Stoner Metal

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Stoner Metal is a sub-genre of metal music that rose into prominence in the early 1990's, pioneered by bands such as Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Sleep, as well as the grunge band Soundgarden. The genre is known for it's fusion of the sludgy riffing of doom metal, the fuzzy distortion of psychedelic rock, and various other styles of music such as blues rock and southern rock.

The origins of the genre is often attributed to early metal bands like Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer. The former's Master of Reality album of 1971 was especially influential in the development of the genre, sometimes even being cited as the first stoner metal album. Space Rock pioneers Hawkwind are also noted to have a substantial impact on the genre, with many stoner rock and metal bands taking elements from space rock. Stoner Metal pioneers Monster Magnet covered Hawkwind's "Brainstorm" on their 1993 album Superjudge. Hardcore punk is also sometimes cited as influencing the genre, with Kyuss's Josh Homme and John Garcia stating Black Flag's My War album of 1984 as having an impact.

Some stoner metal bands took more from blues rock and southern rock, and blended it with their own take on the stoner sound. Corrosion of Conformity and Clutch are among these acts, with the former starting out as a crossover thrash/hardcore punk band in the 80's before bringing in a southern/stoner sound on their 1991 album Blind. Speaking of hardcore, bands such as High on Fire and Kylesa are often considered stoner-sludge metal due to their common usage of hardcore punk elements.

Stoner-doom metal: Stoner doom was pioneered by bands such as Sleep and Cathedral, who started their careers playing traditional doom metal. While much of stoner metal takes influence from doom metal, stoner doom puts more emphasis on said influence. Notable examples include Sleep's Dopesmoker, Cathedral's The Carnival Bizzare, Electric Wizard's Dopethrone, and Acid King's Busse Woods. Some stoner doom releases are placed under doom if there is more of a focus on doom than a balance between the two.

Stoner Rock, while having much in common with it's metal offshoot, has less of a focus on the metal aspect of the sound and is included in the Hard Rock sub-genre on MMA.

- Biography written by Unitron.

Sub-genre collaborators (shared with Doom Metal and Drone Metal):
  • Nightfly (leader)
  • MorniumGoatahl

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KYUSS Welcome To Sky Valley Album Cover Welcome To Sky Valley
KYUSS
4.43 | 35 ratings
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ELECTRIC WIZARD Come My Fanatics... Album Cover Come My Fanatics...
ELECTRIC WIZARD
4.48 | 16 ratings
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CATHEDRAL The Garden of Unearthly Delights Album Cover The Garden of Unearthly Delights
CATHEDRAL
4.32 | 22 ratings
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ELECTRIC WIZARD Dopethrone Album Cover Dopethrone
ELECTRIC WIZARD
4.23 | 33 ratings
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ELECTRIC WIZARD Time to Die Album Cover Time to Die
ELECTRIC WIZARD
4.37 | 6 ratings
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CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Deliverance Album Cover Deliverance
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY
4.24 | 13 ratings
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THE SWORD Gods of the Earth Album Cover Gods of the Earth
THE SWORD
4.26 | 10 ratings
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ORANGE GOBLIN Frequencies From Planet Ten Album Cover Frequencies From Planet Ten
ORANGE GOBLIN
4.33 | 6 ratings
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SHRINEBUILDER Shrinebuilder Album Cover Shrinebuilder
SHRINEBUILDER
4.37 | 5 ratings
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SLEEP Dopesmoker Album Cover Dopesmoker
SLEEP
4.17 | 20 ratings
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DOWN Down III: Over the Under Album Cover Down III: Over the Under
DOWN
4.25 | 8 ratings
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HIGH ON FIRE Death Is This Communion Album Cover Death Is This Communion
HIGH ON FIRE
4.21 | 9 ratings
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stoner metal Music Reviews

ELECTRIC WIZARD We Live

Album · 2004 · Stoner Metal
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UMUR
"We Live" is the 5th full-length studio album by UK stoner/doom metal act Electric Wizard. The album was released through Rise Above Records in June 2004. Although it´s only been two years since the release of "Let Us Prey (2002)" there have been some quite radical changes in the band lineup, as both bassist Tim Bagshaw, and drummer Mark Greening have left Electric Wizard, leaving vocalist/guitarist Jus Oborn as the only remaining original member. The new lineup consists of Jus Oborn (vocals, guitars), Liz Buckingham (guitars), Rob Al-Issa (Bass), and Justin Greaves (drums), making Electric Wizard a four-piece for the first time.

Stylistically the music on "We Live" pretty much continue down the same psychadelic tinged stoner/doom metal path of "Let Us Prey (2002)" though. There´s still an occult and dark atmosphere about the music (which is also obvious from reading songtitles like "Flowers of Evil a.k.a. Malfiore" and "The Sun Has Turned to Black"), and the distinct underlying aggression is present too. The riffs are crushingly heavy, and the rhythm section follows suit. There´s also a hypnotic repetitive psychadelic element to the music which is quite prominent, so while the music features regular vers/chorus structures, it often goes beyond that, and presents the listener with something a bit more structurally loose.

"We Live" is generally a very organic sounding release. The performance of the music flows naturally, the sound production is raw, earthy and analogue tinged, and the material is well balanced between structure and jam oriented sections. The 10:48 minutes long opening "Eko Eko Azarak: I. Invocation - II. Ritual" is a good example of the more loose psychadelic side of the band´s music, while the dark, crushingly heavy, and occasionally quite aggressive side is well represented in tracks like the title track and "Flowers of Evil a.k.a. Malfiore". That´s truly doomy darkness, yet still with a psychadelic touch. It´s however more a "trip gone wrong" type of psychadelic touch rather than a happy "hippie flower power" touch. "Another Perfect Day?" is another interesting track, as it opens in a pretty fast-paced rock´n´roll oriented style and then drops to a crushingly heavy doom metal style in the middle. It´s not only good for the overall variation of the album, but also works really well within the particular track. "The Sun Has Turned to Black" and "Saturn's Children" close the album in slow doomy style, and it´s only during those two tracks that it sometimes gets too repetitive and monotone.

Upon conclusion "We Live" is yet another high quality stoner/doom metal release by Electric Wizard. It´s not as surprising or innovative as some of the group´s early releases, although the psychadelic element has become stronger, and has changed the band´s sound a bit, but you can´t deny strong and memorable songwriting, excellent musicianship, and a professional, organic, and raw sound production. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

MOTORPSYCHO Lobotomizer

Album · 1991 · Stoner Metal
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siLLy puPPy
MOTORPSYCHO is one of Norway’s most prolific and diverse sounding bands having racked up much critical acclaim for their ambitious stream of never-ending albums that feature genre-blending stylistic approaches and are most recognized in the world of progressive rock. However in the beginning when the band was founded by vocalist / bassist Bent Saether, guitarist / vocalist Hans Magnus Ryan and original drummer Kjell Runar Jensaen, the band was firmly grounded in the alternative heavy metal and grunge that was taking over the world in the early 90s. After a couple of warm-up demos, MOTORPSYCHO made their debut in 1991 with LOBOTOMIZER which found the band at their rawest, least progressive and as the cover suggests rooted in a stoner-tinged psychedelia or more appropriately called stoner metal.

LOBOTOMIZER fits somewhere in the murky area between hard rock, grunge and alternative metal. Most resembling Soundgarden in their earliest years with heavily distorted down-tuned guitar riffing, chunky bass and that now famous grungy drum along stylistic percussive drive, MOTORPSYCHO also exhibit a heavy speedy drive that keeps the music churning along with only a couple tracks like “Wasted” and “Eternity” slowing things down a few notches. While the heavy rock still retains a rather bluesy compositional approach not dissimilar to Alice In Chains, Melvins or Monster Magnet, the band was already a little more sophisticated than the average grunge band even at the very beginning with more dynamic compositional approaches that were displaying progressive tendencies albeit unfulfilled.

While most of LOBOTIMIZER is on hard rock overdrive, “Eternity” stands out as one of their most psychedelic offerings with lush acoustic guitar strumming, electronic swirling effects reminding me a bit of Hawkwind and more tripped out electric guitar antics. “Hogwash,” one of their crowd favorites in live performances extends over eight minutes and provides a cool psychedelic jam that utilizes a heavily distorted guitar groove and Geir Nilsen’s guest appearance on Hammond organ bringing a veritable 60s vibe to the table. The best and most accomplished track is reserved as the the closer with the near twelve minute “TFC” which takes both aspects of heavy grungy rock and psychedelia and churns out a lengthy mind bending trip into the alternative promised land with all kinds of Krautrock-ish freakouts thus flaunting their freak flag creds.

While LOBOTOMIZER is heavily steeped in the early 90s regalia of grunge and alternative metal, it’s clear in retrospect albeit probably not at the time that MOTORPSYCHO was more sophisticated than the average grunge band on the block. Snuck into the mix was the use of violins and other sound affects to augment the trippiness effect and the interesting mixes themselves evoked an extreme sense of thoughtfulness absent from the major players of the day. While MOTORPSYCHO would score big in their native Norway all throughout their alternative 90s years, success would escape their clutches on a global scale. Although LOBOTOMIZER is often ranked as the band’s weakest effort, i find this to be a truly satisfying slice of early 90s alternative metal / grunge that offers a lot more sophistication than the average Nirvana album for sure. Will Saether’s vocal antics evoke the 90s, Ryan’s guitar feedback and fuzz just as easily bring the 60s to the forefront. Perhaps not their best but not one to be skipped either.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY 3 From Wiseblood

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 1996 · Stoner Metal
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FMOTP
For most folks like me, WISEBLOOD was a slight step down from DELIVERANCE. Of course, tracks like "Heaven's Not Overflowing" and "Albatross" are pretty tough competition. This 3 song promo is no slouch, according to the fine All Music website and the Chicago Tribune. "Drowning In A Daydream" was a top 30 radio hit, and was nominated for a 1998 Best Metal Performance Grammy Award. Not bad for a band that's usually known only to dedicated metal fans.

The playing is terrific as always, and I think Pepper Keenan is a big step up in the vocal department. For instance, the variety the rhythm section brings to "King of the Rotten" keeps the song interesting. These are some of my favorite songs on the album. Has anyone else noticed that early, more metal Red Hot Chili Peppers sounds a lot like late 90's COC, especially in Mike Dean's bass playing and Keenan's vocal delivery? It's just one example of Corrosion of Conformity's far-reaching influence. Over all, this is an excellent listening experience, if you're looking for a short taste of the band's music.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY No Cross No Crown

Album · 2018 · Stoner Metal
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UMUR
"No Cross No Crown" is the 10th full-length studio album by US metal/heavy rock act Corrosion of Conformity. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in January 2018. It´s the successor to "IX" from 2014 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as lead vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan has returned to the fold after leaving the band after the "In the Arms of God (2005)" album and not being part of the lineup who recorded the 2012 eponymously titled comeback album nor a part of the lineup who recorded "IX (2012)". Both mentioned albums were recorded by the three-piece lineup of Mike Dean (Bass, Vocals), Reed Mullin (Drums, Vocals), and Woody Weatherman (Guitars, Vocals).

It was never ruled out that the three remaining members wouldn´t work with Keenan again, and in late 2014 Corrosion of Conformity indeed announced that they would be reuniting with Keenan to write and record at least one album and tour in support of it. Initially the plan was to release the album in 2015, but touring commitments and the temporary dismissal of Mullin after an alcohol abuse related seizure postponed the recording and release plans.

While the two predecessors featured a more hardcore influenced heavy rock/metal style, which harks back to the early beginnings of the band, "No Cross No Crown" more or less picks up where "In the Arms of God (2005)" left off. So the listener is treated to a catchy stoner metal/southern influenced heavy rock style featuring healthy doses of both aggression, groove, and melody. Keenan is a skilled vocalist with a distinct sounding voice and delivery, and he just brings that something extra to Corrosion of Conformity´s sound. The instrumental part of the music is also performed with great skill and conviction. The band are an organic playing unit, who obviously know each other well and connect on a musical plain. Nothing sounds forced here and the band appear to have a good time playing, which isn´t always the case with reunited artists.

So it seems that the band have reunited with the right intentions in mind (because they like playing together and not just because they could make a lot of money). That can also be heard in the quality of the material on the 15 track, 57:37 minutes long album, which is relatively high throughout the album. I wouldn´t call "No Cross No Crown" the band´s strongest or most memorable release, but it´s a powerful, groove laden, and heavy and hard rocking album, featuring mostly memorable and catchy songs. The whole thing is packed in a raw and organic sounding production, which suits the material well, so upon conclusion "No Cross No Crown" is a quality comeback album for the Pepper Keenan-fronted Corrosion of Conformity. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

SLEEP The Sciences

Album · 2018 · Stoner Metal
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Warthur
After all this time, and particularly considering that its members had gone off to do other projects, did anybody expect Sleep to ever put out another album? No - but good things come to those who wait. A full decade after reforming for very occasional live gigs, Sleep woke up in a bleary haze on 4/20 and passed us some of the good stuff - namely, a set of six songs in the classic Sleep vein. Nothing here is quite as mind-crushingly heavy as Dopesmoker, but that's only to be expected - nothing is as heavy as Dopesmoker - but I'd say in general it's consistently heavier and slower than, say, Sleep's Holy Mountain. If you know your stoner doom, you already know what to expect from Sleep, and they deliver it here as though they'd never been away.

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CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Live Volume: The Movie

Movie · 2001 · Stoner Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Corrosion Of Conformity’s Live Volume: The Movie was recorded live in Detroit at the Harpo's venue and released in 2001. This was the band’s first and to date only live DVD and captures the band live in support of their America’s Volume Dealer album from 2000. Jimmy Bower, who plays alongside Pepper Keenan in the fantastic Phil Anselmo fronted super group Down, provides the drums for this live concert as the band were in between losing and reuniting with long time Drummer and founding member Reed Mullin.

The band really hammer home a strong and confident performance, aided by Bower’s fine drumming. Each member puts in a good show, the guitars are big and heavy as they should be, the bass really stands out and Pepper’s vocals stand up very well in the live environment.

The setlist is strong, concentrating mostly on the band’s Pepper Keenan era material. Standout tracks include ‘Wiseblood,’ and ‘King Of The Rotten’ as well as the big hits like ‘Clean My Wounds,’ and ‘Albatross,’ which go down a storm live.

The sound mix is pretty great, really conveying the heaviness and southern edge to some of the riffs and letting you hear what each member is doing perfectly for most of the duration.

In terms of camera work and visuals the DVD is also pretty successful and it has certainly aged better than some of the concert DVDs that were released around that era, some of which are now feeling comparatively dated.

If any complaint were to be leveled at this Live DVD it would be that the editing is perhaps a little overenthusiastic, there is a lot more double-exposure than one would expect, things brake into slow motion at unexpected points and there is sometimes a seeming desire to get across how much fun the fans are having, even at the expense of the visuals.

If you can forgive this one flaw then there is a lot to enjoy about C.O.C’s Live Volume: The Movie and I would highly recommend it.

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