This post is part of our Psych 101 program, an in-depth, 14-part series that looks at the impact of psychedelia on modern music. Want to sign up to receive the other installments in your inbox? Go here. Already signed up and enjoying it? Help us get the word out by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or just sending your friends this link. They’ll thank you. We thank you.
The world of metal can often be an intimidating one for those who have never found the courage to wade into its deafening, shriek-laden waters. But of all the genre’s various offshoots and sub-genres, stoner metal may be the most welcoming to the untrained ear. Though its nomenclature may imply a no-sober-listeners-allowed policy, the real heart of the genre comes more directly from a familiar source than any other branch of metal: good ol’-fashioned classic rock. The borders of what specifically encapsulates stoner metal are as up for interpretation as any other genre (the worlds of doom, sludge, drone, and psych-rock are often collected under the banner as well), but what really defines its sound is its commitment to atmosphere, tone, and thick, steamrolling riffs that work less through violent, rapid-fire assault than they do through gradual, suffocating immersion.
Whether it’s in the satanic blues of stoner originators like Black Sabbath and Candlemass, the molasses-like trudge of torch-bearers like Sleep and Kyuss (pictured), or the voided-out psychedelia of boundary-pushers like Boris and Sunn O))), stoner metal’s influence is vast and unique, linking the worlds of ‘70s rock with that of ambient music, shoegaze, black metal, and more through its subsuming, hazy riffage. You don’t need to be under the influence to get sucked into the genre’s all-encompassing sound, so take a tour through our playlist and see if stoner metal is the strain for you.