Platinum Al’s Top 10 Rock & Metal Albums of 2022

2022 was a fantastic year for new music. Bands that are old favourites, and new discoveries, made my musical journey through the year a great one. Of course, reviewing albums for my compadres at Ever Metal helped in my explorations – a gig that I’m very happy and proud to continue.

I was prompted to compile this list of my Top 10 Rock and Metal albums of the year by Ever Metal. This list has already appeared on that site, but why not share it at the Virtual Hot Tub too?

So here we go, the official 2022 countdown:

10. Brant Bjork – “Bougainvillea Suite”

A laidback, trippy journey through Brant Bjork’s sixties record collection.  Ideal for summer evenings.

Brant Bjork Facebook!

9. Captain Caravan/Kaiser – “Turned to Stone – Chapter 6”

Fantastic split album from Captain Caravan and Kaiser, which crept up on my unexpectedly and quickly became a favourite.

Captain Caravan Facebook! Kaiser Facebook!

8. Earthless – “Night Parade of One Hundred Demons”

Outrageously good album created by amazing musicians, Earthless are nutritious energy for the ears, mind and soul.

Earthless Facebook!

7. Stoner – “Totally…”

It’s Brant Bjork again, here with Nick Oliveri in their stoner rock super group.  Does exactly what you’d expect, and features one of the best album covers I’ve seen in a long while.

Stoner Facebook!

6. MWWB – “The Harvest”

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard don’t disappoint with this heavy yet progressive album, brimming with new ideas and sci-fi experimentation.

MWWB Facebook!

5. Nebula – “Transmissions from Mother Ship Earth”

Glorious heavy psych rock from Nebula, showcasing their savage riffs and outer space vibes.

Nebula Facebook!

4. Battalions – “King of a Dead World”

A monster of an album!  Heavy, sludgy – that’s all you need to know.  Brutal and brilliant!  They’re from Hull!

Battalions Facebook!

3. Crobot – “Feel This”

The most exciting hard rock band around deliver another energetic slab of groovy rock’n’roll.  Unmissable!

Crobot Website!

2. Clutch – “Sunrise on Slaughter Beach”

It’s Clutch, what can you say?  Clutch are legendary and they always come up with the goods.  This latest feels slightly darker than previous releases, but has all the required Clutch-ness necessary.

Clutch Website!

  1. Sergeant Thunderhoof – “This Sceptred Veil”

A worthy triumph at the top of my 2022 chart.  An album that has it all: heavy riffs, powerful playing, melody and invention – it’s an experience that the listener can truly immerse themselves in.

Sergeant Thunderhoof Facebook!

All awesome albums and I recommend you check them out immediately. And what a winner! You can read my review of the Sergeant Thunderhoof album on Ever Metal, and I’ll re-post it here soon.

Not long after I compiled this Top 10, I received a package in the post. It was a vinyl copy of the “This Sceptred Veil” album, which was a nice surprise. What made it even more special, was an excerpt from my Ever Metal review appearing on the hype sticker plastered to the front! I was super stoked to see this – hope my words help shift a few copies of this superb record!

Honourable mentions this year for quality releases from Ghost (should’ve been a Top !0 entry?); plus my old chums The Cult and Red Hot Chili Peppers (both continuing to release great music after all this time); amongst many others.

There’s lots of more new music to look forward to in 2023. The fun thing is, I don’t even know what some of them will be yet…

Stay tuned to Ever Metal and Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot tub for the reviews that mattter!

Live in the Mojave Desert – Album Review

Various Artists – Live in the Mojave Desert

Heavy Psych Sounds Records

Release date: Various

Running time: Various

Review by: Alun Jones

Rating: see below

Hello there!  Remember me?  It’s me, that bloke who occasionally reviews albums for Ever Metal and spins ropey old yarns about rock’n’roll.  Yeah, him.  Sorry I’ve been absent for a while, had a few things on my all-you-can-eat buffet plate recently.  More about that another time (if the lawyers allow me).  For now, recline in your favourite easy chair, and let’s review.  With me?  Good.

Right then, bit of a mammoth task, this one.  “Live in the Mojave Desert” is actually a series of five albums, each recorded live (of course) amongst the sand and rocks of the Californian desert.  It’s probably like Star Trek, when Kirk and crew are roaming around the cliffs and valleys – but in the dark, and with guitars and lights and stuff – and no one dies (hopefully).

Up first in my sequence of albums is the legendary Earthless, a band who should need no introduction.  I listened to their offering whilst on a trip to North Wales; sadly the surf was flat, but the sonic musings of this three piece fitted perfectly the rolling roads between green valleys and big skies.  In the land of druids and standing stones, witches and warriors, this was a perfect soundtrack.  The songs are a journey in themselves, awash with psychedelic Hendrix style explorations.  Only three songs, but they’re plenty lengthy and offer huge scope.  It’s actually quite beautiful. (9/10)

Next on the list was Mountain Tamer, a band I’m not familiar with previously, but a cool name.  And a cool name goes a long way with me.   The Mountain Tamer sound is raw and in-your-face, with mighty, meaty riffs that clunk around in full-on doom style.  There’s also a mind expanding, trippy element to their music, leaving me with the impression of Black Flag in a collision with Hawkwind.  This unique approach is best exemplified by stand out tracks “Black Noise” and “Scorched Earth”, but it’s all damn fine. (8/10)

An offering in this series from my old buddies Nebula was very welcome, their brand of psych drenched sci-fi hard rock being something I’m somewhat partial to.  This is the album with the most obviously “live” feel – not that it’s sloppy at all, the very occasional tiny imperfections and wall of fuzz give a genuine and celebratory vibe.  Opening track “To the Centre” is a feedback drenched, blistering explosion.  “Giant” is another standout track with a bouncing, crazy gonzo riff. (8/10)

Spirit Mother are another band I’ve not heard before, and they were a real surprise.  Their first song, “Tonic (Exodus Inc)” is straight off the soundtrack of some forgotten Italian/Turkish 1970s horror movie.  The band take the standard desert/doom rock and add violin, and everything veers off in a totally unexpected direction.  From mournful 70s rock on “Ether” to creating their own genre of gothic Spaghetti Western (“Dead Cells”), it’s like Morricone on peyote orchestrating The Exorcist.  Strangely beguiling. (8.5/10)

The album I listened to last in the collection was the debut release of STÖNER, the very aptly named stoner rock “supergroup” which features Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Fu Manchu, solo etc) and Nick Oliveri (Kyuss, QOTSA, Mondo Generator etc etc).  With Brant’s drummer, Ryan Güt whacking the tubs.  As a fan of these rogues’ other bands, I was definitely curious about this release.  No fear here: this is exactly what I hoped it would be: desert rock royalty.  “Rad is Rad” features a relentless, rolling bassline that drags the listener along on a head-nodding journey whilst Brant croons in his laid-back manner.  The big, groovy bass continues in “The Older Kids”, and the tracks develop a trancelike vibe as it progresses.  And strap yourself in for the final song, “Tribe/Fly Girl” – over 13 minutes that will melt your eyeballs.  Definitive. (9/10)

That’s it: five albums, five bands, and a mind-blowing excursion into the remote desert valleys.  Whether showcasing how it should be done, or abducting the listener in a smoke-filled UFO to be probed in new realms, these live collections are a trip.

Here’s a ton of links! Click away for more info on this awesome music…

Start with Heavy Psych Sounds, they have a website, Bandcamp, Facebook and Instagram.

Earthless do the web thing here, with some Facebook and Twitter.

Mountain Tamer kick in the sky with Facebook and Bandcamp.

Go crazy with Nebula via Facebook.

Spirit Mother have you covered with some weberation, Facebook, Bandcamp and Insta.

Finally, have a look at Stoner’s web presence here and Facebook it too.

This review was brought to you by Platinum Al in association with Ever Metal.

Platinum Al’s Top 10 Rock/Metal Albums of 2018

2018 was a great year for music.  So much so, that I struggled condensing all those tasty new tunes into a top ten – and I’m still not sure I’ve got it right.  There are several other albums that could have featured in an annual top ten, but for reason or other didn’t make the cut.

Anyway, those cool folks at Ever Metal asked me to put together a list of my ten favourite rock and metal releases for the year.  I did so, Ever Metal posted it, and I thought I’d share with my Virtual Hot tub readers too.

So here we go, in reverse order:

  1. Ghost – “Prequelle”
  2. Gama Bomb – “Speed Between the Lines”
  3. Orange Goblin – “The Wolf Bites Back”
  4. Earthless – “Black Heaven”
  5. 1968 – “Ballads of the Godless”
  6. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – “Wasteland”
  7. Monster Magnet – “Mindfucker”
  8. Corrosion of Conformity – “No Cross No Crown”
  9. Fu Manchu – “Clone of the Universe”
  10. Clutch – “Book of Bad Decisions”

Hope you did a Smashy and Nicey voice in your head whilst you counted that down.

Some classic albums there, in my opinion at least.  Honorable mentions are due for Sleep, High on Fire and Satan’s Satyrs (amongst others) who just missed out.  Who knows, next week I might have changed my mind.

Finally, a big thanks to the Ever Metal team for having me on board.  It’s a real honour to be part of the team, and writing for the site has been one of my highlights of last year. Here’s to contributing more in 2019.  Cheers!

Visit the Ever Metal site here and check out some cool music!