Stoner Rock is best known for its heavy, textured, often droning guitar tones. In most cases, vocals and lyrics are just another instrument—not necessarily a key emotive driving force behind the song. Consider the distorted vocals of Electric Wizard’s Jus Oborn in “Funeralopolis” or Acid King’s Lori Steinberg’s distant, echoing voice in “Electric Machine.” Oftentimes, voices like these are difficult to understand without the liner notes, and they primarily serve to help deliver vocal emotion instead of a contextualized narrative.
You’ll rarely hear someone of Freddie Mercury or Robert Plant’s singing level while flipping through Stoner Rock records. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find exciting vocals. Stoner Rock is filled with captivating voices—some of them well-trained and some of them simply powerful and emotive.
Top Stoner Rock Vocalists
We’ve sorted through the genre’s lead singers to select some of the most exciting vocalists in Stoner Rock. Although a few of them lack any notable singing range, all of them deliver an unforgettable quality that helps them stand out from the rest of the industry.
Neil Fallon – Clutch
We couldn’t possibly write this list without mentioning Neil Fallon. As the long-time frontman for Clutch, Neil Fallon has influenced countless musicians over the course of his career—both with his deep, rich vocals and his captivating lyrics. Neil Fallon is a noteworthy vocalist not because of his range but because of his delivery. Live and on stage, Fallon works the crowd like a mad prophet. In the studio, Fallon mixes an intoxicating brew of growls, bluesy reverberations, and a tinge of sophistication into each and every line. “X-Ray Visions” (2015’s Psychic Warfare) does a nice job of capturing some of Fallon’s best qualities.
Fredrik Nordin – Dozer
Like many on this list, what makes Fredrik Nordin stand out is his energy. Reaching and maintaining a high level of energy is important when you’re playing in a band like Dozer, where the riffs are plentiful and often fast. To compensate, Nordin’s vocals are powerful. Similar to Neil Fallon, Nordin delivers lyrics like they’re the very truth the human race is searching for. For a great dose of Fredrik Nordin in Dozer, listen to “The Hills Have Eyes” (2004’s Call it Conspiracy). Wait for the chorus—he’ll pull you out of your seat.
Robert Lamu – Skraeckoedlan
With a name that roughly translates to Godzilla (Skraeckoedlan is from Sweden), you know you’re in for something big. Skraeckoedlan’s sound is big, and that’s partially thanks to Robert Lamu’s beautiful, haunting, droning vocals. On many of the band’s standout tracks, Lamu’s voice carries through the void, weaving its own unique atmosphere through the rest of the song.
Dave Wyndorf – Monster Magnet
As the lead singer for Monster Magnet, Dave Wyndorf is Stoner Rock royalty. Like Robert Lamu (mentioned above), Wyndorf brings a consistent energy level to his performances. His voice seems effortless in its cool, relaxed delivery, but it is simultaneously exciting. “Negasonic Teenage Warhead” on the Dopes to Infinity album captures his voice at both the chill and energetic ends of the spectrum. Listen closely to catch the vocal growls around the 2:00 mark to complement the rest of his performance.
Argy Galiatsatos – Nightstalker
There’s something exciting about bands that shun labels. Greek rockers Nightstalker have made music together for the last 30 years, but they hate it when people pigeonhole them into a specific genre. Perhaps that’s partially what makes frontman Argy Galiatsatos so intriguing. Just compare his vocal delivery on 1996’s “My Turn” (Use) to 2019’s “Sweet Knife” (Great Hallucinations). Like Dave Wyndorf of Monster Magnet, there’s something effortless about his vocals that make them immediately cool. That cool factor is only amplified on a song like “Baby, God is Dead” (2009’s Superfreak), where the guitar lick matches the vocals and Galiatsatos’s voice is occasionally layered to perfection.
Christian Sjöstrand – Spiritual Beggars
Christian “Spice” Sjöstrand was Spiritual beggar’s lead singer for almost a decade before taking over at the helm for The Mushroom River Band (a short-lived project that is definitely worth the listen). As the frontman for Spiritual Beggars, Spice’s distinctive voice balanced the rest of the band’s bass-heavy delivery (and, in some cases, even complemented that heavy delivery). While there are many songs where you can catch multiple vocal techniques from Spice, “Euphoria” (1998’s Mantra III) is perhaps the most emotive.
Magnus Arnar – The Quill
The Quill is a Swedish outfit that’s spent the last 30 years playing shows and writing music. They’ve certainly seen their share of lead vocalists over the years, but Magnus Arnar is easily their most exciting singer. With a voice that is sharp, clean, and lightly distorted, Arnar’s presence is an excellent complement to the band’s exquisite riffing on Tiger Blood (2013).
Phil Anselmo – Down
After Pantera disbanded in 2003, members of the Metal group went their separate ways. While the Abbott brothers went on to form Damageplan, Anselmo decided to dedicate more of his time to supergroup Down. Down consisted of talents from Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity (guitarist Pepper Keenan), Crowbar (guitarist Kirk Windstein and bassist Todd Strange), and Eyehatehod (drummer Jimmy Bower). Down originally formed in 1991, and Anselmo was there on the 1995 release, NOLA (named after New Orleans—the city it was recorded in). While on the Corrosion of Conformity end of Stoner Metal, Down had many of the hallmarks we come to expect from Stoner Rock (including a big emphasis on the riff)—and Anselmo’s unmistakable vocals.
Virginia Monti – Psychedelic Witchcraft
Psychedelic Witchcraft was initially Virginia Monti’s solo project, but she quickly decided to grow it into a full band. We are all lucky for that decision. Out of all of the vocalists on this list, Virginia Monti could very well be the most stunning. The Florence, Italy-based vocalist’s voice is sharp and precise, beautiful and melodic, powerful and commandeering. Listen to “A. Creature” for the layered approach—a nice touch.
Amber Webber – Black Mountain
Amber Webber may no longer be part of the Psychedelic band Black Mountain, but her voice was critical to the group’s success. Her aching, rolling vocals were the perfect partner to Stephen McBean’s voice, oftentimes harmonizing in powerful, unique ways. In most cases, Webber’s voice shines as bright as the instrumentation itself. While recording IV, Webber’s vocals were pushed to the forefront, sometimes given as much focus as the song’s primary guitar riff. In “Mothers of the Sun” and “Space to Bakersfield,” her voice is used as a sonic backdrop to propel the album forward.
Pierina O’Brien – Devil Electric
One of Black Sabbath’s most intriguing decisions was to keep Ozzy at the forefront to sing over the deep, ground-shaking bass lines and guitar riffs. It was a formula that worked there, and it’s a formula that works just as well for Australian band Devil Electric. Pierina O’Brien doesn’t have any of the bass found in the rest of the band, but her presence is just as haunting as Paranoid-era Ozzy. Her delivery is refreshing in a genre that isn’t quite known for its clarity. Listen to her voice ascend to the heavens in “Hynoptica” (2017’s Devil Electric).
Ryan Ferrier – Valley of the Sun
Valley of the Sun is a four-piece from Cincinnati that has snowballed its following over the last few years. Their sound is marked by enormous riffs, ’70s-inspired guitar licks, and Ryan Ferrier’s soaring voice. As if the strings and drums weren’t already energetic enough, Ferrier belts like the world’s on fire around him and he’s the chosen one to extinguish the flames. “Maya” (2014’s Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk) does a nice job of showing his range.