There’s something special about looking back to check out the top albums of the year.
In some ways, Monster Riff has become a bit of a personal music diary. As much as it is a home to analyze music, interview artists, and dig into the coolest parts of the underground, it’s also a snapshot of how I’ve grown as a fan, as a listener, and as a critic.
And when I put together the top Stoner Rock and Doom albums of 2021 about a year ago (my first time putting together a year-end list), I realized something important:
You’ve got to be disciplined throughout the year so that your list doesn’t absolutely suck in December.
That word—discipline—is important here.
For a long time, Monster Riff was mostly me. Just one guy quietly typing away week after week.
Then, in 2021, a couple of writers came around and began contributing.
And then a few more writers came along.
This year, Monster Riff reviewed 34 albums — and 11 articles came from guest writers. With so many opinions coming from other writers, many other perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences helped inform album review scores in 2022.
The Monster Riff scoring rubric definitely got a workout!
All of that said, thanks to everyone who’s contributed this year. And thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to read Monster Riff this year!
Enough with the expositions. Let’s talk music!
Top Stoner Rock and Doom Albums of 2022
Here are the top Stoner Rock and Doom albums of 2022 (plus some excellent Psychedelic Rock records) based entirely on how they were originally rated on Monster Riff throughout 2022.
Note: There were a ton of cool albums that dropped this year that weren’t covered in Monster Riff, and therefore haven’t made our year-end list.
The Best of the Best – 10 out of 10
Sergeant Thunderhoof: ‘This Sceptred Veil’ – 10/10
Album Release Date: June 3, 2022
Album Summary: A massive improvement even over the band’s excellent Terra Solus, This Sceptred Veil is dark, deep, and heavy, relying on massive Stoner riffs, Psychedelic flair, and Prog elements to deliver one of the most polished records of 2022.
Favorite Song: “Devil’s Daughter”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Sergeant Thunderhoof’s This Sceptred Veil.
Samán: ‘II. Montaña Roja’ – 10/10
Album Release Date: July 8, 2022
Album Summary: This is one of those albums you should savor over and over again. A standout record even in the booming South American Stoner Rock scene, Saman’s II. Montaña Roja draws inspiration from bands like Stoned Jesus, Elder, Color Haze, and Skraeckoedlan. The end result: A beautiful and aggressive record that is absolutely enchanting.
Favorite Song: “Montaña roja (Pt. 1)”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Samán’s II. Montaña Roja.
Valley of the Sun: ‘The Chariot’ – 10/10
Album Release Date: July 8, 2022
Album Summary: The fellas in Valley of the Sun have always been some of the underground’s top riff dealers—and The Chariot is another standout example on their resume. Here, you’ll find riffs inspired by the likes of Audioslave, Jimi Hendrix, and even Brant Bjork. With The Chariot, VotS delivers another blazing record, and they show no signs of slowing down.
Favorite Song: “Sweet Sands”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Valley of the Sun’s The Chariot.
King Buffalo: ‘Regenerator’ – 10/10
Album Release Date: September 2, 2022
Album Summary: The final installment of The Pandemic Trilogy (Regenerator is meant to be paired with The Burden of Restlessness and Acheron), Regenerator sounds like a refreshed and revitalized version of King Buffalo. This is a warm and inviting record that uses charm and bright riffs to pull you in—before entering that heavy, churning soundscape they’re so well known for.
Favorite Song: “Regenerator”
Read the full Monster Riff review of King Buffalo’s Regenerator.
The Excellent – 9.5 out of 10
Devil’s Witches: ‘In All Her Forms’ – 9.5/10
Album Release Date: October 28, 2022
Album Summary: In All Her Forms is the best concept album of the year. Period. Painstakingly written and absolutely beautiful, In All Her Forms slips between heartbreaking acoustic tracks and haunting heavy riffs. I had a blast discussing the nuances of this record on The Fuzz Club, so be sure to check it out:
Favorite Song: “Successive Slidings of Pleasure”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Devil’s Witches’ In All Her Forms.
Silent Monolith: ‘Empty Kingdom’ – 9.5/10
Album Release Date: July 18, 2022
Album Summary: Silent Monolith’s Empty Kingdom was a long time coming, but it was well worth the wait. For folks who love straightforward Stoner Rock, these Nashville musicians have delivered an outstanding record packed with tasty riffs and southern flair.
Favorite Song: “Burn”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Silent Monolith’s Empty Kingdom.
Ian Blurton’s Future Now: ‘Second Skin’ – 9.5/10
Album Release Date: July 15, 2022
Album Summary: Second Skin carefully arranges multiple guitars and melodies for exhilarating songs that call to mind Green Lung and Iron Maiden at their very best. This is a wild and fun record!
Favorite Song: “Like A Ghost”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Ian Blurton’s Future Now’s Second Skin.
The Strong – 9 out of 10
Green Hog Band: ‘Crypt of Doom’ – 9/10
Album Release Date: May 1, 2022
Album Summary: Crypt of Doom is another killer album from the Brooklyn-based Stoner Metal artists, drawing on a wide range of influences lyrically and musically.
Favorite Song: “Dragon”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Green Hog Band’s Crypt of Doom.
Indus Valley Kings: ‘Origin’ – 9/10
Album Release Date: June 8, 2022
Album Summary: Origin weaves fluidly from Psychedelic to Stoner to Thrash—offering concrete touchpoints that may increase Indus Valley Kings’ appeal to a wider audience without ever betraying their Stoner Metal roots.
Favorite Song: “…And the Dead Shall Rise”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Indus Valley Kings’ Origin.
Delco Detention: ‘What Lies Beneath’ – 9/10
Album Release Date: March 1, 2022
Album Summary: Delco Detention first grabbed headlines for their (very) young guitarist/songwriter and for collaborating with the likes of Neil Fallon (Clutch), Bob Balch (Fu Manchu), and others on From the Basement. On What Lies Beneath, we hear the growth of a young artist coming into his own.
Favorite Song: “Rock Paper Scissors”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Delco Detention’s What Lies Beneath.
Achachak – ‘Planet Hashish’ – 9/10
Album Release Date: March 12, 2022
Album Summary: When an album opens with a bong hit, you know it’s either going to flop or hit. Planet Hashish hits. A distinct step forward after 2021’s High Mountain, Planet Hashish is the band’s heaviest and catchiest music yet.
Favorite Song: “Planet Hashish”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Achachak’s Planet Hashish.
Heavy Roller – ‘Heavy Roller’ – 9/10
Album Release Date: March 2, 2022
Album Summary: The high-octane Hard Rock band writes a series of catchy heavy hitters for this eponymous debut album. They channel their heroes without being derivative, so the entire record feels fresh.
Favorite Song: “Scavenger’s Delight”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Heavy Roller’s Heavy Roller.
Blind Mess: ‘After the Storm’ – 9/10
Album Release Date: September 18, 2022
Album Summary: The German rockers touch on Punk, Hardcore, Stoner, and Metal, and they throw it all together in a way that feels brand new. There are hints of Classic Rock throughout as well, but nothing feels formulaic or played out.
Favorite Song: “Twilight Zone”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Blind Mess’ After the Storm.
The Otolith – ‘Folium Limina’ – 9/10
Album Release Date: October 21, 2022
Album Summary: A breathtaking mix of Atmospheric Doom and Avant-Garde Metal, Folium Limina is an unforgettable album with incredible vocals and instrumentation.
Favorite Song: “Sing No Coda”
Read the full Monster Riff review of The Otolith’s Folium Limina.
Wolfnaut – ‘III’ – 9/10
Album Release Date: January 21, 2022
Album Summary: III is a powerful comeback demonstrating the band’s impressive chops as a three-piece. A fun and occasionally lighthearted Fuzz Rock album, III is also packed with enough grit and Desert Rock attitude to deserve numerous relistens.
Favorite Song: “Feed Your Dragon”
Read the full Monster Riff review of Wolfnaut’s III.