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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

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

KYUSS Welcome To Sky Valley Album Cover Welcome To Sky Valley
4.39 | 41 ratings
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ELECTRIC WIZARD Come My Fanatics... Album Cover Come My Fanatics...
4.42 | 18 ratings
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CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Deliverance Album Cover Deliverance
4.35 | 15 ratings
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CATHEDRAL The Garden of Unearthly Delights Album Cover The Garden of Unearthly Delights
4.30 | 24 ratings
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CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Wiseblood Album Cover Wiseblood
4.34 | 14 ratings
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ELECTRIC WIZARD Dopethrone Album Cover Dopethrone
4.24 | 35 ratings
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SLEEP Dopesmoker Album Cover Dopesmoker
4.22 | 26 ratings
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YOB The Illusion of Motion Album Cover The Illusion of Motion
4.33 | 9 ratings
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SHRINEBUILDER Shrinebuilder Album Cover Shrinebuilder
4.39 | 6 ratings
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DOWN Down III: Over the Under Album Cover Down III: Over the Under
4.22 | 10 ratings
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DOWN Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow... Album Cover Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow...
4.21 | 10 ratings
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THE SWORD Gods of the Earth Album Cover Gods of the Earth
4.18 | 13 ratings
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stoner metal Music Reviews

TORCHE Meanderthal

Album · 2008 · Stoner Metal
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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.


Album · 1994 · Stoner Metal
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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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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...

BLACK WIZARD Livin' Oblivion

Album · 2018 · Stoner Metal
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I grew up with a view from my living room window overlooking the Fraser River and the City of New Westminster on the other side. It sure was a surprise years later to learn that Devin Townsend, who is a year younger than me, was born in and grew up in New West. I looked out at his home town nearly every morning for many years. New Westminster was where I did a year of collage (the collage appeared in an episode of 21 Jump Street with Johnny Depp running down the concourse steps), where I sometimes went to buy old magazines or snoop for photography books in the library, and where John Ritter went coasting down 6th Avenue on a bicycle at the end of the TV movie version of Stephen King's "It".

Now the name New Westminster crops up again as it is where Black Wizard are from. Yay, New West! I remember when they installed speakers to play classical music outside the train station in an effort to keep the skids and rockers from hanging out below the Sky Train where they allegedly traded drugs. New West became a bit of a tough town in the 80's, and if I recall correctly, the Hell's Angels rented a house there after the police chased them out of my home town in the 70's.

But on to Black Wizard! The band is a bit tough to pigeonhole. Basically, they are of the stoner metal variety, perhaps more from selected tracks of the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage era of Black Sabbath. The vocals sound a bit like Ozzy in Symptom of the Universe only increased in power by 5 and bolstered with a volatile concoction of toxic gases that, when released, sound like that grumpy dude at the end of the street flipping his lid over having to tell the neighbourhood kids one too many times to stay the fuck out of his fruit trees!

The band does a pretty good job of playing somewhere along the lines of stoner metal with doom riffs on a track or two and a couple of songs charging along not quite like thrash metal but good and derailingly fast like some Anvil songs.

The album shows an appreciable diversity in the tracks, enough so that it's possible to recognize most of them after a few listens, but still keep to the main theme of the music. It's all pummel and thump throughout most of the album.

Listening to it tonight with my reviewer's cap on, there were certain tracks to stand out like the title track, "Portraits" for it's less-than-super-fast thrash feel, "Heavy Love" and the closer "Eternal Illusion" which has a great Sabbath-esque riff to it.

I like this album enough that I am interested in checking out their previous release, "New Waste" (a play on New West, I wonder?). Pretty darn good, solid hitting, heavy album.

stoner metal movie reviews


Movie · 2001 · Stoner Metal
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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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