10 Essential Modern Stoner Metal Albums


Much has changed—and even more has stayed the same—about stoner metal since the genre’s birth with the likes of Kyuss, Sleep and Electric Wizard. It has exploded in popularity, establishing scenes around the world, and spawned a new generation of artists. With Dopesmoker turning 20 in just two days and Dopethrone approaching its 23rd birthday, it felt like high time to revisit the modern (released in 2010 or after) stoner metal classics. With choices encompassing the full spectrum of sounds, there’s something for everyone here.


Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)

Oregon trio Yob may have transcended stoner doom on their last album, 2018’s Our Raw Heart, but they perfected the style on the preceding album. Comprised of four massive tracks, Clearing the Path is driven by frontman Mike Scheidt’s heavy riffs and yell-sung vocals and feels like a summation of what Yob created before that. In terms of scope, Yob are far ahead of their peers and Clearing the Path to Ascend is an example of why. 


Hochelaga (2015)

Named for Dopethrone’s hometown in Montreal, Hochelaga can be accurately summed up by the title of track four, “Scum Fuck Blues.” The trio lock into a gritty, mid-paced groove throughout the album, telling tales of witches, weed and riffs. Singer Vincent Houde has an instantly-recognizable growl, which adds another level of grime to the crusty doom outfit.


Dead Roots Stirring (2011)

Like the aforementioned Yob, Elder began with stoner doom roots before reaching beyond the genre for larger ambitions. Their sophomore album, Dead Roots Stirring, hinted at the band they would become over the next 12 years while also existing as a phenomenal album in its own right. Opener “Gemini” might be Elder’s most known song and for good reason: the track takes a rumbling stoner base and fills it out with progressive leads and melodies. They keep that energy up throughout the album, wrapping it all up with an extended jam at the end of “Knot.”


The Sciences (2018)

If this were a bingo card and not a listicle, The Sciences would be a free space. How could you have a list about stoner metal albums and not include the kings? It had been 15 long years since Sleep released their last album, the also-essential Dopesmoker, when they surprise dropped The Sciences. “Marijuanaut’s Theme” quickly became an essential Sleep track and songs like “Giza Butler,” “Sonic Titan” and “The Botanist” proved that the duo of Matt Pike and Al Cisneros hadn’t lost its green thumb during Sleep’s hiatus from recorded music.


Satan-Worshiping Doom (2010)

The four song titles on Bongripper’s fifth album make the sentence “Hail Satan, Worship Doom,” which is the closest you’ll get to a theme from the Chicago quartet. Bongripper often take a “less is more” approach to the whole thing—they’re not afraid to let a riff play out and they aren’t in any rush to get to their next idea, which works particularly well on the tense album closer, “Doom.” The black metal riffage on “Satan” shows that Bongripper know when to change it up, which makes their preference for slow-ass doom all the sweeter.

High on Fire

Snakes for the Divine (2010)

Released in February 2010, High on Fire’s Snakes for the Divine ushered in the new decade with the thunderous gusto that only High on Fire could. Tearing through a collection of songs that sound like Sleep by way of Motörhead, High on Fire cemented themselves as a band that made classic albums in multiple decades. Stoner metal doesn’t always mean slow metal and Snakes for the Divine is one of the best examples of that style.


Purple (2015)

The fact that Baroness made an album at all following the bus crash that nearly ended the band is incredible, but the fact that it came out as well as it did is even more incredible. Despite the dark circumstances that surrounded the making of Purple, the songs brim with hope and the promise of new beginnings as much as they’re reflections on death and accidents. 

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 

Infest the Rat’s Nest (2019)

Australian psych rockers King Gizzard have made over 20 albums, which is truly an incredible feat when considering that the first was released in 2012. Infest the Rat’s Nest is like a combination of heady psychedelia, High on Fire stoner metal and balls-to-the-wall thrashy punkisms. If you don’t know where to start in the Gizz’s massive discography, Infest the Rat’s Nest is a good place to start.


The Hunter (2011)

Mastodon are really good at sounding like Mastodon no matter the specifics of their music, which makes The Hunter work well despite the fact that Mastodon throw a ton of ideas into the blender. “Curl of the Burl” and “Dry Bone Valley” are pretty typical stoner-type jams, “Creature Lives” is slow and keyboard-heavy, “The Sparrow” busts out the clean guitar playing and “Black Tongue” could be a Gojira song performed by Mastodon. The Hunter gets overlooked because it lacks the high concepts of previous releases, but that’s dead wrong.


Advaitic Songs (2012)

It has now been more than a decade since Om last released an album, 2012’s Advaitic Songs. By incorporating new instruments into their sparse sound, the duo of Sleep’s Al Cisneros and multi-instrumentalist Emil Amos found new ways to convey religious experiences within the confines of heavy stoner doom. The heaviness is more spaced out on Advaitic Songs, leaving it as a singular-sounding album in its genre.

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