The world of heavy metal can be an exercise in absurdity and uninspired imitation played at blistering volume. With the relatively recent (and fading) popularity of "stoner-rock"
and "doom metal," as evidenced by tours including the reunited line-ups of Sleep, Saint Vitus (read our recent interview with Dave Chandler
) and Pentagram, a wave of bands inspired by Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer and their ilk have come through and the mark of Sabbath even among non-metal bands appears here to stay. Following is a list of ten of the best of the modern crop of bands that, as Henry Rollins once mentioned for himself, may have had the first six Black Sabbath albums playing in their collective heads simultaneously until they had to exorcise that demon in song. (Notice The Sword on the list, you can see them at Westword Music Showcase on June 18. Buy your tickets here. -ed.)