When I was initially approached about contributing to the Doom Charts, I was intimidated.
Not because I was worried about writing—that’s straightforward enough.
No, I was worried about the responsibility.
“Basically, the Doom Charts is a submission of your top 25 albums each month,” Ioannis from Desert Vulture (and, obviously, the Doom Charts) told me. “And one blurb, literally a blurb, about one of the albums that made an impression on you.”
I was stunned.
25 albums? Per month?
Now, I listen to a lot of music, and I even have the tunes cranked for 8+ hours a day. But I typically only listen to a handful of new albums every month—just enough to keep up with Monster Riff submissions and to continue publishing a steady stream of album reviews.
Getting up to 25 seemed like a monumental task.
But then I found out a nice hack later in our conversation: You really only need to submit 10 albums a month.
That’s a lot more manageable.
With that realization, I decided to jump headfirst into the Doom Charts.
Meeting the Team
Although Ioannis was the first person to mention the Doom Charts to me, it was Joop Konraad of Stoner HiVe who pulled me all the way in.
As one of the earliest founding members of the Doom Charts, Joop has a long, long history in the scene. And as a journalist, he’s interviewed just about everyone who matters—multiple times!
Joop was such a good guide early on, I eventually invited him onto the Monster Riff Presents Podcast to hear more about his story:
Over time, I gradually started talking to other members of the group as well.
And, as I soon learned, the Doom Charts really starts with the Facebook group and the email blasts.
The Contributors’ Facebook Group
The Facebook group is where a lot of the Doom Charts magic happens. This is where Bandcamp codes are shared, announcements are made, and leadership reminds everyone to submit their picks at the end of the month.
When I first joined, I thought it would be a huge mix of updates and discussions on new music.
But I have to applaud the admins of this group.
True, members will sometimes use it to plug an article they’re especially proud of or to recruit new writers for their own site, but its conversations usually remain focused on distributing the latest albums or lending a hand as the next deadline rolls around.
The Email Blasts
Press releases are not new to me. As a former journalist and current content marketer, I’ve been around long enough to read and write plenty of email blasts.
And as the editor of Monster Riff, I receive plenty of them on a regular basis.
But Monster Riff isn’t the Doom Charts.
The Doom Charts, it turns out, receives a ton of submissions (as it should). And these must then be distributed to the rest of the group.
I haven’t done a formal count, but the submissions come in massive waves each month—dozens and dozens of albums to sift through.
It’s intimidating, so it’s important to have a process in place.
Developing My Own Process
In general, my schedule for Monster Riff is this:
- During the week, I research and write new content in the wee hours of the morning.
- During the day, I’ll post any new content (whenever there’s new content ready) and monitor the social media accounts and email inbox.
- On Saturdays, I try to get up a video on Instagram for the Saturday Music Suggestions series.
- On Mondays, I occasionally drop a marketing tip.
All of this is on top of the busy small business I run during the week.
As a result, I often squeeze the Doom Charts into my Saturday morning, when my wife and dog are still asleep.
I’ll go through the last week of emails, note anything that looks interesting or sounds great, then weed out submissions that don’t quite fit or things I know I wouldn’t be able to appreciate, like Black Metal or Punk.
From there, I’ll keep a running list of albums to go back to listen to.
Over the month, I’ll visit these albums and come up with an opinion on them.
The 10+ best make it into my Doom Charts list at the end of the month.
How to Improve Your Chances of Appearing On the Doom Charts
If your goal as a band or musician is to pierce the Doom Charts, here are a couple of recommendations:
Be In the Right Genre
There’s a lot of music that comes into the Doom Charts that is simply a bad fit. Hell, I get a ton of submissions to Monster Riff that are bad fits, too!
Black Metal, Death Metal, Hard Core Punk—these are all genres that frequently appear in the Doom Charts submissions.
Does it happen? Sure! Occasionally, a stellar Black Metal-influenced record will enter the fray and captivate the Doom Charts crowd. In most cases, however, a pure Black Metal record will struggle to chart.
But that doesn’t really mean writing a great Doom Metal album will necessarily make you a perfect fit for the Doom Charts, either.
Over time, the reviewers for the Doom Charts have evolved. New members have joined, and overall preferences have shifted.
Today, in 2022, the Doom Charts as a whole seems to have a tendency toward:
- Stoner Rock with heavy Psych Rock influences
- Stoner Rock with heavy Prog Rock influences
Just look at the top slots for the last few months:
- September 2022: King Buffalo’s Regenerator (A beautiful Psychedelic Prog Rock album)
- August 2022: Mammoth Volume’s The Cursed Who Perform the Larvagod Rites (A Stoner/Desert Rock album with Psych/Prog tendencies)
- July 2022: Sons of Arrakis’ Volume I (Probably the most straightforward Stoner Rock album on this list)
- June 2022: Sergeant Thunderhoof’s This Sceptred Veil (A stunning Stoner Rock record with enormous Prog Rock influences)
Notice anything in those four albums? Not a single Doom record on there. Hell, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single Doom-inspired song across those four records.
Again, this is not meant as a knock against the Doom Charts in any way; it’s simply to point out that what tops the chart isn’t always the heaviest material in the Stoner/Doom world.
That said, remember: These are only the albums that took the top slots. There are plenty of Doom and Psychedelic records that still chart well each month!
Write And Produce Great Music
This one seems like a no-brainer, but let me explain myself a little.
The Stoner/Doom scenes have plenty of DIY practitioners, and this can actually end up working in the band’s favor—especially for those bands trying to capture a fuzzy, distorted aesthetic.
So, if the vocals are obscured and the drums are somewhat tinny, that can be OK to the average Stoner Rock fan, just as long as there’s a wall of guitars to make up for everything.
But that might not be enough for the Doom Charts.
Yes, the general consensus among Doom Charts members (based on previous publications) is that fuzz is cool, but lo-fi fuzz rarely shoots to the top of the charts.
On the four albums we listed above, Regenerator and This Sceptred Veil were extremely polished records, and even Volume I had streaks of elbow grease across its forehead.
Out of the whole list, only The Cursed Who Perform the Larvagod Rites still has all the wind and grit of the desert in its sound.
Bottom line: If you want to appear on the Doom Charts, polish your sound.