2020 is over and it’s time to present the best albums of the year. These are the best albums if you ask Kristoffer Pettersson.
- Vulkan – Technatura
From the first riff, you know you are in for a treat. “The Visual Hex” starts of with a killer riff and continues with some melodic marmelade from singer Jimmy Lindblad. The song goes on for nine minutes, but it feels like three. The song is so damn good. After a short interlude the album continues with two more great songs, “Redemption Simulations” and “Bewildering Conception of Truth”.
Then, all of a sudden Vulkan decides to turn to their native tongue, swedish. A masterstroke it seems as these songs are absolutely fantastic. You immediatly start thinking of other great swedish bands like “Skraeckoedlan”, who released one of the best album of 2019 in “Earth” and “Kent”, the kings of alternative music in Sweden. “Rekviem” should be a classic for years to come, it’s that good!
“Spökskepp” follows after that, and it’s also really freakin good. After the fantastic “Marans Ritt”, the album returns to english again and ends with a trio of marvellous songs.
Genre vice this is somewhere between progressive rock, stoner and alternative metal/rock, kinda like if Haken, Tool and Radiohead had a bilingual and musical, baby genius.
Listen to “Blinding Ornaments”, “Rekviem” and “The Visual Hex”. After that, when you realize that all the songs are freakin awesome, you listen to the whole album over and over and over and over again.
Swedens best known secret. Surely worth a lot more love? This is perfection on a platter!, (or actually it’s a double album). 9/10
- Slift – Ummon
French space rock/heavy psych trio. “Ummon”, the first song of the album has it all, a heavy ass opening riff, spacious cosmic interludes, a kickass smooth verse and some killer guitar work. Second song “It’s coming” is more of a kraut piece with a mauling monotonous bass riff clearing the way for some tasty axe play and some short Kraftwerk influenced intonal chanting. Third song “Thousand Helmets of Gold” is perhaps the most amendable tune. Again, with some fantastic guitar work from axe wielder Jean F. Last two minutes are bewildering.
“Citadel on a Satellite” starts of with a crunching riff, before quickly slowing down into a calm, rare and quiet piece of singing. The song quickly turns, back to the smashing first riff before again taking a u-turn into uncharted territory. Some crazy drum beats and rhytms joined by awesome bass play nurtures the song until it finally lands in a newly mangled pile of fresh linen for the listener to rest in and gain back some energy.
The album continues in the same style. Amazing all the way through, with no bad bits what so ever. Listen to “Dark Was Space, Cold Were the Stars”, “Citadel on a Satellite”, “Son Dong’s Cavern” and “Lions, Tigers and Bears”.
Best album cover of the year too! Monster of an album! 8.5/10
Swedens answer to Kyuss? First album came back in 2000 and was very well received. It took them 20 years to record their follow up and it is equally as good as the debut. “Red River” gives the album the best possible start. A stoner hit, if there ever was one!
Second song, “Ode to Ganymede” (=A celebration of Jupithers biggest moon) kinda sounds like “Queens of the Stone Age” on a fuzz trip. Another great song!
The album continues with “Sernanders Krog”, which was the a restaurant/bar where Lowrider first played the piece that were to become the song”Sernanders Krog”, atleast that is how I understand it. Another great song! “Ol’ Mule Pepe” is a “middle of the record tune”, but then “Sun Devil/M87” comes in and that’s another great song. The album ends with the best song of the album, “Pipe rider”. Truly a candidate for song for the year also.
Refractions is a heavy, hypnotic, psychedelic, fuzzy and marvellous record. Listen to “Pipe Rider”.
Ridiculously good! 8/10
- Kryptograf – Kryptograf
Kryptograf hails from Bergen, Norway. They are, as they write on their spotify page, “Inspired by the heavy sounds of the late 60’s”. The album starts of with “The Veil”. It sounds a bit like Norways own version of Graveyard. Second song “Omen” screams Black Sabbath but with less distortion and with a Roky Erikson like chorus. Very good! Third song “Seven” is a slow builder, but a fantastic song where guitarists Odd Erlend Mikkelsen and Vegard Strand get to really shine. Krypograf have previously listed “Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats” as an influence and that is pretty clear on the excellent “Crimson Horizon”.
“Sleeper”, perhaps the song with the most “hit-potential” but also with the coolest verses. The ending is also one of the best with mauling guitars fuzzing out in a beautiful outro. “Ocean” will make you want to start your computer and play “Diablo”.
The album ends with some master riffing on the very Sabbath like “New Colossus”. 8/10
Biggest suprise of the year! Scott Ian (Anthrax) and Dave Lomardo (Slayer) team up with Mike Patton (Faith no More) to re record a Mr Bungle demo from 1985. What we get here is rampaging, galloping thrash metal of the highest order. The occasional twisted bits are here of course. This is after all a Mr Bungle album, so why not through in a bit och “La cucaracha”(YES, that song! =cockroach=kackerlacka) in “Hypocrites/Habla Espanol O Muere”. Speak spanish or die. Haha! Crawl down into fetal position and prepare your earholes for destruction with “Spreading The Thighs of Death” and “Anarchy Up Your Anus”(yes, those are real titles). 8/10
- Yuri Gagarin – Outskirts Of Reality
Swedish heavy, space rock. Mix Hawkwind with Earthless and you know what this sounds like. Very good stuff! First song “QSO” is an absolute rocker with so much energy. Absolutely insane! First swedes in space? Christer Fuglesang is not in the band…The album ends in the best, possible way, with “The Outskirts of Reality”. 7.5/10
- Dungen – Live
Fantastic live album from Swedens greatest prog/psych export. 7.5/10
- Jonathan Wilson – Dixie Blur
A homage to 70’s country/folk/americana rock, with lots of fiddle, flutes,acoustic guitars and pedal steel. Check out “Oh Girl”. “Fun for the Masses”, “Riding the Blinds” and “Korean Tea”. 7.5/10
- Motorpsycho – The All Is One
Norwegian band with different style on every single album. This is the 25th album they have released (not counting ep:s and live albums). This is the shit! It is a bit all over, with some progressive/psychedelic rock, beatles pop, rock. The rest is space rock, with the long N.O.X. (devided into several tracks) in the fore front. 7.5/10
- Ring Van Möbius – The 3rd Majesty
Where the fudge did these guys come from? What’s up with Norway and new good music? Just listen to “The Seven Movements of the Third Majesty”. Even bits of King Crimson, Cathedral(that bass that also is prominent in Änglagård basist Johan Brands sound) and Van Der Graaf Generator. Yes, you’ve heard it all before, but this is worth a listen, or two. 7.5/10
- Elephant Tree-Habits
I really wasnt paying attention the first time i heard this. It almost went in the “throw away pile”. Heavy, heavy Monolordesque guitars but with a very melodic feel over the songwriting. Relaxing but ponderous. “The masters of combining gloomy atmosphere with head-bobbing grooves.” Doom, stoner, post rock, melancholic, captivating, melodic, wellwritten rock! From the UK. Check out “Bird”, “Faceless”and “Sails” 7.5/10
- Döda havet-Tid och rum
Swedish melancholic rock/pop with a modern progressive/alternative sound, in the veins of other swedish bands like Khoma, Vulkan, and Kent, but also international acts like Anathema, with great melodies and wellwritten songs, beautifully backed up by some stunning instrumentation. The album is sung in swedish. Check out “Levande eller död”, “Arcana”, “Atlantis mitt” and “Hjärnspöket”. 7.5/10https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btFvpvarmUw&ab_channel=Gaphals
- Haken – Virus
Haken back with another good album. Probably topping a lot of prog charts out there. For me it doesnt quite get there. It starts of like a typical 7/10 album but ends on a high note with ”Messiah Complex IV and V”. 7.5/10
- Elds Mark-Elds Mark
Norsk skogsprog=Scandinavian progressive folk. Features two members of the Norwegian retro-prog outfit Jordsjö. Lend an ear to “Vår skog”. 7/10
- Wobbler – Dwellers Of The Deep
Yes called and wanted their sound back. Great album from the norwegian progers.
- Lykantropi – Tales To Be Told 7/10
- Gösta Berlings Saga-Konkret Musik 7/10
Fantastic song and fantastic video for “Konkret Musik”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9UlYTN5NbY&ab_channel=InsideOutMusicTV
- Fish – Weltschmerz
Second half of the album is fantastic. “Weltschmertz”, “Little man what now?”, “Garden of Remembrance”, “Waterley Steps (end of the line)” and “Rose of Damascus”) 7/10https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RwwU8Nvs1g&ab_channel=Fish
- Kungens män-trappmusik
Swedish jam band in the veigns of Träd, gräs och stenar. Very fascinating band! Take your googles and satellite discs closer to this clip: 7/10
- Dizzy Mizz Lizzy – Alter Echo
Denmarks finest back with another good album. Singer Tim Christensens solo album “Honeyburst” is a big favourite, but this is a pretty good album filled with loads of good melodies and tasty instrumentation. 7/10