Trippy Tryptamine Trials: 2018's Meditations

Debated doing this because I usually never keep up with year lists, but I guess I'm folding and giving it a shot. This follows in line with my 2015 Rituals and 2016 Psychosermons lists in that here I'm focused specifically on the more trance like, ethereal, and hallucinatory releases from this current year. That probably means it'll mostly be composed of drone, ambient, and psychedelic albums like the previous two, but hey, if any album really sends me "into the zone" with its music, it has a potential for inclusion here. Not really limited by how dark and evil or how bright and uplifting a release is here either, as there are certainly many different ways for music to achieve that lulling, hypnotic effect.

Recs greatly encouraged and appreciated. In order by release date. Full stream links provided when available.

Created by: Apothecary | 07.09.2018

1. Weedpecker - III
I've been a big fan of these guys ever since their debut, and this one just keeps the magic a'coming. Bluesy psych rock with that old school, retro feel. Makes ya feel like you're back in the 70s chewing the fungus with Jerry Garcia and the boys.
2. Old Tower - Stellary Wisdom
I'm not too crazy about dungeon synth honestly, but Old Tower does it in a way that just comes off as all around more satisfying than the large majority of what else I've heard for the genre. The guy behind this does a pretty great job at making the music repetitious and entrancing but also varied enough to not become overly monotonous and boring. Plus the whole medieval, castle-esque feel is pretty cool, as cheesy as it may be.
3. Naxatras - III
Like Weedpecker, these guys also seem to be fans of Roman numeral-named albums this year. Also like Weedpecker, they too go at the more old school, bluesy psychedelic sound, but here it's a little more interlaced with elements of hard rock and stoner metal, making it a lot fuzzier and crunchier. Highly recommended for fans of stuff like Wo Fat, Samsara Blues Experiment, The Re Stoned, etc.
4. Arkheth - 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew
Bouncy, memorable, and all around fun as fuuuuuck cut of psychedelic black metal featuring some saxophone that goes down very smoothly as well. Alludes to Virus, Oranssi Pazuzu, Transcending Bizarre? and more while still having an identity all its own.
5. Trontari - Mona Lisa Del Contra Instrumentals
Trontari is an Australian project from multimedia artist Rookie Allen that combines elements of synthwave, free jazz, psychedelic music, and more into a multifaceted, electronics-driven journey. Both stimulating and relaxing, I actually prefer this instrumental version of the album to the regular one, as it's much better for zoning out in stasis to and just lazily floating amidst the various genre influences. Definitely one for the cyberpunk lovers
6. GosT - Possessor
Probably the most extreme GosT album ever, here the horror tinged synthwave this guy has become known for is blended with far more of an underlying metal influence than before to the point that blast beats and a black metal esque barrage of synths actually appear on several tracks. I'm not as big a fan of this new style as some others seem to be, but thankfully it's not all across the board and on the whole Possessor is still a pretty entrancing, high quality cut of electronic music.
7. Borgne - [∞]
This album was my first time crossing paths with Borgne, but I get a feeling from them similar to when I first discovered Darkspace, in that they exploit the repetition with their take on black metal so hard that you feel like you're sailing endlessly on a Mobius strip when listening. Extremely well written and comes with an underlying hook to the music that few other black metal bands can touch
8. Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - Electric Dream Ecstasy
Japanese psychedelic music has been particularly strong lately, and this bunch is a prime example of why. There's little that can really be said about this album other than that it's a shapeshifting, psychonautic jam session, quite likely born entirely from improvisation. Probably what Timothy Leary would be listening to were he still alive
9. Chaos Echśs - Sustain [Collaboration]
I've enjoyed just about everything Chaos Echoes have released up to this point in different ways, and they've been on a roll since Transient in 2015. This little collab sees them teaming up with free jazz saxophonist Mats Gustaffson for a droney approach that can only be described as a more apocalyptic sounding KDJE... or something like that
10. Dark Buddha Rising - II
While this is admittedly less material than I'd like from these Finnish sorcerers, they still get the job done with an impressive range of ideas on this 25 minute EP. Here DBR hit both their doomy, structured side and their more formless, droney side pretty damn well, and their new vocalist M. Neuman is an absolute powerhouse.
11. Primitive Man - Steel Casket
Primitive Man have flirted with noise music techniques before, but Steel Casket is a major curveball, probably being their most developed venture into it yet. These guys definitely know how to do right by the genre, and Steel Casket is pretty top notch noise music, variating between dark, low tones, high, ringy ones, and having a whole host of odd sound effects to drive home the atmosphere
12. 777Babalon - Muchotrávky, Lysohlávky, Bobule
777 Babalon is a two person Slovakian project that merges dark ambient, noise, and black metal elements in truly nightmarish ways. This release is actually a bit less terrifying than I remember some of their previous work being, but only slightly so. Lulling, haunting, and seductive, this is indeed the soundtrack to walking through the dimly lit corridors of the subconscious
13. Bong - Thought And Existence
Probably the first Bong album in a while that's considerably different from those preceding it, here these Shiva loving dronesters are cranking up the presence of drums and vocals considerably. Kind of like what they did on the last album, but a bit more developed. Powerful, immersive ritual as per usual.
14. uSSSy - Voyage
Psychedelic industrial music? I never would've put much faith in how well this idea can actually work before hearing this album. Here it's exactly as it sounds: uSSSy craft a sound that's both swirling, jammy, and drenched in a retro acid rock type of bounce, but embellished with mechanical drums, pulsing electronics, and other elements more characteristic of industrial music or noise rock. Pretty creative, hypnotizing sound.
15. Urfaust - The Constellatory Practice
Urfaust's last album was considerably more repetitive and drone influenced than before, and while this one more or less follows suit, it balances out that approach with their black metal personality a bit better. Not too much different from what this duo has done before, but at this point when their sound is already so delicious, why shake up the recipe too hard?
16. The Body - I Have Fought Against It, But I Can't Any Longer
While all the collabs that The Body do with other artists are certainly enjoyable, it's nice to see them return to their own material now and then as well. This could be the most electronic and industrial influenced direction the band have gone in yet, but regardless of it being a change up, it's still replete with those beautiful choir vocals, Chip King's ear piercing shrieks, and that trademark haunting cloak of ambiance
17. Wolvennest - Void
I'm a sucker for black metal/drone fusions, and Wolvennest do a pretty damn good job at scratching that itch with this album. Void is many things: black metal, drone, krautrock, maybe even a bit of free jazz here and there as well. A puzzling though satisfying blend of hazey, free floating genres that certainly sends you into the zone.
18. Panegyrist - Hierurgy
One of the most unique black metal albums I've heard in a while both in terms of sound and concept, Panegyrist go hard at a catchy brand of progressive black metal seemingly heavy with a Gnostic Christian influence. The songwriting is somehow very memorable and hypnotic despite its complexity, and tracks 1 and 4 which feature only clean vocals are especially beautiful
19. The Re-Stoned - Stories Of The Astral Lizard
This album is significantly mellower and more atmospheric than I remember this bunch having sounded in the past, their previous albums being all around crunchier and more riff centric. Stories goes in a more formless psych direction, but is still nonetheless an enjoyable, immersive experience that would go wonderfully as a listen under a quiet beach side sunset
20. Xenward - Xenward
Well this one just sprung on me out of nowhere. I'd never heard of this guy or his work before this album, but it's some well written, extremely entrancing black metal/dark ambient hybrid. Does a marvelous job at crafting tracks that start more in the BM sphere before slowly descending into ambiance as well as the opposite. Carries some similarity to the work of Mories, Leviathan, and the BTC bands while not really sounding too much like either
21. Grist - Monads
22. Gnaw Their Tongues - Burning Ad Infinitum: A Collaboration [Collaboration]
23. Nadja - Sonnborner
A very unusual album even for Nadja, here Aidan and Leah go for a half hour opening track that's not too different from their usual, slowly paced ambient dreamscapes... before descending into four more that flirt with some much more abrasive, almost grind-ish techniques, of all things. The latter arpproach is much shorter and more frenetic, but still somehow carries the trademark Nadja sound to it, and is only further testament to this duo's ability to adapt itself in incredible ways
24. The Day Sleepers - This Dark Universe
25. P.H.O.B.O.S. - Phlogiston Catharsis
A new P.H.O.B.O.S. full length after six years has ended up being well worth the wait. Here the industrial, doom, and black metal aspects of the band's sound feel better balanced than ever, with the overall production and trance inducing nature of the songwriting appearing to have improved as well. A colossal, hypnotizing journey that is pretty much the aural equivalent of watching lava slowly erupt from a volcano
26. Atrium Carceri - Codex
As another fine example of why Cryo Chamber is one of the prime labels to watch for ambient music right now, here Atrium Carceri craft a superb listening experience that while perhaps not too unexpected is still pleasantly diverse. The music variates quite well between bleak and uplifting, featuring a delightful array of synth, choirs, and even more industrial type techniques used to great effect for sustaining the mood
27. Paleowolf - Archetypal
I've been getting a lot more into ritual ambient music in the past year or two, and some of my favorite is that which goes heavy at a Native American influence. Paleowolf do just that, utilizing chants, percussion, and other more ancient, traditional songwriting techniques to great effect. The result is nothing short of a perfect soundtrack for a peyote fueled vision quest in the Texan desert on a quiet, windless night
28. Corpselium - Storm Of Shadows
A truly unique album from a truly unique band, Storm Of Shadows features a sound something like a combination of Blut Aus Nord and Esoteric, but also so much more. With a highly experimental, atmospheric doom approach, here Corpselium craft a mesmerizing, haunting ritual replete with dissonant, swirly riffage, impressive instrumentation and crisp production, and some deep, seductive baritone vocals to top it all off. Top shelf stuff
29. Entropia - Vacuum
30. Windhand - Eternal Return
Eternal Return is admittedly a little heavier and more structured than I remember Windhand previously being. Their past material seemed a little more atmospheric and airy, but Eternal Return still captures their core aesthetic as well as ever. Luscious, repetitive riffs, a great rhythm section, and of course the magnificent vocals of Dorthia Cottrell as the icing on the cake
31. Author & Punisher - Beastland
Well this may be an odd album for inclusion on a list like this, as it's neither "trippy" nor "relaxing" in the traditional understanding of the terms. It is however minimalistic to the point of creating a sort of lulling trance effect, as extreme as the music here may be. The one man project of Tristan Shone, notable for custom making many of his own instruments for his industrial doom terror, A&P is harsh, gritty, and unforgiving while also being strangely seductive and hypnotic as well.
32. The Dunes - S/T
33. Callow - Mothdust
34. Megaton Leviathan - Mage
I prefer the previous Megaton Leviathan album to this one, which was a lot more ambient based, but if Mage is worse it's by a very small margin. Here the band have embraced a more doom heavy sound, but it's far from "normal" doom, being marked by lush, almost psychedelic influences of shoegaze and electronica. The album seems to conjures a warm, Autumn type feeling as well, making its cover quite fitting.
35. A Strangely Isolated Place - Full Circle
36. Wardruna - Skald
Skald is a pretty big departure from the sound Wardruna were employing on previous albums, being a lot more minimalist. Here all the more grandiose folk elements of earlier are gone, and only vocals and lyre from Einar remain. The resulting formula, while at times overly monotonous, comes across as slightly more shamanic than before, and has a sort of stripped down, ancestral beauty to it

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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Comments: 7   Visited by: 41 users
07.09.2018 - 21:08
Something tells me you haven't heard Wolvennest yet.
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.

2020 goodies
07.09.2018 - 21:08
And sure, overrated or whatever, but Sleep.
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.

2020 goodies
07.09.2018 - 21:10
Written by RaduP on 07.09.2018 at 21:08

Something tells me you haven't heard Wolvennest yet.

It's on my to listen list, I noticed when you reviewed it but just haven't gotten around to giving it the full listen yet. Sleep I'm considering adding, but might be a little too "mainstream" for this list. Color me a hipster
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
07.09.2018 - 22:22
Account deleted
Written by Apothecary on 07.09.2018 at 21:10

Sleep I'm considering adding, but might be a little too "mainstream" for this list. Color me a hipster

Fucking hipster. Add Sleep already, goddammit.
08.09.2018 - 13:17
Eh, Sleep isn't really worthy if you ask me. Good to know they're the "normal one out." Makes me want to listen to the others.
And the tears that we will weep today
Will all be washed away
By the tears that we will weep again tomorrow
09.09.2018 - 02:44
At best deranged
Only two records I heard so far this year that are also on this list are the Naxatras and Panegyrist ones. Really liked both of them. I'll have to try some of these others as well.
09.09.2018 - 05:31
Written by Zap on 08.09.2018 at 13:17

Eh, Sleep isn't really worthy if you ask me

The Sciences is a pretty good album to just chill out to when I'm in the mood I guess, even if I still vastly prefer Om and High On Fire to Sleep. Suits the theme, I'll give it a pass here

EDIT: Nope, just kidding, it got booted
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down

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