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
4.42 | 39 ratings
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4.34 | 14 ratings
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stoner metal Music Reviews

SLO BURN Amusing the Amazing

EP · 1997 · Stoner Metal
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siLLy puPPy
California’s Mojave desert was the epicenter for all things stoner rock in the 90s with bands like Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age and ZUN as well as the beginning of the collaborative project called The Desert Sessions which started in Joshua Tree, CA in 1997 however for all the bands that came from the Palm Desert and Palm Springs region, they had seemed to rotate around members that were in Kyuss.

SLO BURN is yet another of this long list of post-Kyuss projects, this one being former lead singer John Garcia along with Kyuss producer Chris Goss. SLO BURN wasn’t exactly prolific. Technically this band that included Garcia on vocals, Chris Hale on guitar, Damon Garrison on bass and Brady Houghton on drums only released this sole EP titled AMUSING THE AMAZING. The original EP which emerged in 1996 shortly after the breakup of Kyuss only featured four tracks that just missed the 16 minute mark.

Later unofficial releases would be released as the self-titled SLO BURN would feature five more tracks lifted from the earlier five track demo and released together as complete works sort of unit however only the four original tracks on this EP are of professional quality however “Cactus Jumper” was re-recorded and ended up on Garcia’s 2014 solo album. Although the band had the good fortune to find themselves on the 1997 Ozzfest tour, SLO BURN actually burned out quite quickly and never released anything other than this EP.

As can be expected, SLO BURN sounded a lot like the later Kyuss releases that preceded AMUSING THE AMAZING. John Garcia’s vocals are quite distinct and are the most obvious connection however Chris Hale’s guitar work is reminiscent of many of the stoner rock bands of the 90s as well as the production of Chris Goss however Kyuss’ music was much more densely packed with a glitzier production value and SLO BURN opted to craft a raw and more direct form of stoner rock that relied on simple melodies with a bluesy alternative rock undertone.

Overall this is a decent slice of dessert stoner rock / metal which fits right in as the next step in the Kyuss universe however SLO BURN isn’t as captivating as classic albums from Kyuss. This is definitely stripped down with the emphasis on the rawness as opposed to the sophisticated layering effects that add more psychedelic weirdness. It’s apparent that SLO BURN truly could’ve been the next step for Garcia but he moved on and joined another short-lived band Unida. The four tracks on the original EP are all pretty good but not of Kyuss quality whereas the remaining demo bonus tracks on the unofficial releases are decent but not really overly exciting. SLO BURN was a brief layover for Garcia and will surely appeal to diehard Kyuss fans.

ORANGE GOBLIN Rough & Ready, Live & Loud

Live album · 2020 · Stoner Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
A lot of bands seem to be delaying their new albums due to the whole COVID19 crisis that has been going on in 2020 at time of writing. Luckily other bands are filling the gap with B-Sides collections, new singles, and in the case of cult British Stoner Metal band Orange Goblin, fantastic live albums.

Rough And Ready Live And Loud is the second live album from ‘Goblin and comes hot on the heals of the touring for 2018’s superb The Wolf Bites Back album.

Now, I must confess, I am a relatively new Orange Goblin fan. I saw them live supporting Down in about 2012 at my first concert since I had moved to a new city and was in a weird phase of not really enjoying anything and so although I thought they were decent, I wasn’t in the mood to explore more. However, luckily I caught them live again a year or two ago supporting C.O.C and was blown clean away. Singer Ben Ward is such a charismatic dynamo of a singer, who revs the crowd up like nobody’s business, with such a fun attitude that I was instantly converted, and have been using all the Birthdays and Christmases ever since to go back through their back catalogue and get all their records.

Have you heard the phrase ‘’it does what it says on the tin’’ ?. Well, lets just say that Rough & Ready, Live & Loud really is an appros pos title. The production and recording style of this album is fuzzy, dirty and absolutely perfect for Stoner Rock/Metal fans. The bass tone is to die for. It isn’t too smoothed out or polished, but it isn’t too tiny, tinny and kvlt to be listenable. It feels live and sweaty, like you’re really there.

The setlist focuses a lot on the band’s three newest albums. There’s bouncy catchy moments like ‘Sons of Salem’ and ‘The Filthy And The Few,’ there’s Motorhead-leaning fast tracks like ‘The Devil’s Whip’ and ‘Renegade’ and there’s some slower stuff like ‘Mystical Knives.’

That’s not to say that it’s all new material. There’s some material from most of their albums. ‘Some You Win, Some You Lose’ from Thieving From The House Of God. Some older tracks like ‘Made Of Rats’ from Coup De Grace, ‘Shine’ and the Title Track from Time Traveling Blues and ‘Sauruman’s Wish’ from the debut album Frequencies From Planet Ten. Basically; the only albums not represented are The Big Black and Healing Through Fire.

The album artwork is really clever too, featuring images from many of the band’s previous records combined together in one image that looks like it was supposed to be that way anyway. Its fitting with the album’s subtitle, ‘25 Years Of British Rock & Heavy Metal.’

Since it is in essence a 25 year retrospective that covers most of their records in some form or other, this album would be a fine introduction for any new fans, and if you are an existing fan, all the new material gives you something different from their last live record.

I highly recommend this album. The performances on here are absolutely electric, the drums slam, the guitars crunch, the slower moments are nice and trippy, the guitar leads are blazing and when the tempo speeds up the aforementioned frontman bubbles with excitement. It’s a very uplifting record that oozes with fun. You can almost feel the sticky venue floor beneath your feet. They released a music video for this album’s version of ‘The Devil’s Whip’ which I’d recommend you try out if you want to see if this live album, or even if this band, are your cup of tea.

[Side note: If you haven’t heard the band before; but like bands like Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Monster Magnet, Nebula, Sheavy or Sleep, or indeed bands like the aforementioned Down and C.O.C, but also love Motorhead or like it when Stoner music goes fast (like High On Fire when they step on the gas pedal) then I can pretty much guarantee you’ll enjoy Orange Goblin].

ELECTRIC WIZARD Witchcult Today

Album · 2007 · Stoner Metal
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UMUR
"Witchcult Today" is the 6th full-length studio album by UK stoner/doom metal act Electric Wizard. The album was released through Rise Above Records in November 2007. The lineup who recorded "We Live (2004)" is intact. Jus Oborn (guitars, vocals), Liz Buckingham (guitars), Rob Al-Issa (bass), and Shaun Rutter (drums).

Stylistically there are few surprises if you´re already familiar with Electric Wizard, as "Witchcult Today" pretty much continues the dark occult and psychadelic tinged doom/stoner metal style of the last couple of releases. "Witchcult Today" features a murky and raw sounding production, which sets it slightly apart from the releases which bookend it, but musically it´s in a similar vein. Electric Wizard have always made it a mission to sound as raw and organic as possible, but with this sound production that approach reaches new heights.

The material on the 8 track, 58:52 minutes long album are well written and quite memorable given a few spins. The music is heavy, groove laden, and the atmosphere is dark with a touch of restrained aggression. The lyrics are occult themed, which song titles like "Satanic Rites of Drugula" and "Black Magic Rituals & Perversions" are a testament to. The almost ritualistic repetition of riffs and rhythms, can at times drag on for too long, but Electric Wizard are generally pretty good at restraining themselves and keeping their psychadelic jam sessions to an acceptable length.

The musicianship is as always strong. Electric Wizard are a tight playing unit, and Oborn´s desperate shouting vocals suit the music perfectly. Upon conclusion "Witchcult Today" is yet another high quality release by Electric Wizard. The sound production may be an issue to some listeners, but if a murky organic production ever suited anyone, it´s Electric Wizard. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

CLUTCH Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes, and Undeniable Truths

Album · 1993 · Stoner Metal
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Unitron
Before becoming the fun loving blues metal/hard rock poets that Clutch has made themselves, they were a lot sludgier and aggressive, but the band's lengthy titled debut of Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes, and Undeniable Truths is still 100% Clutch.

This is some of the most intense and exuberant sludgy sounding metal I've ever heard, with songs like A Shogun Named Marcus and Rats screaming with aggression, speed, and personality. Binge and Purge takes a more doom quality, before having an explosive climax with lines of "Come on motherfucker, come on motherfucker, let's throw down" which may be the most angry the band's ever been. (Though the delivery of "RRRAAAAATTTS" in the aforementioned Rats is pretty balls-out crushing too) Some songs take a more post-hardcore sounding sludge sound, like Earthworm and Heirloom 13, these sound like nothing else the band's done, but fit in well and it's cool hearing Clutch master such a different style.

Clutch are already masters of personality and songwriting, and Neil Fallon already a lyrical wordsmith. He's said in interviews that he writes lyrics for a song and a melody, rather for them to really have to mean anything beyond being a part of the song. Underworld does similar in the techno world, and I love both bands doing it. It brings some of the best and most creative lyrics and songwriting out there. A rampaging opener like A Shogun Named Marcus is made both relentlessly aggressive with the music and a lot of fun with an infectious chorus. The grungy groove of Walking in the Great Shining Path of Monster Trucks is made even better with fantastic lines like "Well I crashed a Cadillac through the Gates Of Hell and returned with a Fistful Of Dollars" and "Jesse James couldn't even handle it, started looking at me like I was Sanskrit". They're a huge inspiration to me as a lyricist.

Despite being different musically and overall more intense, Clutch's debut is still completely a Clutch album. It would just take a bit of a switch in sound to arrive to where they are now, because the band's personality and pure songwriting talent is all here.

CATHEDRAL The Ethereal Mirror

Album · 1993 · Stoner Metal
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Unitron
This album completely changed my definitions of what doom metal could be (to the point of not even knowing if this is doom at all, but who cares). Doom metal is usually all about sounding dark, lethargic, and/or depressed right? Cathedral said 'fuck it', here's a bit of ominousness, but lets have some fuckin' fun.

Never have I heard another band come from the genre with this much exuberance, energy, personality, infectious hooks up the ass, grooves, and a special goofy charm that only Lee Dorian can pull off. Listening to the singles of Ride and Midnight Mountain make me wonder how the hell these guys didn't make it big. The riffs are massive, and the songwriting is honed to create the perfect metallic bop. Even songs like Enter the Worms, Fountain of Innocence, and Grim Luxuria balance out lumbering doom with huge grooves that bring a party.

Frontman Lee Dorian really commands the stage, he sounds like a party animal who doesn't know when to quit. His vocal style is so unique, with this weird and charismatic tone that brings light to every song no matter how dark the guitar riffs sound. Even when he's not 'OH YEEEAAAAH' and 'GROOVIN' ALL NIGHT', he's singing the chorus of Grim Luxuria the same way. It's absolutely fantastic.

Rather than filing this with Candlemass and Saint Vitus, this is probably better thrown together with grunge and groove metal (At least that's what I typically pair it with).

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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