The Top 20 best stoner metal records

10. Fu Manchu - The Action Is Go (1997)

To many, Fu Manchu are the perfect stoner rock band. Informed by the California sunshine, skate culture and a deceptively diverse array of influences, The Action Is Go is a riotous but weirdly laidback rock’n’roll record, with a grinder, some Rizlas and a big bag of pot in its back pocket. 

9. Nebula - Atomic Ritual (2003)

Formed by ex-members of Fu Manchu at the height of the ‘90s stoner boom, Nebula plunged much deeper into the genre’s psychedelic potential. Atomic Ritual is their masterpiece. A strident exploration of fuzzed-out heaviness with all the cosmic trimmings, it practically rolls the joints for you.

8. Monster Magnet - Spine Of God (1991)

Dave Wyndorf was trying to get heavy rock shitfaced long before the stoner rock tag was coined. Admittedly, Monster Magnet’s debut album suggested that the band were doing much more than smoking the occasional spliff. But amidst all the prevailing acid-fuelled, post-Stooges bedlam on Spine Of God, stoner rock’s fundamental principles were being etched into the side of the cosmic bong. Or something.

7. Acrimony - Tumuli Shroomaroom (1997)

Few bands have devoted themselves quite so enthusiastically to the stoner ethos as Acrimony. The Swansea psychedelic doom crew were much revered in the late ‘90s, and one listen to their second album explains why. A deliriously spaced-out stoner doom monolith, owing as much to Hawkwind as to Sabbath, it’s a cloud of weed fumes in musical form.

6. Bongzilla – Stash (1999)

Plenty of bands wave the stoner flag without actually being habitual tokers, but Bongzilla are manifestly the real, crusty-eyed deal. Every last riff on Stash reeks of the green stuff, and the on-the-nose artwork and song titles (Sacred Smoke, Budgun/T.H.C.) amount to a proud celebration of all things stoned.

5. Down - NOLA (1995)

Mandatory listening for fans of southern rock, suppurating sludge and big, fat Sabbath riffs, Down’s first album was also a partial celebration of the mighty weed. In particular, songs like Hail The Leaf, Stone The Crow and magnificent grand finale Bury Me In Smoke were clearly designed to get stoned heads nodding in soporific slow motion.

4. Electric Wizard - Come My Fanatics (1997)

The UK’s most militantly stoned band of all time, Electric Wizard have never made a record that didn’t give off a strong stench of marijuana. But if you had to pick one (and I do), the Dorset doom-lords’ second album is the one. Disgustingly heavy, woozily disorientating and palpably demonic, it will make you feel stoned, even if you’re not.

3. Black Sabbath - Master Of Reality (1971)

The blueprint for just about every stoner rock record ever, Master Of Reality is Black Sabbath’s most weed-fogged record by far. From the opening Sweet Leaf, an all-time great stoner anthem, to the none-more-classic Children Of The Grave (which has been ripped off by every stoner rock band at least once) and the lysergic meandering of Solitude, the third Sabbath album got a whole generation soundly baked.

2. Kyuss - Blues For The Red Sun (1992)

Fans of heavy music and bong hits were spoiled in the early ‘90s. Kyuss came from nowhere and kick-started stoner rock as a genre with this towering masterpiece. Subtly non-conformist, songs like Thumb, Green Machine and Freedom Run proudly put the weird back into Sabbath’s blueprint and took it for a drugged-out ride through the desert.

1. Sleep – Dopesmoker (2003)

Purveyors of profoundly stoned doom metal since 1990, Sleep are widely acknowledged as kings of the bonged-out riff. You can take your pick from any of the Californian trio’s albums, but Dopesmoker is plainly the THC-soaked motherlode. A single, devastatingly heavy riff-ritual spanning a full hour, Dopesmoker is an undeniable benchmark for the whole doom and stoner rock scene. None more heavy. Or baked.

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.