Black Sabbath’s debut LP turned 50 years old in February 2020. The band did not release an expensive box set to mark the occasion (they left that for the October anniversary of ‘Paranoid’, where the 5LP reissue was prohibitively expensive and the CD box set was just a quick repackaging of the 40th anniversary edition). There wasn’t even a notable vinyl reissue of the seminal debut recording – but to be fair, as welcomed as that would have been, no vinyl pressings sound anywhere near as good as the original Vertigo spiral label edition. Instead, fans and press were invited in limited numbers to go to a pre-arranged location in London and listen to the album in pitch darkness.
Before the end of August, Puerto Rican stoner metal band Moths will release new material on a split release with The Stone Eye.
When Gramma Vendetta released their ‘Proof of Concept’ EP in 2018, the world was a very different place. Their punchy blues/garage/stoner metal hybrid sound was squarely about entertainment. After recording began on a follow up, a global pandemic forced everything into shutdown and – like everyone else – the band found themselves with a different set of priorities. The planned album became a stop-gap EP and the lockdown situation also gave them lyric inspiration, so, in many ways, their 2020 release ended up being a very different beast.
Following two enjoyable studio releases, San Francisco stoner rock band The Watchers give fans a genuine treat with their third release. ‘High And Alive’ shows the band in their natural environment, in front of an enthusiastic crowd. With four tracks recorded at The House of Rock, the EP shows how much better this band sounds without the constraints of a studio and with some extra volume applied.
With five tracks of riff-heavy and fairly trashy hard rock, The Hÿss sound particularly assured on their 2020 release ‘Extraterrestrial’. Although claiming stoner rock roots, this recording shows off much less of the genre’s typically fuzzy sound, preferring instead to latch onto several crushing, concrete infused riffs. Any stoner intents are more likely to come from the disc’s lyrical content; one that drops the listener straight into a self-made world of spaceships, alien creatures and disco monsters. Although not necessarily coming from the same musical roots, in terms of concept, this is an EP that would make the Misfits and The Groovie Ghoulies proud.