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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SLEEP Dopesmoker Album Cover Dopesmoker
SLEEP
4.28 | 31 ratings
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CATHEDRAL The Garden of Unearthly Delights Album Cover The Garden of Unearthly Delights
CATHEDRAL
4.27 | 28 ratings
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ELECTRIC WIZARD Dopethrone Album Cover Dopethrone
ELECTRIC WIZARD
4.24 | 38 ratings
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TROUBLE
4.32 | 13 ratings
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4.37 | 7 ratings
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DOWN Down III: Over the Under Album Cover Down III: Over the Under
DOWN
4.25 | 12 ratings
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DOWN Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow... Album Cover Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow...
DOWN
4.24 | 13 ratings
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THE SWORD Gods of the Earth Album Cover Gods of the Earth
THE SWORD
4.19 | 16 ratings
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KYUSS Welcome To Sky Valley Album Cover Welcome To Sky Valley
KYUSS
4.08 | 55 ratings
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THE SWORD
4.15 | 13 ratings
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HIGH ON FIRE Death Is This Communion Album Cover Death Is This Communion
HIGH ON FIRE
4.14 | 14 ratings
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OM Advaitic Songs Album Cover Advaitic Songs
OM
4.12 | 9 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy MMA!

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stoner metal Music Reviews

CATHEDRAL The Garden of Unearthly Delights

Album · 2005 · Stoner Metal
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UMUR
"The Garden of Unearthly Delights" is the 8th full-length studio album by UK doom metal act Cathedral. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in September 2005. It´s the successor to "The VIIth Coming" from 2002. "The Garden of Unearthly Delights" features among other tracks, the 26:58 minutes long "The Garden". Cathedral have previously composed very long tracks (especially the 22:42 minutes long "The Voyage of the Homeless Sapien" from the 1994 "Statik Majik " EP comes to mind), but this one takes the prize as the longest track in their discography.

While it´s impossible to talk about "The Garden of Unearthly Delights" and not mention "The Garden" (which is a multi-suite track featuring many different sections and atmospheres), the album actually features 9 other tracks (and a total playing time of 70 minutes), and the remaining tracks on the album are also more than worthy of being mentioned. I could have done without the 5:58 minutes long closing track "Proga-Europa", which opens with 5 minutes of silence before closing with 1 minute of music, but other than that track, "The Garden of Unearthly Delights" features many powerful, heavy, and intriguing doom/stoner metal tracks. "North Berwick Witch Trials" is a personal favorite (damn that is a great track), but tracks like "Upon Azrael's Wings" and "Corpsecycle" are also among the highlights.

"The Garden of Unearthly Delights" features a heavy, powerful, and organic sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. Cathedral are as always a well playing act, pumping out brick heavy riffs and rhythms, but also more querky, psychedelic, and even progressive moments. Lee Dorrian´s voice and vocal style is a bit of an aquired taste, but to my ears his performance on "The Garden of Unearthly Delights" is among his finest moments. While there is a silly psychedelic tinged vocal part here and there, he predominantly sounds delightfully gruff and even a little angry too, which suits the dark and heavy parts of the material perfectly. The album features some female clean vocals too, courtesy of Lo Polidoro, and the female vocals compliment Dorrian´s vocals well.

To my ears Cathedral´s discography is a bit uneven in quality. There are both some incredibly great albums but also quite a few more standard quality releases. "The Garden of Unearthly Delights" definitely belongs in the former catagory, and sits well along side "classic" Cathedral albums like "Forest of Equilibrium (1991)" and "The Ethereal Mirror (1993)". It´s raw and heavy, but also both melodic and psychedelic/progressive and it is through and through an intriguing release. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

ELECTRIC WIZARD Come My Fanatics...

Album · 1997 · Stoner Metal
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SilentScream213
Boring, repetitive, boring, heavy, boring, fuzzy, boring, noisy, and boring. Insulting how this is considered a great release in Doom Metal when it is not Doom Metal at all. Droning, Stoner “riffs” caked in enough fuzz that you’re tricked into thinking this is some kind of atmospheric soundscape. Played slow with insane lethargy, not for the sake of emphasizing mood or feeling, but because the band members were probably too burnt to be bothered to play anything else.

I do usually like to see the value in something even if it isn’t for me, but the mass praise this thing gets means I don’t need to cut it any breaks. It doesn’t do anything except layer on guitar fuzz, and I don’t understand what the appeal to that is supposed to be. Rather, I can see how inebriated people are fooled into liking this, but for the album to be so widely beloved and acclaimed? What is going on? How is this appealing to so many people? Albums like this truly make me feel like I’ve lost touch with the world.

TELEKINETIC YETI Primordial

Album · 2022 · Stoner Metal
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UMUR
"Primordial" is the second full-length studio album by US stoner/doom metal act Telekinetic Yeti. The album was released through Tee Pee Records in July 2022. It´s the successor to "Abominable" from March 2017 and there´s been one lineup change since the predecessor as drummer Anthony Dreyer was fired in 2019 and guitarist/vocalist Alex Baumann has instead hired Rockwel Heim to fill his place. So the duo format is continued on "Primordial" which again features no bass. Just drums, guitars (downtuned 7-strong guitar), and vocals. The firing of Dreyer was quite dramatic as Dreyer initially refused to stop using the Telekinetic Yeti name, and therefore two versions of the band existed until Dreyer opted to rename his version of the band Twin Wizard.

Stylistically the material on "Primordial" continues the heavy and psychadelic tinged stoner metal of the debut album. Despite no featuring any bass "Primordial" is a very heavy release featuring driving organic beats, and ultra heavy stoner metal riffs, and a varity of psychadelic guitar effects. The vocals are sparse, and when they occur they are relatively low in the mix distorted shouting. I´m slightly reminded of Electric Wizard when the vocals appear.

"Primordial" features a heavy and organic sounding production, where the guitar is front, left, right, and center and the drums sometimes feel like they are an afterthought. They are simply buried in the fuzzy heavy guitar riffs. "Primordial" is a relatively well composed release, although the tracks aren´t the most memorable and almost all tracks feature the same basic elements (and some are a bit repetitive in their psychadelic haze). There´s something incredibly authentic and organic about the way the band play and it´s their greatest strength, but they could reach the sky with some more memorable songwriting and stronger vocals. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

CATHEDRAL The VIIth Coming

Album · 2002 · Stoner Metal
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UMUR
"The VIIth Coming" is the 7th full-length studio album by UK doom metal act Cathedral. The album was released through Spitfire Records/Dream Catcher Records in October 2002. It´s the successor to "Endtyme" from 2001. An album which marked a change in sound from the last couple of album´s stoner doom metal style, towards a darker, slower, and heavier doom metal sound.

While "The VIIth Coming" isn´t quite as dark and heavy as "Endtyme (2001)", it´s still a very heavy doom metal release, and although Cathedral occasionally move into stoner doom territory and "lighter" moods, the most silly psychadelic shenanigans fortunately seem to have been left behind in the 90s, although the shenanigans had their time and place too, but there is a limit to how many uhs and ahs and other odd psychadelic outbursts one can take. On "The VIIth Coming" the atmosphere shifts between dark and heavy, and slightly lighter but still heavy, and it´s good for the variation of the album, that not all tracks are similar in sound. A track like "Aphrodite's Winter" for example stands out as more melodic and atmospheric.

The quality and memorability of the material are generally relatively high, although "The VIIth Coming" isn´t the most standout release in Cathedral´s discography. The album is well produced and the sound succesfully brings out the organic qualities of the band´s music and performances. Cathedral were always a very organic playing act, and a more sterile polished production would not have suited the material on "The VIIth Coming". The musicianship is generally strong, although lead vocalist Lee Dorrian still hasn´t learned to hit the notes clean. His personality and presence shine through his performance here though, and there is therefore still something oddly charming about his vocal performance. It´s not pretty, but at least it´s distinct sounding and unique. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

HIGH ON FIRE Electric Messiah

Album · 2018 · Stoner Metal
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UMUR
"Electric Messiah" is the 8th full-length studio album by US heavy metal act High on Fire. The album was released through eOne Music in October 2018. It´s the successor to "Luminiferous" from 2015 and features the same trio lineup who recorded the predecessor. Kurt Ballou (Converge) was once again involved in the recording process (like he was on the last couple of albums).

And consistent is probably also the first word which comes to mind while listening to "Electric Messiah", which features a similar heavy metal/stoner metal sound to the sound found on the last couple of releases. The sound production is also relatively similar sounding, and it seems High on Fire have locked into a groove these days, and there isn´t much development of sound or style anymore. This is more or less how they´ve sounded since "Death Is This Communion" from 2007. To my ears the choice of Ballou on this album and the two preceding it, has meant that High on Fire´s music has not shone like it could have (and did on "Death Is This Communion (2007)" and on "Snakes for the Divine (2009)"). He is a skilled producer, but his production style just doesn´t suit High on Fire´s music that well. Why for example place Matt Pike´s vocals so low in the mix or drench them in effects, when you´re dealing with such a raw and powerful vocalist, who can easily hold his own. Put him up front so we can marvel in his caustic aggression and commanding delivery...oh well that was not to be.

The rather flat an undymanic sound production can´t completely hide that there are some quality material featured on "Electric Messiah" and as usual we´re treated to a combination of heavy mid-paced tracks with a stoner metal edge and faster more aggressive tracks. Think of a mix of Black Sabbath, Motörhead, and early Slayer, and you´re not too far off. A few more memorable riffs and hook laden vocal phrases would have been nice, and it becomes even more obvious how much more great the music could have been with a little more melody, when you hear Pike sing just slightly more melodic on a track like album closer "Drowning Dog", and as a result that track becomes an album highlight.

I know I sound a little negative, and probably also a little more negative than intended, but I generally hold High on Fire and especially Pike in high regard, and high expectations warrants high quality delivery, and "Electric Messiah" to me is only a good quality album. It doesn´t reach the sky like I expect when I listen to a High on Fire album. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is still deserved, but I expect the band to make some changes on the next release before rigor mortis begins to set in (yeah that´s probably a bit too dramatic...let´s just use the word stagnation).

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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