelievable depth is created through the vocals alone. 

This album is simultaneously haunting, mesmeric, epic, sexy, tantalizing, immersive, dark, eerie, delightfully unsettling, and downright delicious. Addictive. 

The best way to listen to Sunnata is to be fully immersed in it. Allow yourself to be possessed by it, take it by its cold hand and let it lead you into the depths, and don't dare come up for air. It's truly a spiritual experience. 

Favorite Track: Chimera

7. Drive By Wire - Time Horizon

Drive By Wire plays some of the heaviest psychedelic rock I've had the pleasure of hearing, maintaining a rumbling, churning background with breakthrough, live wire lead guitar striking like hot lightning. The band's trademark, of course, is their front woman, who's known for her enchanting vocal ability that's powerful enough to "peel paint off the wall". I'd compare her to a medieval siren, but she's way more badass than that, needing no trickery to command your attention. She belts out her songs with an inherent power and confidence derived deep from within. The instrumentals and vocals work brilliantly together, heavy psych mingling with stoner/desert grit and that captivating voice to create a hypnotic, immersive listening experience. 

Favorite Track: Northern Lights

8. Sykofant - Sykofant

Norwegian progressive rockers Sykofant have released an amazingly strong debut album that utilizes all of the elements of a great progressive rock album that you'd expect: a concept to work with, longer-form songs that utilize tempo and pace change-ups, countercultural themes, and skilled musicianship. However, Sykofant is not your dad's prog rock band, (even though chances are your dad's prog rock band is pretty cool, to be honest). While there are certainly plenty of amazing nods to some of the greatest, most established prog rock bands out there, Sykofant creatively and skillfully gives the genre a modern twist with elements of pop, jazz, funk, and surf to name a few. Overall, this contemporary take on progressive rock succeeds in keeping things incredibly interesting and never boring in spite of the longer run time of the songs. More than anything, the band's debut album had me marveling at the proficiency of their musicianship, instantly earning my admiration and utmost respect. I really hope this band ends up getting the attention they deserve! 

Check out my full review here.

Favorite Track: Strangers


9. Gjenferd - Gjenferd

Noway's retro psychedelic rockers Gjenferd are making big waves with their debut full-length album. Delightfully heavy on the Hammond organ and haunting vocal harmonies, this release feels like it came straight out of the 70s. Those trippy retro vibes and eerie yet soothing harmonies naturally give this album a bit of a spacey, sci-fi feel. The guitar work on this album is great and incredibly adaptive, doing a phenomenal job of setting the mood as each song evolves, a bit of progressive rock technique at work. This is an exceptionally strong debut that transports the listener to another era. 

Favorite Track: All That Remains is Haze


10. Juke Cove - Tempest 

Juke Cove's third album, Tempest, utterly blasted its way into the May new releases, bringing an off-the-charts energy and a ton of variety. This is a band that not only proficiently plays multiple genres of music, but they do so within a single song: doom, stoner, punk,'s all here! The most admirable thing, however, is how seamlessly Juke Cove makes these transitions between genres, making it look effortless. Combined with their vocals and lyrics, these style change-ups allow the band to skillfully and accurately depict a mood or state of mind that sends a powerful message about the human condition and our world, in a gloriously heavy way. 

Read my full review here.

Favorite Track: Wait

11. Vitskär Süden - Vessel

I'll be the first to admit that Vitskär Süden isn't typically the kind of music I listen to. Normally, I'd be inclined to dismiss something like this as over-the-top. However, I absolutely cannot deny that with Vessel, Vitskär Süden has delivered a darkly beautiful ode. What struck me most about this album is the very genuine, believable outpouring of emotion and passion behind both vocals and instrumentals that keep the listener hooked. Not only that, but the band incorporates a large variety of sonic textures and genres to beautifully and believably illustrate the lyrics, utilizing electronic music, progressive rock, spaced out doom, and string arrangements. No matter what genre of heavy music has your fancy, if you appreciate art in any form or fashion, you'll have a massive amount of respect and appreciation for Vitskär Süden upon hearing Vessel. 

Favorite Track: Vengeance Speaks



In addition to my usual closing statement about supporting your favorite artists and checking out this month's Doom Chart, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all of my heavy underground friends who wished me well in regards to the surgery I had this month. You guys made old Doomcakes a little emotional! To say that I was touched is an understatement; to have people that I've never met in the flesh take the time to reach out to me via sweet comment or direct message expressing genuine concern for me is just...amazing. It's yet another example of the amazing, unwavering support we have for each other in this community; bands, fans, bloggers, you name it. It's a reminder that there is good out there yet in the often dark world we live in and it's really fucking beautiful. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. 

Stephanie 🖤


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