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

stoner metal top albums

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KYUSS Welcome To Sky Valley Album Cover Welcome To Sky Valley
KYUSS
4.39 | 41 ratings
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ELECTRIC WIZARD Dopethrone Album Cover Dopethrone
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SHRINEBUILDER Shrinebuilder Album Cover Shrinebuilder
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stoner metal Music Reviews

DIRT WOMAN The Glass Cliff

Album · 2020 · Stoner Metal
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siLLy puPPy
DIRT WOMAN is a newer stoner metal band from Ocean City, Maryland from a state that has had more than its fair share of stoner / doom metal bands (think Spirit Caravan,The Hidden Hand, Earthride, Obsessed). Featuring the lineup of Avery Mallon (drums), Kearny Mallon (guitar) and Gabe Solomon (guitar), it’s the addition of female lead singer and guitarist Zoe Koch that sets DIRT WOMAN apart from most similar minded stoner doomers.

There are a few instant reactions to this band and its debut album THE GLASS CLIFF. First of all, lame band name but cool cover art. Not sure what bands are thinking when they come up with completely unremarkable monikers but perhaps they were all stoned! Hehe! Whatever the case, DIRT WOMAN really knows how to crank out some high octane fuzz fueled guitar riffage laced with plodding rhythmic drives and monotonous and oft hypnotic spacey effects.

Of the five tracks that almost engulf an hour of your life, three race well past the thirteen minute mark so what you can expect on THE GLASS CLIFF is a series of receptive bass grooves that slowly cascade of accompanying guitar riffs that vary from soft echoey highlights to full-on distortion and din making raucous. While set back in the mix, Zoe Koch’s vocal style still emits a distinct feminine vibe as if some high priestess was piercing the veil to offer advice from another dimension only reached through licking toads or something.

With twin guitar action stampeding throughout the album’s run, DIRT WOMAN is heavy like Electric Wizard but also has touches of Black Sabbath inspired riffs and other traditional doom metal stalwarts like Saint Vitus but everything resonates in a reverberant fuzz-drenched fury more like Sleep’s classic stoner metal meltdowns. The strength of the album is its apparent study of the craft and it doesn’t deviate from the stoner metal norms which after a near hour’s worth of stoner fuzz also is its downfall as the tracks become monotonous.

While there are just enough variables to keep THE GLASS CLIFF from generating the more tiresome ennui, the 13 minute tracks do churn on a bit too long for their own good. Out of the lot, my favorite is the closing “Starhawk” which offers the most melodic variations of the album as well as showcasing Koch’s vocal style beyond a droning shout through the din. While i can’t say DIRT WOMAN is on my list of favorite up and coming bands, i have to say at least that this band’s debut full-length THE GLASS CLIFF is an enjoyable listen although drowned in the sea of similarly minded acts that are a tad more exciting.

TORCHE Meanderthal

Album · 2008 · Stoner Metal
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BitterJalapeno
Released in Spring of 2008, “Meanderthal” is the second studio album from Floridian stoner metal outfit Torche – a band comprising members of sludge metal bands Floor and Cavity. Vocalist and guitarist Steve Brooks continues Floor’s legacy of combining crushingly heavy riffs with melodic clean vocals to great effect. Stoner metal is not the first thing that springs to mind when listening to “Meanderthal” but pop-tinged sludge - something akin to a fusion of Cavity and Jimmy Eat World with a trace of psychedelic rock thrown in.

The aptly titled opener “Triumph of Venus” gets things off to a superb start with it’s ultra downtuned and heavy rhythm guitar alongside powerful, thundering drums and layers of triumphantly blistering lead guitar which is reminiscent of the more melodic side of Mastodon and really sets things up nicely for the remainder of the album.

Unusually, the dirty sludge riffs and chord progressions tend to be played in a major key which, alongside the highly melodic vocals, provides a sun-soaked, accessible form of sludge which I find equally uplifting and addictive although at the same time, I can appreciate that few bands would be capable of pulling off this mix of sounds successfully. The album reaches its sludgiest point on the penultimate and final tracks “Amnesian” and “Meanderthal” which alongside “Grenades” and the aforementioned opener “Triumph of Venus” are the biggest highlights of the album for me.

“Meanderthal” is not an album which displays huge amounts of variance or technical complexity so clocking in at a shade over 36 minutes in length is entirely appropriate for the style of music as it negates the chance of growing prematurely stale.

I would highly recommend this album to fans of Floor and to any open minded metal fan willing to look past the accessible and poppy qualities mentioned above and try something a bit different. A great uplifting release and great summer listening.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Deliverance

Album · 1994 · Stoner Metal
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Unitron
The first of several fantastic Corrosion of Conformity albums that are all time favorites, Deliverance is the first album of theirs with Pepper Keenan on lead vocals, and what a start for one of my favorite vocalists. A beautiful mixture of grunge, southern rock, heavy metal, and even a moody country song. I've always really liked COC, but it hasn't been until recently when they've become one of my favorite bands. Such a passionate performance, with soulful introspection and they emote so much.

From the lumbering Albatross, the wonderfully melodic Clean My Wounds, the swagger of Senor Limpio, the stomping title track, the country Shelter, the climatic finale Pearls Before Swine, I love it all.

PRESSOR Twist the Bliss

Single · 2020 · Stoner Metal
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Kev Rowland
St. Petersburg’s most famous sludge stoner band are back with a two-track single, released in May 2020. The band have now been settled as a quartet for the last few years, and the line-up is Stas Vasilev (synths, guitars, vocals), Anton Khmelevskiy (guitar), Denis Zarutsky (bass) and Daniil Kornev (drums). The two songs may only total 12 minutes in length, but it is more than enough to hear that Zarutsky has really settled into the band and they are taking their sludge and stoner influences and moving it more into krautrock and space rock. It is incredibly dark, heavy bottom end, with synths creating yet more layers as opposed to bringing in light. This is powerful stuff and one can only hope that as it has already been two years since the last album, this heralds they will soon be back with their next long player. Fans of intense distorted and very heavy music would do well to seek this out.

SHEAVY The Electric Sleep

Album · 1998 · Stoner Metal
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voila_la_scorie
It was while I was searching for heavy metal bands from Newfoundland and Labrador that I discovered Sheavy. One listen from "The Electric Sleep" and I was sure this was a band worthy of shelling out for a couple of discs at least. The problem was that actually buying CDs meant going to Discogs and looking for near mint if not mint. And hey, I found some!

According to the Wikipedia article about this band, this, their second album, saw a big improvement from the debut, and the band went over to Europe (not so far from St. John's, actually) to play and promote their music. Critics who heard the album were divided, with some claiming that this was a long lost Sabbath album and others putting down Sheavy as Sabbath clones at best. Now, I recently started to become of the opinion that nearly every stoner and doom metal band had to have Black Sabbath's "Master of Reality" played on daily rotation several hours at a time from their day of birth until they were teens just to ensure total and absolute indoctrination into how to create stoner and doom metal. However, I do contend that Sheavy's music is largely not Sabbath-like. Yes, there are a few riffs on this album the have the Tony Iommi call of doom feeling, but many other riffs seem to go a different route. I think the drumming and bass work is also more like what you'd hear from a band experimenting with the sounds and music rather than emulating it.

So we've got some really cool, heavy riffs and a band that sounds very comfortable in their own corner of the stoner rock arena. But those vocals! Man, if Ozzy just put his vocals through a filter that made them more scratchy - like Greg Lake's vocals in "21st Century Schizoid Man" - well then he'd sound just like Steve Hennessy. It's really uncanny how similar Steve sounds like classic Ozzy. On the second track, "Velvet", his voice is a little different because it's an acoustic track with a retro electric guitar sound and bass guitar that make the song sound like it's from 1969. But the rest of the album, man, Steve really could be mistaken for Ozzy.

One unusual thing is in the track "Oracle" which features a didgeridoo throughout the song. I've heard didgeridoos on other albums as an intro instrument (I think Cryptopsy has a song like that) but never used for an entire track, in this case 6:50 long!

This album is really for people who dig that slow and heavy atmosphere of stoner metal bands, but it doesn't feature any of those really low-toned, dragged out, over-distorted guitars like some bands have. Sheavy keeps the riffs moving. Some songs are a little less exciting. I mean, they start off cool and easy and bring in a bit of tension, but then they take time to really go anywhere. When they do, it's a sweet killer riff and sometimes a contrasting change of tempo. But then the song soon ends. That and the dense production sound are my only real criticisms of the album. Basically, it's a great 1990's, stoner metal album for when you're in the mood. But as I understand it, the band's sound evolved over the years and so I had to check out at least one more album...

stoner metal movie reviews

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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