Where would Rock and Metal be without the UK music scene? The Beatles transformed popular music in the ’60s (and beyond) on their way to selling 800 million albums worldwide. Classic Rock heroes Led Zeppelin influenced heavier bands all types while moving 300 million records. And while those numbers are impressive, we can’t overstate the importance of another Beatles/Led Zeppelin contemporary: Black Sabbath. As the godfathers of Stoner Rock and Doom Metal, Black Sabbath has paved the way for a vibrant Stoner Rock scene that lives on to this day. In honor of that legacy, we’re celebrating the top 10 UK Stoner Rock bands.
For reference, this isn’t the first time we’re traveled around the world in search of the best bands within our little community. We’ve also covered:
- The best Stoner Rock bands in Germany
- The best Stoner Rock bands in Greece
- The best Stoner Rock bands in Sweden
As with all listicles, there’s bound to be some contention, so let us know what you think!
Top 10 UK Stoner Rock Bands
Here’s the Monster Riff list of top Stoner Rock bands from the UK! Please note: We’ve numbered these bands to assist in readability purposes. Their numerical assignment is not necessarily indicative of their importance in Stoner Rock history or contemporary music.
1. Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath’s presence on this list should go without saying, but we’ll list them here just the same. Without Black Sabbath, one could make an excellent argument that Stoner Rock would have never happened. Hell, half of the album submissions to Monster Riff come with a bio saying the band is influenced by the boys from Birmingham.
Interestingly, Black Sabbath helped lay the groundwork for both Stoner Rock and Doom. In less than 24 months, the band released Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Sweet Leaf (1971), providing key templates bands still work from today.
With their spellbinding riffs, deep low ends, and terrifying imagery (which was often pushed harder by their labels than by the band members themselves), Black Sabbath has become a primary influence for bands all over the world.
2. Electric Wizard
With one of the biggest albums in all of Stoner Rock and Doom in Dopethrone, Electric Wizard remains one of the most influential bands in the two genres. Heavily influenced by Black Sabbath’s sound, Electric Wizard also took their band name from two separate Black Sabbath songs (“Electric Funeral” and “The Wizard”).
Led by Jus Osborn, Electric Wizard has one of the most sought-after guitar tones in all of Metal, using a combination of fuzz and sludge to drive the lead guitar forward and rip through songs with terrifying effect.
For a few years after forming, Electric Wizard embodied the rough-and-tumble clichés of a Metal band, even seeing some of their band members land in jail for small-time crimes. Fortunately, the band has pushed through their rough beginnings to remain one of today’s longest-running acts on this list.
3. Royal Blood
The two-piece act from West Sussex exploded onto the scene in 2014 with their debut album, Royal Blood. Distinguishing themselves from popular contemporaries with a unique bass-led delivery, Royal Blood had a slick, mature sound that was immediately recognizable but entirely unique.
And with standout tracks like “Figure It Out” and “Little Monster,” Royal Blood quickly found commercial success as a sort of pseudo-Stoner Rock band in a vein similar to Queens of the Stone Age.
Since breaking out into the mainstream, we’ve seen the band refine their sound to something much more polished, as 2021’s Typhoons was more suitable for dancing than headbanging. Still, Royal Blood is an important reminder for two-piece acts everywhere: numbers don’t matter.
4. Orange Goblin
As one of the longest-running bands in UK Stoner Rock (they formed in 1995), Orange Goblin long ago solidified themselves as a premier Stoner Metal act. Relying on a complex blend of Doom, Stoner Rock, Heavy Metal, and Punk influences, Orange Goblin’s sound is simultaneously familiar yet difficult to copy.
Although Orange Goblin rarely receives the same recognition or respect as bands like Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard, their body of work speaks for itself; albums like Time Traveling Blues and Frequency From Planet Ten frequently rank near the top of Stoner Metal album lists.
The strength of Cathedral’s debut album (Forest of Equilibrium) immediately solidified the band as one of the best contemporary Doom Metal acts—and it even helped them pen a deal with Columbia Records to create The Ethereal Mirror.
Although Cathedral has historically played in the Doom Metal and Heavy Metal circles, there’s an undeniable streak of Stoner Metal in their sound, and that’s good enough to win them a place on this list!
6. Green Lung
I remember hearing Green Lung’s “Old Gods” off of 2021’s Black Harvest for the first time. I was absolutely blown away. Here was a song with incredible production, outstanding vocals, and exhilarating songwriting—all packaged up in the Stoner Rock department! I played it on repeat constantly; I couldn’t get enough of it.
Eventually, I had to pull back and listen through the rest of Green Lung’s discography. It’s all incredible. In fact, Green Lung has been pulling in praise from the likes of Metal Temple and The Obelisk since its early days, even striking a deal with the respected German label Kosmik Artifactz.
7. Elephant Tree
Sometimes offered as the UK analog to King Buffalo, Elephant Tree plays a sophisticated mixture of Heavy Metal, Psychedelic Rock, and Doom, and singer and guitarist Jack Townley even has a soft, chanted vocal delivery similar to Sean McVay’s approach to the microphone.
To be fair, though, the London band has a much more expansive sound, incorporating a wider range of influences and even a wider palette of instrumentation.
8. The Kings of Frog Island
My own personal love for The Kings of Frog Island is well-documented, as I even gave them a shoutout in the very first Monster Riff Presents podcast episode—and I kept talking about them to anyone who will listen.
The Kings of Frog Island are from Leicester, England, and formed in 2003. Offering a consistently intoxicating blend of Stoner Rock and Psychedelic Rock, The Kings of Frog Island have released more than half a dozen albums. But it’s their second record, II, that has made them most noteworthy.
Led by the strength of tracks like “Welcome to the Void” and “Hallucination,” II is undeniably fuzzy and inviting, creating a special sort of musical gravity that pulls you to its very core.
One of the newest bands on this list, Psychlona quickly became a force to respect with their 2020 album, Venus Skytrip (a stunning follow-up to 2018’s Mojo Rising). A bright spot in an otherwise dismal year, Psychlona received nominations at the very first Doomies (the award show from Doomed & Stoned) for Best Album, Best Song, and Best Album Art. Although the band didn’t collect any hardware, they left their mark on the genre.
To the band’s credit, Venus Skytrip’s opening track, “Blast Off,” is a ball-tearer, delivering an electrifying, high-energy cosmic Stoner Rock track with upbeat guitars and blistering solos. And although the rest of the song hasn’t been as celebrated, the following seven tracks are solid follow-ups.
10. Sergeant Thunderhoof
Featuring vocalist Dan Flitcroft (who’s also the co-founder of Pale Wizard Records), Sergeant Thunderhoof is a criminally underrated band from Bath. Self-described as “psychedelic-tinged heavy grooves from the mystical realms of Somerset,” Sergeant Thunderhood delivers monolithic riffs on each and every track, alternating between cosmic trips and street-level assaults.
Sergeant Thunderhoof has shared the stage with bands like Elder, Mos Generator, and Karma to Burn, and they’ve pulled comparisons to bands like Cathedral, Mastodon, and Sleep.