woensdag 31 december 2014

Number 1

Number 1

“The first whisky from Lakes Distillery, a British distillery in Cumbria that are as proud of their picturesque part of England as they are their excellently blended whisky. Both The One whisky and Cumbria are equally beautiful, but only one of them has sweet, spicy notes and a whiff of smoke, so we know which one we'll put in our glasses (it's the whisky, in case you were wondering). Sublime, mellow whisky, a gorgeous blend with the slightest hint of peat, pepper and wood. Don’t mess with The One…”

We jump 90 points from YOB’s majestic album Clearing The Path to Ascend to reach the gold medal of this year’s Stoner HiVe top 20 countdown. Produced by a band that has made the countdown with almost every release the past years. Reaching Number 8 in 2009 and Number 13 in 2012. A band that inspired honorable madman Tony to write a love letter this year and inspired so many more to vote for this band as the number one release or among the top of their favorites in 2014. And the groove is indeed strong in this band. They know how to stoner and they know how to metal. With a distinct swagger and luscious riffs that call for a spittoon looking container in the manner of stomping drums; they manage to control and evoke that late night blues feeling that flows underneath all that heavy rock. It will be that trusty companion that you will turn to whenever you need something summoned or awoken. Something swinging, with distorted fuzz, molasses sludge and hypnotic bass work. It is the voodoo they do so well! And we all know these three cats will deliver and keep delivering… Don’t mess with Texas…

Wo Fat – The Conjuring

The Countdown so far...

The Countdown so far...

Since we are about to announce the Numero Uno, the Number One, the Gold Medalist of The Stoner HiVe Top 20 countdown of 2014! The one that beat YOB by 90 points! It must be the right time to run through the countdown so far... Later on today, before the clock strikes twelve and 2015 begins, we will know which album occupies the number one position! And once again, thanks to all you lovely freaky voters out there for making the list more valid with every passing year!

1.    . . .

2.    YOB – Clearing The Path to Ascend

3.    Brant Bjork and The Low Desert Punk Band – Black Flower Power

4.    Pallbearer – Foundations Of Burden

5.    Blues Pills – Blues Pills

6.    Electric Citizen – Sateen

7.    Fu Manchu – Gigantoid

8.    Truckfighters – Universe

9.    Greenleaf – Trails and Passes

10.    Orange Goblin – Back From The Abyss

11.    Electric Wizard – Time To Die

12.     Mos Generator – Electric Mountain Majesty

13.    John Garcia – John Garcia

14.    Monolord – Empress Rising

15.    Jeremy Irons & The Ratgang Malibus – Spirit Knife & Blue Snaggletooth – Beyond Thule

16.    Lo Pan – Colossus

17.    Witch Mountain – Mobile of Angels

18.    Kamchatka – The Search Goes On

19.    Serpent Venom – Of Things Seen & Unseen

20.    Salem's Pot – ...Lurar ut dig på Prärien

dinsdag 30 december 2014

Number 2

Number 2

“Part of the first pair of whisky releases from Adnams Distillery in Southwold, Suffolk. Just 10 barrels were used for the original release, which uses three types of grain - wheat, barley and oats - aged for over 3 years in new American oak casks. Nose: This one lures you in with approachable toasty oak, white peach blossom, some spicy grain, the bubblegum in the background this time and cocoa dark chocolate. A little lychee and sugar that’s just catching. A touch of lime. Palate: White pepper and spices, orange and a hint of powdered chocolate. Finish: Quite comforting and almost beer like with a little rich honey and chocolate now.”

The next band leaves maestro Brant Bjork trailing in its dust as we climb fifty points to reach the Number 2 spot of the 2014 Stoner HiVe top 20 countdown. The Silver Medal goes to a band that made it to the Number Eight position with the album that came before. Back in 2011. This year’s release saw it topping many lists all across the globe and we already reckoned it would have a prominent place on the HiVe as well. There is no escaping the fact that the new record is nothing but an instant doom rock classic. They take their time and carefully craft the compelling and stirring arc’s that holds you captive for fifteen minutes per track. Ten ton heavy guitar sounds whirl and twist around you lifting you up with nothing more than a couple of chords but with so much dynamic and variation that you mistake the tornado for a desert storm and the other way around. Throbbing bass work and thundering drums together with the feedback ridden dark and haunting growls or high pitched and eerie screams make this a record that is meant for the ages… 

YOB - Clearing The Path to Ascend

maandag 29 december 2014

Number 3

Number 3

“Black Crow Original Old American Whiskey, American blended whiskey in Canadian-style low-blend. Faintly vanilla. Strong in alcohol.”

We leave Pallbearer on the 4th position with a jump of 42 points. This year’s Bronze medal goes to another one of the stoner and desert rock legends. A guru in his own right. The man reached the Number 7 position with his former album and this one is a step bigger in every way conceivable. So we are happy to see it rise further up the ladder then the former one did. The guitars and drums are more raw and edgy, and the songs are righteous sheriffs! But is his sandy voice that takes charge and commands. His warm and completely logical utterings proclaim the truth and makes one and all an admirer. He is without a doubt the mythical guru of the laidback stoner and total fuzz!

Brant Bjork and The Low Desert Punk Band – Black Flower Power

Number 4

Number 4

“This is a very peaty whisky at 60 ppm phenols. It is a single cask, matured exclusively in an ex-bourbon barrel from Maker’s Mark. The E:4 was bottled on 2012-11-02, and the outturn was 300 bottles.  Nose: Mild smoke, surprising really – I was expecting a more distinct smokiness from the 60 ppm, but there you go. Well-rounded and mature sweetness. Vanilla, milk chocolate, and butterscotch and caramel. It is also very fruity, bundles of apples and pears. Braunstein has a very fruity and rich new make, and the distillery character shows through here. Taste: OK, here comes the smoke. And it is massive! This whisky certainly packs a punch! I also find milk chocolate, and licorice caramel to slightly temper the punchy peat. Finish: Long finish; rich, fruity, smoky and sweet. ’nuff said!”

The first bigger jump begins now and with an album I had not, to be honest, expected to end up this high on the list. We add 43 points to Blues Pills on Number 5 to reach the next level. Which, even though the sound is incredibly heavy and the themes definitely dark; lead to a  record that in its whole does feel warm and begs to be heard over and over again. This is without a doubt masterful doom and metal and shows that the guys want to aim both higher and lower without changing their sound all at the same time. The biggest change in comparison to their amazing debut album from 2012 is perhaps the fact that the vocal melodies have become more important and that the band are changing rhythms and riffs quicker without losing that hypnotizing edge we all love so dearly…

Pallbearer - Foundations Of Burden

zondag 28 december 2014

Number 5

Number 5

“A pure pot still rye whisky from the innovative Dutch distillers Zuidam, that's made in small batches and aged five years before bottling. A dark golden whisky, with a nose of a sweetness and fruit with hints of grain, honey, wood and vanilla.A taste of notes of wood, spices, honey and citrus. With a dry aftertaste of sweet fruit, honey, vanilla, wood and coconut in the background with something smoky.”

Nine points we jump. A small jump. Before we make the big or even gigantic leaps. So, Electric Citizen was my biggest surprise. And a highly welcomed one. What an album. So what do we find on position Number 5? More female vocals and more psychedelic rock; but this time around we aim more for the seventies and more for the blues. We knew when the album came out that it would be featured on many end year lists. And we are thankful that everyone out there dug it in the same way we did; for the soulful vocals, the classic hard rock, the acid infused coloring and the blissful guitar work are simply stunning. So take the pill and take the ride!

Blues Pills – Blues Pills

zaterdag 27 december 2014

Number 6

Number 6

“Chapter6, 3 year old Single Malt Whisky. Unpeated whisky, made by Iain Henderson. Matured solely in Bourbon casks. A great reflection on the wonderful work done at the distillery and a real hint of things to come. Unchillfiltered - Natural Colour.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me in this year’s Stoner HiVe countdown. As we jump 26 points from Fu Manchu to reach the next band; with a female vocalist. A band and album that for some weird reason completely passed me by before all the votes came pouring in. I had no idea. So we immediately needed to get that fixed. And what a fix it was! Ancient and bronze, vintage and doom. We’re back in the sixties and there is a bright and kaleidoscopic psychedelic edge to everything you hear. Instrumentation that holds its own against so many of those originals and organ sounds that make you lick your fingers. And there’s the vocalist. She has range and dynamic and knows how to pull you close or set you free. Simply wonderful. This kind of copper color music is always welcome, because it is like velvet for your ears…

Electric Citizen – Sateen

donderdag 25 december 2014

Number 7

Number 7

“The return of a very old brand of blended whisky from one of Canada's former biggest multi-nationals. Nose: Juicy, spicy rye grains, dried apricot, lemon curd, oak and gristy sweetness. Palate: Spicy and creamy, medium-bodied with honey, caramel and coffee. A touch of orange marmalade and panna cotta. Finish: Medium length, spicy and sweet.”

On Number 7 we find the final album that stays in close proximity to the ones that came before. Beating Truckfighters with one simple point these cats have been surfing the desert and stoner waves for a damn long time now and the release this year is their eleventh album. No Swedes this time, but Californian stoners that go big the way of the fuzz and crackling and crunchy when it comes to the punchy riffs. And then there are those punky elements and dreamy moments that make it all come together like a perfect ride. Southern coolness amongst hot and heavy breezes…

Fu Manchu – Gigantoid

woensdag 24 december 2014

Number 8

Number 8

“Yes. We got our own whisky! An 8 year old blended malt whisky from independent bottler Wemyss, built around Speyside whisky matured in both fresh and refill sherry casks for a rich, sweet and spicy dram with the emphasis on honey, as you might have guessed from the name... And yes, it tastes just as sweet as we from the HiVe do!”

Still a few more albums to go before we reach the point where the jumps become bigger. For yes, this record also has just one point more than the Greenleaf record we found on Number 9. And whaddayaknow. Sweden again. And this time we are talking about the definite frontrunners of fuzz, the future of everything fuzzalicious and those who know their way and how to hang around sizzling hooks and riffs. On their new album they explore and deepen their sound once again without changing much of the recipe and they added up the ante on the production values. It has resulted in a mean album, catchy and exactly what the fans want. And that’s not just because they’ve ended up on Number 8 this year!

Truckfighters – Universe

dinsdag 23 december 2014

Number 9

Number 9

“Knob Creek is a small batch bourbon produced by Jim Beam, distilled in a more traditional style and aged 9 nine years. It is named for the area in Kentucky where Abraham Lincoln grew up, it is said that the creek nearly claimed his life when he was swimming. The nose is quite spicy and sweet. There are notes of melted salty butter on granary toast, there are notes of toasty oak and a touch of rye with caramel sweetness. The palate is quite peppy and full. There are notes of candy floss and nut oil, a touch of spice and dark chocolate, a little spice and charred oak. The finish is long with a touch of dryness, there are notes of nut oils and vanilla spice.”

One point above Orange Goblin we find yet another band that has been featured in the Stoner HiVe top 20 countdown before. It was that doomed year of 2012 when we were approaching the end of the world and the album was called: Nest Of Vipers. And made it to the 14th position. This is their fifth record and yes, the guys hail from Sweden. Their version of stoner cracks and crackles and sounds age old and vintage; and with enough blues, psych and seventies to level the playing field it is once again a true rite of passage. With new members they have produced a new stamp with which to put their mark on this sweet ass heavy music as they trail blaze across the globe….

Greenleaf - Trails and passes

maandag 22 december 2014

Number 10

Number 10

“A 10 year old single malt from the Yamazaki distillery, aged in bourbon barrels. A lovely fruity dram, quite floral. The nose is fruity and rich. Plenty of barley malt and caramel, cereal sweetness and winter spice. Vanilla cream and mixed peels with a hint of nuts. The palate is of medium-body with notes of rich peels and winter spice, aniseed and a herbal note. A bitter oak develops. The finish is dry and of good length with acacia honey.”

Number 11 was occupied by those damned Wizards. And when we enter the top ten we find a band that has made it all the way to the Fifth position back in 2012; which can also be seen as the record that brought then the bigger audience they damn well deserve. This year they have eight points more than Electric Wizard and have returned from an unholy chasm. Filled with a masterful groovy rhythm section and ten ton heavy riffs they show us what true motoring stoner and no nonsense rock is all about. And then there’s that growling voice, that voice that carries that sharp edge and which will never hesitate to cut your throat when it comes down to that…

Orange Goblin - Back from the abyss

zondag 21 december 2014

Number 11

Number 11

“On the nose we detect autumn fruits with dry spices and a barley gristiness all perfumed together. On the palate anticipated crushed sugar, barley, spiced fruit and oak. All leading to a toffee- fruity - barley and lightly oaked finish.”

It was Mos Generator on position Number 12. And once again we climb just one point to Number 11. And here we find a band that already made it to the Number 1 position in Stoner HiVe countdown history. It was the year of 2010 and outside the masses where gathering to witness something dark. This year they prophesize something just as evil and wicked. Mesmerizing repetition and enough remorseless reverb to make their preaching feel like a jump of a harrowing cliff edge. It is a bleak and lumbering trek accompanied by psyched out jams that wield immense hypnotic power. Making you believe there’s no time like the present…

Electric Wizard - Time To Die

Number 12

Number 12

“Recently awarded a massive 93 points from the Beverage Tasting Institute in Chicago, fending off stiff competition to win a Gold Medal at their American Whiskey Tasting. Medium deep amber color; forward vanilla spice on nose, with toasted nut, sweet fruit, earth and cedar shavings; dryish, rounded and smooth but elegant, flavors of sweet vanilla, nut, maple butter, mint and wood smoke; finish is long, warming and spicy.”

After being treated to that amazing solo album by John Garcia on Number 13, we climb just one point to reach the next damn fine record. A band that had us waiting for more than five years before the album before this one was released. Which was back in 2012. This time around it took them only two years. And this by no means hints at a rush job. No. We are treated to grade a heavy doom and gritty stoner profoundly inspired by everything from the seventies. There is something epic, mountainous and majestic about this record; and when you whip out some violin power you can do no wrong in my book! Simply electrifying!

Mos Generator – Electric Mountain Majesty

zaterdag 20 december 2014

Number 13

Number 13

“Aichinger is a wine producer in Upper Austria and is slowly branching out. This wheat malt was matured for 13 years in Barrique casks. Giving it a lovely purple tint.  This exotic combination results in an extraordinary Whisky from Hilkering in Austria.”

Eight points above Monolord the well deserved Number 14 we find one of the godfathers. One of the true legends of this music we all love so dearly. It is an album that tries to bring out this voice of the desert in all its glory but does not forget to also make room for true heaviness, grand riffs and sandy grooves. Simply put, the album is brilliant and hits you like a desert thunderstorm. One of those moments where the horizon suddenly turns black and the ground shakes violently due to the sonic boom far away. And it ends with a beautiful song started, back then in 1998, or perhaps even earlier, and sounds like the clear sky after the storm passes and the rain on the ground starts to vaporize…

John Garcia – John Garcia

vrijdag 19 december 2014

Number 14

Number 14

“This whisky has been matured for 14 years in traditional oak casks before being transferred to Caribbean rum casks to impart some extra flavor. This process has created a well-rounded and drinkable whisky with notes of fruit and vanilla. Nose: The aroma is rich with notes of tropical fruits, namely passion fruit, and creamy toffee. Palate: Sweet vanilla forms a creamy palate with notes of apples and mangos with a hint of orange in the background. Finish: The finish lingers with a vanilla focused character. Overall: Mouth-coating and fruity with superb balance, this is an excellent new release from the chaps at Balvenie. ”

We found two albums with the exact amount of points on Number 15: Jeremy Irons & The Ratgang Malibus’s album Spirit Knife. And the Blue Snaggletooth record, Beyond Thule. And now we rise up for another six points to reach Number 14. And ofcourse as every year we find yet another Swedish band in the Top 20 countdown. But where most of those Scandinavian bands aim for the classic sound and that seventies approach with overtones of stoner and proto metal, these guys go big the way of doom. It still retains a highly vintage sound and feeling, but the gigantic riffs and massive bass implore you to nod your head slowly and gravely. And then there’s that voice. Haunting, spacy and mesmerizing! So bow down for the solitary lord and his queen!

Monolord – Empress Rising

donderdag 18 december 2014

Number 15

Number 15

“Colour: Gold. Nose: Not much lower strength. Raw, spirits, inexpressive, a little cardboard, grass, leaf… And a few floral tones. But an unlovely bouquet. Mouth: Very nice, a lot of caramel, corn syrup, then coffee and, just like in the blend, a little sawdust. Finish: Medium length, with a bitter side. Some varnish in the aftertaste. A mix of two distinct highland malts, the blended malt of Usquaebach is an acquired taste.”

We climb eight points after visiting the majestic Colossus album by Lo-Pan and head off towards a late comer this year. Not one, but two actually. A definite collector’s item and a gang of underappreciated actor lovers. One of them got together about five years ago and the other has been rocking the world for ten years. One of them is responsible for an incredible proto-metal, classic hardrock and trucking stoner record that leers back towards that golden seventies era. And the other one provided us with a psychedelic rock offering that rivals any of the greats. It is low soaring and high riding and cuts you like a knife. Ann Arbor, Michigan and Stockholm, Sweden together on position Number 15.

Blue Snaggletooth - Beyond Thule

Jeremy Irons & The Ratgang Malibus - Spirit Knife

woensdag 17 december 2014

Number 16

Number 16

“A much sought-after single malt with the massive peat-smoke that's typical of southern Islay - but also offering richness and a dryness that turns it into a truly interesting dram. The 16 year old has become a benchmark Islay dram from the Lagavulin distillery. Very thick and rich. A massive mouthful of malt and sherry with good fruity sweetness, but also a wonderful sweetness. Big, powerful peat and oak.”

We move up with seven points over Witch Mountain to a band that has made the Top 20 countdown list many times. They reached the Number 9 position of the very first edition of the yearly countdown in 2009 and the Number 3 position in 2011. This year they occupy Number 16 and rightfully so. Perhaps heavier and harder as their earlier ones; it definitely goes big the way of a monstrous statue. Tight, tense and with a definite punch this is by no means a light hearted album. Or an easy straightforward heavy trucker. No, there is so much in there that begs to be discovered. And with a place in the countdown we’re sure that many have and many more will!

Lo-Pan – Colossus

Since the release Lo-Pan has parted ways with guitarist Brian Fristoe. We wish Brian all the best in his future endeavors. Taking over guitar duties is Adrian Zambrano of Columbus, Ohio.

dinsdag 16 december 2014

Number 17

Number 17

“The nose is quite full. There are notes of honey and wax, resin and oak. There are notes of gentle smoke and cacao, hints of cooked fruit and a nutty note. The palate is sweet and rich. There are crisp notes of mixed peels, raisin and custard with a little zest and plenty of oak. The finish is long with notes of oak and cocoa and sherried peels.”

Two points above Kamchatka we are treated to the first female input this year. Unfortunately, she decide to leave the band not long after the release of this album. With an earthy and worldly vibe it is an album that perfects that beautiful paradox of making blues and doom become so charming and magnificent to listen to that you envision yourself naked underneath a picturesque waterfall somewhere in some forest. Perfection. And perfection kills…

Witch Mountain - Mobile of Angels

zondag 14 december 2014

Number 18

Number 18

“An elegant nose, faintly sweet, scented with apple and wood. Glen Fiddich 18 is a robust and full-bodied single malt whisky, yet remains remarkably soft, rounded and long lasting.”

And again; this album received one point more than the Serpent Venom album. And once again, we travel to the Scandinavian country of Sweden. A trio this time around. And one that has stumbled upon its definitive line-up this year. Their mixture of seventies heavy blues, stoner trucking and psychedelic free garage rock has this wild and ferocious inevitability. It’s a visit to a highly volatile volcanic landscape and dancing upon its surface with your arms stretched out. And like they state themselves; think about Cream, Zeppelin and Hendrix but with a Robin Trower or Warren Haynes approach. It’s groovy, it’s funky and it moves like a caged tiger ready to pounce…

Kamchatka – The Search Goes On

zaterdag 13 december 2014

Number 19

Number 19

“Linkwood 1990 19 Year Old - First Cask Whisky. From the First Cask range of Whisky, this is a Single Cask 19 Year Old Distilled in 1990. Minimum of 85 bucks for this one!”

They hail from the grimy streets of London. And their sophomore album received one point more than Salem’s Pot. These four musketeers know how to make a bass sound hairy, guitars absolute intense and bombard you with grandiose drum work. This is the way of the ancient giants. The ones that once roamed the earth in search of true rock. And then there are the vocals; which seem to almost float like a sycamore dream upon that thundering river of madness. And through that haze you see or maybe you don’t what happened so many years ago…

Serpent Venom - Of Things Seen & Unseen

Number 20

Number 20

“There’s a lot of oak here (resinous, spicy, leathery, tobacco-tinged), but it’s on a bed of layered sweetness (nutty toffee, caramel fudge, maple syrup) that supports and marries with the oak. An ideal postprandial bourbon…”

This Swedish quartet knows how to impose its classic horror and exploitation atmosphere upon the listener with feverous energy and drug-addled riffs. It is that seventies psychedelic riffage, that acid-blues and fuzz laden grooviness that draws you in. But it is that occult touch and creepy doomy vibe that enthralls and captivates. Yes, we start the countdown with them. We are talking about that sorry lot…

Salem's Pot - …Lurar ut dig på prärien

And so it begins… The Stoner HiVe top 20 countdown of 2014

The Stoner HiVe top 20 countdown of 2014 

And so it begins…

We have passed the 20:00 CET deadline on December the 12th of this musically stupendous year of 2014 many hours ago. But due to the many lists sent in the final moments it took longer to compute everything. So many great albums have been released that it once again made a lot of the list jump around like a mad kangaroo with some kind of weird flue. In the top though, things got pretty steady, pretty quick. Do you want to wager who wins? Nah, let’s just wait till December 31st to see who it is! It has once again been amazing to see the level of commitment of all you lovely freaks out there. And we received no less than 86 lists this year! Some of you sent a one album list; some three, some more, a few entered the exact twenty and a few went as far as detailing no less than a hundred or even a hundred and fifty one albums. Crazy bastards! Crazy… But that’s how it goes…

So… without further ado… We give you Number TWENTY. 

donderdag 11 december 2014

The Stoner HiVe top 20 countdown of 2014

The Stoner HiVe top 20 countdown of 2014

The deadline is approaching fast! So if you want to make sure your favorite album of 2014 ends up high on the list; send your list of favorite albums to StonerHiVe@hotmail.com before 20:00 CET on December 12. It doesn’t matter how many records the list contains as long as they were released this year. If you send in a graded the list, they will receive points accordingly. If you cannot put an order to them. That’s okay too: cause all albums will then get the same amount of points. So, start cracking and send your list of favorites before the countdown commences!

Send it HERE !

Before 20:00 CET December 12!

Fusskalt – Drive / Stand in Line

Fusskalt – Drive / Stand in Line
Self released – 2014
Rock, Metal, Stoner
Rated: ****

With an all mighty groove these five Danish freaks come out swinging! It is Fusskalt and with these two single tracks they pound you like a bearded dwarf wielding a Louisville slugger. Two single tracks called Drive and Stand In Line have you aching for more. And there is more ofcourse in the form of their two damn fine EP’s from 2012 and 2013. Which were more straightforward and speeding like a bullet train; missing some of that holy groove that is so prevalent on the two new tracks. Sure, you can already heat it being born on those stoner metal EP’s. But on Drive and Stand In Line it has matured to the massive beast that it is today. Indeed, Fusskalt has it all. Grimy, gritty riffs, pounding drums and a highly accomplished vocalist that has you grinning like a madman! So throw back a beer, light a smoke, speed up and head out towards that sunset horizon!

(Written by JK)