Start playing guitar How to choose a guitar for beginners?
Alternative History

Top 14 Stoner Rock Albums of All Time

electric wizard Top 14 Stoner Rock Albums of All Time

Stoner rock is to Black Sabbath what Thai kickboxing is to the pugilistic arts, a more violent, direct, and menacing descendant. The music style takes its listeners on a slow, violent journey. It has produced utterly memorable albums.

The very best of these records have permeated well outside of the herb-scented dungeonous clubs in stoner rock made a name for itself.

In fact, some of the very best rock albums of recent decades are the work of long-haired riffsmiths with heavily dilated pupils.

It’s only right that I talk about them. To be clear, we’ve focused on stoner rock albums. Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and Cypress Hill all made records under the effect of weed and are often enjoyed alongside it. But we’re focusing on the stoner sound, not the culture.

Here’s a look at the fourteen (I forget…) best and most influential stoner rock and metal albums, the records on which a million spliffs have been rolled.

Electric Wizard – Dopethrone (2000)

Electric Wizard are the elite commando of stoner rock. They’re not about subtlety. No, they’re a band dedicated to giving their fans the brain-rattling sounds that they crave.

Nowhere did they achieve more than on “Dopethrone.” Here, they not only strategize to out-metal the majority of their opposition, but they outwrite them as well.

Sure, this is recorded with everything in the red and best enjoyed at a similarly dangerous volume level. Yes, this references Black Sabbath and weed at every occasion, playing into the genres most famous tropes.

But the songs are great. “Funeralopolis” is the genre’s “Freebird,” brilliant and inevitable. “Dopethrone” and “Vinum Sabbathi” are other highlights that can be found in the band’s live shows until the present day.

Kyuss- Blues for the Red Sun (1992)

For a while, it looked like MTV was going to fill its Nirvana-shaped hole with a band from a place with similarly challenging weather conditions. That band was Kyuss, and they were from the desert.

Stories about DYI generator-propelled desert shows made Kyuss infamous. Josh Homme’s detuned riffs made the band appeal to stoner fans. And the quality of their songs seemed like the ingredient that could push onto mainstream audiences.

“Blues for the Red Sun” is arguably the group’s finest hour. The band members appear confident, inspired, and totally snotty on songs like “Green Machine” and “Thumb.”

In the end, Kyuss would not quite match the commercial expectations of their corporate benefactors. To their credit, however, they inspired countless stoner bands and served as the launchpad of projects such as Homme’s celebrated Queens of the Stone Age.

Sleep – Dopesmoker (1998)

Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” project is the genre’s “SMiLE,” a record wrapped in mystery and myth, enjoyed best by the style’s true devotees.

The record appeared under the title of “Jerusalem” in 1999. It was Sleep’s third record and was well-received critically. But legends soon began circulating about the band’s original vision.

“Dopesmoker” was to be a long theme record about an exotic caravan of bud prophets. Musically, it was supposed to be built around one doomy riff played over like a low-tuned incantation.

Subsequent releases have set the world to right, and Sleep, largely on the reputation of “Dopesmoker,” has come to be known as one of the most dedicated bands in the entire stoner rock genre.

Monster Magnet – Dopes to Infinity (1995)

By the 1990s, rock fans were confused about the style they would endorse. Still, they were also highly open to suggestions.

Stoner wasn’t the weirdest or most extreme to make a bid for mainstream acceptance. But, it’s one of the ones most fondly remembered for its efforts.

Dave Wyndorf’s Monster Magnet was one of the bands that pushed stoner rock toward MTV, building on the foundation laid out by bands like Kyuss.

“Dopes to Infinity” is a very apt title for a band obsessed with sludgy riffs and psychedelia-tinged melodies. It’s a highly entertaining affair. “Negasonic Teenage Warhead” was the hit single. “King of Mars” and “Look to Your Orb for the Warning” are additional highlights.

Fu Manchu – In Search Of… (1996)

Fu Manchu are just as responsible for the appearance of numerous stoner-flavored groups as Kyuss or Sleep. However, they’d have to wait until “In Search Of…” to receive their deserved attention.

This is not a band so obsessed with songwriting as with equally impressive art of sludgy riff laying. They are dedicated. They wear out their fuzz guitar pedals. And, like the best stoner rock groups, when they catch you in a good groove, they won’t let go.

The Obsessed – The Church Within (1994)

Folk protest singers must know their Bob Dylan songs and stoner metal musicians must have a deep and intimate understanding of Black Sabbath. It’s practically the law!

Scott Wino Weinrich’s love of Tony Iommi riffs qualifies him as a connaiseur. He brought this passion to the forefront in both Saint Vitus and The Obsessed, two of stoner metal’s most influential bands.

“The Church Within” is The Obsessed’s shining hour, a meditation of heavy riffs, evil vocals, and a pure dedication to inhaling deeply.

Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf (2002)

If “Paranoid” and “Iron Man” could become rock radio staples, why couldn’t their followers earn the same respect?

Hit singles weren’t exactly there for the taking, although Monster Magnet proved that stoner metal bands could fake their way onto the pop charts.

In 2022, however, Queens of the Stone Age came equipped with just the right kind of memorable jingles to make them international pop stars.

Is this still a stoner rock record? Those who’ve only heard the singles might not think so. But listeners who want to venture into listening to “Songs for the Deaf” in its entirety will leave you demanding a glass of water and a shower.

“No One Knows” and “Go With The Flow” are two of the best rock singles of the era. “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar But I Feel Like a Millionaire” is the zany, ten-pound truck of an opener. And the vocal contributions of Mark Lanegan and Nick Oliveri are great.

Monster Magnet – Powertrip (1998)

Few people believed in the potential of stoner rock as Dave Wyndorf, or were as welcoming of outsiders.

Monster Magnet had already proved that their pop-tinged doomy sound could permeate the mainstream with their previous records. Still, “Powertrip” was proof that they, too, could be radio and television stars.

“Space Lord” and “Powertrip” were genuine hits. The band toured with the likes of Metallica and even gave the rising tide of industrial rock strong competition. And hype aside, they created one of the genre’s best and most accessible releases. Monster Magnet is one of best and biggest stoner rock bands.

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Blood Lust (2011)

Horror movies and stoner metal go together like lemonade on a hot summer day, of course. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats sure knew it and decided that specialization was the best strategy.

The area in which the band chose to become experts are horror movies inspired by 1960s cults, a la The Manson Family. Not only that, but the music reflects the era just as convincingly. They’re the hippie nightmare transformed into sound.

“Blood Lust” finds a new stoner band that constructs a vintage sound. Sabbath-like riffs and images of gore power the excellent songs but feature some of the sweetest 60esque vocal melodies.

“I’ll Cut You Down” and “Death’s Door” are great songs, and the band showed that stoner rock had more than just sludgy riff going for it.

Down – NOLA (1995)

Down may have been formed out of members of famous metal bands like Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, and Crowbar. They achieved their recognition, however, through word of mouth on account of their demo tapes.

“NOLA” is a mixture of Southern rock and New Orleans metal. Still, there are plenty of hazy, stoner metal moments such as “Bury Me in Smoke” and “Lifer.” The supergroup experiment has been so successful, in fact, that the Phil Anselmo and Pepper Keenan lead group has continued putting out records and touring until the present day.

Clutch – Clutch (1995)

Unlike others on my list, Clutch has occasionally ventured outside the constraints of stoner metal. However, the sound of their debut clearly warrants a mention on my list.

Clutch would make other great albums. Few would be as consistent and as psychedelically tinged as this one.

Their passion for the Gospel of Iommi can be heard on “Rock n’ Roll Outlaw” or “Tight Like That.” But there’s great, zany humor beyond the dark smoke on songs like “Big News I” and “I Have the Body of John Wilkes Booth.” Great record.

Sleep’s Holy Mountain (1992)

The press has always loved Sleep, particularly those writing about heavy metal. It’s easy to understand why.

Few bands were as committed to their style. Like Bob Marley, Sleep treated their marijuana-touched music with the conviction of a preacher spreading words of redemption.

“Holy Mountain” is one of the most song-oriented of their albums. It’s slow, heavy, and primitive. And, for a while, it helped mark Sleep as one of the most exciting groups in heavy metal.

Soundgarden – Badmotorfinger (1991)

You may think that Soundgarden is just too good to be labeled “stoner metal,” but don’t let their individual abilities deceive you.

By the release of their “Badmotorfinger” album, Kim Thayil’s detuned, pentatonic riffs were dominating the band’s songs.

And before flannel-decked grunge was all over MTV, Soundgarden was playing with metal bands. In fact, along with Ministry or Nine Inch Nails, they were a part of a number of heavy bands making a name for themselves internationally.

Chris Cornell may achieve the kind of vocal gymnastics that few bands of this style ever attempted, let alone achieved. But add “Slaves & Bulldozers” or “Rusty Cage” to any stoner rock playlist, and you won’t get any complaints.

Queens of the Stone Age – Queens of the Stone Age (1998)

Yes, Queens of the Stone Age is the one band that used its fame to transcend stoner metal. They’ve even had Elton John guesting on records and are known to boogie down occasionally.

On their debut record, however, traces of Josh Homme’s pioneering stoner metal riffing can be heard loud and clear.

Interestingly though, “Queens of the Stone Age” is, at the same time, funnier, eviler, and more concise than Homme’s previous band.

“Regular John” and “Walkin’ on the Sidewalks” made critics love the new group. “I Was a Teenage Hand Model” and “You Can’t Quit Me Baby” showed fans that their was room for a giggle occasionally.

About author

Eduard Banulescu is a writer, blogger, and musician. As a content writer, Eduard has contributed to numerous websites and publications, including FootballCoin, Play2Earn, BeIN Crypto, Business2Community, NapoliSerieA, Extra Time Talk, Nitrogen Sports, Bavarian FootballWorks, etc. He has written a book about Nirvana, hosts a music podcasts, and writes weekly content about some of the best, new and old, alternative musicians. Eduard also runs and acts as editor-in-chief of the alternative rock music website www.alt77.com. Mr. Banulescu is also a musician, having played and recorded in various bands and as a solo artist.
Related posts
Alternative History

11 Essential Classic Goth Rock Albums: Beyond the Grave

Alternative History

The Greatest Industrial Metal Bands of All-Time

Alternative History

The 10 Best Christmas Rock Songs

Alternative History

The Story & Meaning Behind Radiohead's Paranoid Android

Be part of the Alt77 community

4 Comments

Leave a Reply