The Top 20 best stoner metal records

Kyuss and Monster Magnet
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images/rexmedlin)

Black Sabbath pinned their colours to the mast in 1971 when they released Sweet Leaf, an ode to their favourite green (hint: it wasn't broccoli). In the five decades since, stoner has burgeoned into its own distinct subgenre, heading out to the desert, the mountains of Appalachia and even Scandinavia in the quest for the ultimate toke-friendly cosmic freakout. 

With stoners around the world celebrating (albeit very slowly) 4/20, basically stoner Christmas, we picked out the best stoner records for you to enjoy even if you've never had a jazz fag in your life.

Metal Hammer line break

20. Yob - The Great Cessation (2009)

The most creatively ambitious doom band around, Yob make records that hypnotise and eviscerate in equal measure. The Great Cessation is huge on every level, from Mike Scheidt’s hulking, somnambulant riffs to the drawn-out, tonal swell that underpins the sprawling likes of Burning The Altar and the extraordinary, 20-minute title track.

19. Om - Advaitic Songs (2012)

Led by Sleep bassist/frontman Al Cisneros, Om specialise in mellifluous, psychedelic mantras, propelled along by gloopy bass lines and, presumably, a very large THC intake. Released a decade ago, the duo’s most recent album is utterly hypnotic and tangibly designed to help you reach an altered state of consciousness. If you know what we mean.

18. Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions

The kings of drone notoriously played a show at the Underworld in London while lying on their backs behind their amplifiers. It doesn’t get much more stoner-centric than that. Sunn’s sixth album remains their most colourful and imaginative work: a wild drone odyssey, rich with esoteric instrumentation and joyously out of its mind.

17. Earthless – Sonic Prayer (2005)

One of the benefits of playing music to stoned people is that you can make your songs as long as you like. In fairness, that probably wasn’t the ethos behind Earthless’ debut album, but when it comes to gargantuan, sprawling jams that sound like they have been beamed here from another, much groovier realm, no one does it better.

16. Rezn – Chaotic Divine (2020)

Progressive, unpredictable and plugged firmly into the psychedelic mainframe, Rezn are keeping the stoner dream alive with more class than most right now. Chaotic Divine is a dazzling journey through wonky, languorous riffing, psilocybin-sodden atmospherics and post-everything detours, with ingenious bursts of sax and synth thrown in for good measure. Far out.

15. The Mystick Krewe Of Clearlight – The Mystick Krewe Of Clearlight (2000)

A short-lived project featuring members of Crowbar, Eyehategod and Down, The Mystick Krewe Of Clearlight only made one full-length album, but it’s one hell of a trip. Infused with the loose-limbed grooves of New Orleans funk and soul, but firmly rooted in muscular, overdriven roots rock, every bit of it demands that you kick back and chill the fuck out.

14. The Obsessed – Lunar Womb (1991)

As frontman with Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan and several other esteemed doom and desert rock bands, Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich has contributed more to the scene than just about anyone else. The Obsessed’s second album is one of his true masterpieces, and a seminal influence on the entire stoner rock movement. Wino rules, whether you’re stoned or not.

13. Lowrider - Ode To Io (2000)

If any band can casually encapsulate their entire subgenre, Sweden’s Lowrider are probably it. Ode To Io is an album full of great songs and bong-friendly fuzz, but in many ways it’s also the definitive stoner rock album. Quite how a bunch of young musicians from Karlstad managed to nail the sound better than any American band is anyone’s guess. But they did.

12. Melvins - Bullhead (1991)

A restless and subversive force at all times, Melvins have had a huge effect on several distinct genres over the years. Bullhead is far too weird and twisted to be a straightforward stoner endeavour, but thanks to some supremely heavy sludge riffs, this became an obligatory listen for space cadets in the ‘90s.

11. Clutch - Clutch (1995)

Clutch have never been a stoner rock band in the strictest sense, but their self-titled second album offered a peculiarly Clutch-ian take on the same, rudimentary musical ideas. The irresistible grooves of Big News and 7 Jam were as stoner-friendly as it gets, and perennial live favourite Spacegrass doesn’t really require an explanation. Jesus, as they say, on the dashboard.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.