The ten best stoner metal bands
No other musical genre (aside from reggae) has a stronger connection to the cannabis lifestyle than heavy metal, hence the term 'stoner metal.' But of course, this term describes a subgenre that can encompass different types of metal music and mean different things to different folks; whether you're into that slow burning, hazy sound or a faster heavier more intense variety, there are as many ' stoner' metal bands as there are strains of marijuana. The following artists are best heard in a more mellow state of mind; but be warned, while some of these bands might look stoned in appearance, they all possess similar sound waves and patterns that heavy are enough to shatter your glass bong. So burn a bowl of your best stash, and turn your speakers up loud for the following. Here's our list of the Top 10 Stoner Metal Bands.
This disturbing doom metal group formed in the Chicago area around a decade ago, and is known for a dark, hateful, harsh mix of misery and clouds of pot smoke, presented in a zoned out instrumental fashion with no vocals. This is an ambient and experimental version of metal that many stoners find appealing. The songs are insanely long, and sometimes cloudy and repetitive but head jerking in a way that wakes your mind up like a Sativa but lulls your body into a violent numbness like an Indica. Stoners love the band's sick and twisted sense of humor, with albums such as The Great Barrier Reefer (2005), and Hippie Killer (2007), which featured the fan favorite, 'Reefer Southerland.' Also in 2007, the band released Heroin,which packs the punch of doom metal but moves more towards an ambient direction. The actual presentation, that came with the CD included a tiny 'users' kit, with fake spoon lighter and rubber band.
Imagine a band that would be the musical equivalent of overdosing on potent pot edibles. This is Weedeater, formed in the mid '90s, in North Carloina, and now referred to as one of stoner metal's loudest, and most intense bands, both live and on record. The heavy guitar tones that echo the thunderous bass and smashing drums all roll up tightly to form a sludgy Southern Rock tinged doom metal that is thick with walls of sound and layered with fuzzy riffs. Weedeater features vocalist and bassist Dave 'Dixie' Collins formerly of Bongzilla. (See below).
See also: The 10 Most Satanic Metal Bands
A hybrid psychedelic rock/doom metal band out of Madison, Wisconsin, Bongzilla is known for a very heavy groove, off the wall textures and sticky potent doom inspired sounds that leave listeners with busted ear drums and bloodshot eyes. Always sticking true to what they love: mainly smoking weed, the band has been vocal about legalization and consumption of cannabis, with such albums as Stash (1999), Amerijuanican (2005) and Gateway (2007). A classic rock and very Sabbath influenced sound make the perfect band to listen to as you take bong rips, but try to do so without head banging.
Unlike most other bands on this list, Cannabis Corpses sticks out in terms of its mainly because it is a brutal death metal band. Just take one look at the band's artwork, or read the song titles and lyrics. The band is part parody, part tribute to smoking weed, and the death metal band Cannibal Corpse. This is a murkry, head trip of a merger between thetechnical, breakneck speed of Florida style death metal, and a passion for all things ganja. But the twist is Cannibal Corpse songs, replaced with marijuana laced tales of buds coming to life and killing people, stoners being smoked alive, lungs being filled with THC, and more stoned macabre subjects. Cannabis Corpse features members of Municipal Waste, and is heavily influenced by and constantly under the influence of THC. Fan favorites include extreme stoner takes on Cannibal Corpse songs such as 'Skull Full of Bong Hits,"(Skull Full of Maggots) "Mummified in Bong Water,"(Mummified in Barbed Wire) "Blunted at Birth,"(Butchered at Birth) and "Addicted to Hash in a Tin,"(Addicted to Vaginal Skin) among others. Brutal yet highlarious.
See also: The Top 10 Metal Drummers
This epic, medieval themed doom metal band from Texas, has a smoky, mysterious sound, which fits in perfect with tales of castles, curses, warriors, Norse mythology and ancient literature. Sleep, Sabbath and The Melvins influence the heavily medicated sound of the band. It is these murky, distorted riffs and monstrous percussion and bass that allows The Sword to create music, in which head banging becomes involuntary to listeners. The band has been critically acclaimed by Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine and has seen a successful boost in its career since forming in 2003; having toured with everyone from Kyuss and Clutch, to Lamb of God and Metallica. For the band's best work, check out the 2006 debut Age of Winters, a haunting, and savagely performed record with cgreat, catchy songs. This is a record that is both euphoric and chilling with the stand out tracks including 'Winter Wolves,' 'Barael's Blade,' 'Freya' and 'Iron Swan.'
5. Orange Goblin
Imagine the stoner rock sounds of Fu Manchu, and the classic catchy rhythms and riffs of Motorhead, Sabbath, and Thin Lizzy. Now mix the tooth-gnashing punk fury of the Misfits, and roll into a musical spliff. This is Orange Goblin, a UK based stoner metal/rock n roll band, that began in 1995 as a more traditional, slower doom metal style, but evolved to also include a more punk and rock influence with melodic hard rock grinding guitar work. Definitely one of the best bands to listen to while burning your favorite herbs, perfect for fans of other stoner rockers such as Nebula, Clutch and Fireball Ministry. Check out the 2002 album Coup De Grace, for heavy hitting songs such raging, rocking songs as 'Rage of Angels,' 'Getting High on the Bad Times,' and 'Whisky Leech,' as well as a cover of the Misfits song, 'We Bite.'
See also: 10 Greatest OC Metal Bands of All Time
Another band from England formed in 1993, Electric Wizard have created a brand of stoner metal that is dark, caustic, abrasive and heavy, equally concentrated with vibes of drugs, and Satanic themes, the band's love of weed and the occult is prevalent in what sounds like a very primitive and slowed down thrash metal that is an ode to the skunk weed and classic horror films. The seminal 2000 album Dopethrone is a mix of dark down tuned and throbbing psychedelic hard rock, laced with a potent form of hashish and doom metal. Later albums such as Witchcult Today (2007) and Black Masses (2010) focus more on horror movies, satanic rituals and the nature of evil. Electric Wizard will definitely appeal to fans of of Sleep, and bands such as Nuerosis and Eyehategod.
This band formed in LA in 1979 and were at the forefront of the 'doom' metal sound with a sludgy, yet rock based sound that was equal parts Black Flag and Black Sabbath and heavily influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Saint Vitus is a pioneer of early stoner rock/doom metal, and took the name of the band from a Black Sabbath song. From its origins coming up within the LA punk/metal scene, the band was a favorite among heshers, stoners, longhairs and punks, but never fit into any one category early on. Saint Vitus even toured with Black Flag in the early '80s and was signed to STT Records, the label owned by Greg Ginn. The self-titled debut album from 1984, is considered by many to be a doom metal classic that blends up punk, stoner metal doom and classic metal into a unique sound of their own.
Often looked up to as one of the quintessential stoner metal band, Sleep hails from Northern California, where some of the dankest buds in the state also originate. Coincidence? We think not. Featuring bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, drummer Jason Roeder and guitarist Matt Pike, from High On Fire. With long, drawn out, cloudy songs full of thick, murky riffs that are catchy and cerebral, Sleep's music is cosmic, deafening, and hypnotic with allusions to a higher consciousness, druids, mysticism and nature. be sure to check out the band's classic trio of albums Holy Mountain(1993), Jerusalem(1999) and Dopesmoker(2003).
Turns out not only did Black Sabbath invent heavy metal over four decades ago, but the band also unknowingly wrote the bible of 'stoner metal.' Every stoner metal band (including the numerous ones omitted from this list) follow the blueprints laid out by Toni Iommi, Geezer Butler drummer Bill Ward, and Vocalist Ozzy Ossbourne, a sonic catharsis of distorted heavy rock music that was demented, trippy and loud as hell.
The classic line up's albums all highlight the best of what stoner metal should sound like, with classic songs such as "Black Sabbath," "Paranoid," and of course the most famous song ever written about Cannabis, "Sweet Leaf." But great tunes that are perfect for sneaking a toke, include "Fairies Wear Boots," "Electric Funeral," "Symptom of the Universe'," "Children of the Grave," "Snowblind," 'Under the Sun,' and countless others are a result of years of the band smoking weed like cigarettes. For stoner metal fans today, the best part about Black Sabbath, is that you can still see the original band(minus drummer Bill Ward) live, and at each show the stench of the top quality weed is always in the air. Without a doubt, one of the best bands to listen to while baked.
• BACKBEAT'S GREATEST HITS •
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.