10. Gentleman's Pistols – Gentleman's Pistols [Rise Above Records]
Top notch British rock including the exquisite guitar work of former Carcass slinger Bill Steer. Brilliant.
9. Hydromedusa – Hydromedusa [Self Release]
South Australian doom moments are usually delivered from a more gothy place, Mournful Congregation, Chalice etc. These guys came from nowhere, put out a six track record with a 23 minute song on it and proceeded to floor everyone who got to catch 'em live in 2011. Can't wait for the follow up.
8. Premonition 13 – 13 [Volcom]
Wino. This fucking guy, his riff well is deeper than the earth's magma that seems to ooze from his fingers in between each and every project he undertakes. A slow year for Wino with only two or three releases as opposed to the four or five from last year. Expect to see at least one or two making the list next year as well.
7. Pentagram – Last Rites [Metal Blade]
Bobby Leibling should be dead. Straight up. That dude has done more drugs than a row boat full of rock 'n' roll casualties of the 27 Club and when combined with the indomitable Victor Griffin, is putting out consistent amazing doom metal for 40 years this year. Here's to another 40.
6. Autopsy – Macabre Eternal [Peaceville]
A welcome return to disgusting form. I got to speak to Chris Reifert earlier in the year and his affable almost evergreen enthusiasm for the most crusty and real death metal band in human history made this a favourite for me all year.
5. Yob - Atma [Profound Lore]
Woulda bumped this up higher if the drum production had some more beef in it, but god damn! Yob make doom metal that just keeps me coming back for more and Mike Scheidt is the genre's premiere singer-songwriter for me.
4. Wizard Smoke – The Speed of Smoke [Self Release]
FYI, the speed is not very fast. A vocoder in doom metal is really a foreign concept. It's delectable use on Weakling might make it my song of the year.
3. Argus – Boldly Stride the Doomed [Cruz Del Sur Music]
Butch Balich of Pennance brings the perfect vocal perofrmance to an album with enough guitar harmonies to make a mess of BMA columnist Scott Adams' trousers and that's all you need to know.
2. Orchid – Capricorn [Doom Dealer] PICTURED
OK so they had an EP, but it's the USA’s debut album of the year, straight from 1972 to you, packing an authority a debut record has no right to have. Sabbath worship at its best.
1. Looking Glass – III [Self Release]
You know, call it peroquial, call it being a one-eyed fan, call it what you will. I don't give a fuck. Canberra's Looking Glass are the best power trio in Australia and are top shelf world class players no matter how you slice it. The seven track record kicks off with Heavy on the Hook and bassist and producer Lachlan Payne stamps his foot on your throat with chops and authority of Australia's best rock bassist and you know you're in for it. Electric Mistress delivers the essential guitar solo of the year, from 2.52 in the track, through an utterly face melting bebop decontruction before kicking into a conjuration of Ritchie Blackmore before delving back into the strongest chorus on the record. Shores of Carcosa shows the band can create and wield an atmopshere full of Lovecraftian dread and melancholy, with a string section crying a lamenting harmony to the acoustic's simple, haunting refrain. Not content to rest, Child of Vertigo goes High On Fire with pumping intensity, Spiral Architect drops all the Sabbath-fied riffs that hundreds of pretenders worldwide wished they had along with dynamic psychedleic turnarounds from Jimi's spaciest blues jams. Wizard or the Skull crushes the testicals of both the former and the latter, and finally the record descends (or ascends, depending on your opinion of true doom metal) to the band's career heaviest moment and winnowing the hearing range of live audiences treated to its mantra in 2011. No band in Canberra peaks like they do onstage, no album in 2011 has matched its dynamo approach to its genre. Don't fucking miss it.