The Stoner Rock scene doesn’t receive much love from the mainstream music community, but its influence stretches all over the world. At Monster Riff, we’ve interviewed bands from across Europe and the US—but Stoner Rock stretches much, much wider.
As we generate more and more reviews and cover more and more bands, we’re attempting to compile the top Stoner Rock bands by country, giving you a sonic map of the world today.
Table of Contents
Be sure to check back often, as we plan to continue adding other countries over time:
Best Stoner Rock Bands From Australia
Australia has a rather bustling Psychedelic scene, which makes pointing to pure Stoner Rock acts a bit difficult; many of them are wrapped up in heavy Psych influences. Still, there’s no shortage of cool bands from down under.
A few Australian Stoner Rock bands you should know:
Wolfmother enjoyed massive success with their self-titled debut, an album that spawned six singles: “Dimension,” “Joker & The Theif,” “Love Train,” “Mind’s Eye,” “White Unicorn,” and “Woman.” And although they received criticism for sounding like their White Stripes contemporaries, Wolfmother has sold more than 1 million copies around the world. Like many other acts on this list, Wolfmother has always straddled multiple subgenres, but that Stoner Rock influence is always there.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
An incredibly focused and expansive project, King Gizzard explores odd sounds and microtones while offering stories from “the Gizzverse,” a mysterious universe detailed in King Gizzard’s lyrics. Extremely prolific, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard has released nearly 40 albums, EPs, and live recordings, and they’ve done so while often writing their music into unique soundscapes ranging from Country to Psychedelic Rock to Metal to Stoner Rock (which means they have something for everyone). To learn more about the Gizzverse, check out the Monster Riff Presents episode on King Gizzard.
Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows
Another focused concept project, the songs from Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows focus on a notorious drug-addicted outlaw gunning to redeem the west in an apocalyptic universe. Pulling inspiration from Fuzz, Psychedelic Rock, Doom, and Blues, Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows is great for fans of Lowrider and King Buffalo.
Best Stoner Rock Bands From Germany
Germany is an especially interesting country when it comes to the Stoner Rock scene. Thanks to the influences of Krautrock and Psychedelic Rock, many German Stoner Rock groups are steeped in cosmic imagery and Psychedelic soundscapes.
German bands to know:
One of Germany’s most enduring Stoner Rock bands, Colour Haze has released a slew of Psychedelic Stoner Rock albums. With albums that alternate between heavy riffing and delicate melodies, Colour Haze has an incredible range for a variety of music fans.
My Sleeping Karma
Heavily influenced by Hindu and Buddhist religions, My Sleeping Karma is a fully instrumental Psychedelic Rock band with long, spacey jams that stretch and weave through the ether.
Swan Valley Heights
Swan Valley Heights is on the Fuzzorama Records roster, where they share the spotlight with bands like Truckfighters, Skraeckoedlan, Valley of the Sun, We Hunt Buffalo, and Witchrider. And although the band’s most popular song (“My First Knife Fight”) is a hard-riffing Stoner attack, most of their catalog is quite Psychedelic.
To learn more about the German music scene, read our full article on the top German Stoner Rock bands.
Best Stoner Rock Bands From Greece
Greece has become a hotbed for outstanding underground music. Although ongoing economic struggles and the government’s reluctance to support the arts could have snuffed out independent music altogether, the resilience of the Greek people has sparked a lively, influential, and celebrated music scene.
A few bands to know from Greece:
Although the fellas in Nightstalker shun being labeled, they’ve always been adjacent to the Stoner Rock scene, much like Clutch, Queens of the Stone Age, or Monster Magnet. Nightstalker has built a solid reputation are a reliable Hard Rock band, and they’ve become one of the most influential bands in the Greek underground.
With Super Van Vacation (2011), 1000mods resurrected ‘90s Stoner/Desert Rock. With thick, rumbling bass lines, massive fuzzy guitar riffs, and thundering drums, 1000mods became Stoner Rock luminaries, especially with their biggest hit—“Vidage.” Interestingly, 1000mods embraced the Alt Rock path on 2020’s Youth of Dissent, but their strengths and influence are still very much intact.
Planet of Zeus
The success of Planet of Zeus comes at least partially from the band’s ability to consistently deliver heavy, hard-rocking songs packed with exciting hooks—like a blend of Black Sabbath, MC5, and Queens of the Stone Age.
To learn more about the Greek music scene, read our full article on the top Greek Stoner Rock bands.
Best Stoner Rock Bands From Italy
Italy hasn’t produced a ton of household names in the Stoner Rock Circles (at least nothing as big as, say, Black Sabbath or Wolfmother), but the country has produced numerous respectable and underrated bands, especially on the Psychedelic side (see IKITAN and Sonic Demon for a couple of examples).
A few bands to know from Italy:
1. Black Rainbows
Black Rainbows has been incredibly influential in the European underground—and even more so in their home country. Since 2007, Black Rainbows has drawn inspiration from genre giants like Fu Manchu and Nebula, as well as classics like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and MC5. All in all, Black Rainbows is a one-stop-shop for heavy Stoner Rock grooves and cosmic Psychedelic energy.
Ufomammut formed in 1999, and they immediately made themselves known with their incredibly heavy and unique combination of Psychedelic Rock and Sludge Metal. Thanks to this surprising approach, Ufamammut is accessible to a variety of music lovers—and they’ve remained wildly influential over their 20+ years in the scene.
3. Psychedelic Witchcraft
Channeling influences from Psychedelia, Classic Rock, and the Occult, Psychedelic Witchcraft has written a slew of catchy, exciting tunes led by singer Virginia Monti (who we discussed at length on our singers episode of Monster Riff Presents). Riding on retro soundwaves, Psychedelic Witchcraft oscillates between Black Sabbath-inspired riffing and shimmering melodies.
Best Stoner Rock Bands From Sweden
Scandinavia has been a hotbed for Metal of all kinds over the last few decades, but the Stoner Metal scene has been especially concentrated in Sweden—a country where many genre luminaries have originated from.
Here are a few Swedish bands to be familiar with:
Truckfighters cemented themselves as Stoner Rock icons with their debut album, Gravity X. And while their other albums have also proven influential, Dango (guitar) and Ozo’s (bass) ownership of Fuzzorama Records has increased their impact on the community even further, as they’ve assembled a bullpen of some of the coolest bands in the scene.
Although Lowrider was initially panned by a few harsh critics for being a Kyuss knockoff with their 2000 debut (Ode to Io), Lowrider has withstood the test of time. With the strength of 2020’s Refractions, Lowrider won Best Album at the inaugural Doomies hosted by Doomed & Stoned. And all of that Kyuss knockoff crap? That’s a load of nonsense if you ask us.
One of the most consistent Stoner Rock bands over the last 20+ years, Greenleaf has experimented through a variety of sounds (no doubt thanks to its history of rotating personnel), but it has always been a guitarist’s feast with Tommi Holappa at the helm.
To learn more about the Swedish music scene, read our full article on the top Swedish Stoner Rock bands.
Best Stoner Rock Bands From the UK
The UK has produced a ton of the world’s top bands and artists (ever hear of The Beatles?), and it’s also generated its share of influential Stoner Rock groups.
Some of the best Stoner Rock bands to come from the UK:
Without Black Sabbath, there would be no Monster Riff. Black Sabbath formed the template for both Stoner Rock and Doom Metal, and they did so while trailblazing new paths and earning their own commercial success. In fact, Master of Reality is often heralded as the very first true Stoner Rock album.
Inspired by the likes of QOTSA and Led Zeppelin, Royal Blood became a near-overnight commercial success. And although they’ve since embraced a more commercial style, their self-titled debut owed much of its sound to the Stoner Rock scene.
Electric Wizard’s Dopethrone is one of the heaviest and most popular crossover albums spanning the gap between Stoner Rock and Doom Metal. The band’s signature guitar tone has been highly prized, and it’s inspired countless bands and effects pedals over the years—a surefire sign of greatness.
To learn more about the UK music scene, read our full article on the top UK Stoner Rock bands.
Top Stoner Rock Bands From the US
Let the arguments begin! Although true Stoner Rock has its roots in the UK with Black Sabbath, much of the groundwork for today’s music scene was laid in the US during the ’90s. Today, the US is still a hotbed for Stoner Rock activity, and some of the world’s most influential underground bands come from here. As a result, it’s difficult to pick just three, but we’ll do our best.
Here are a handful of US-based Stoner Rock bands you should know:
Though they were barely adults at the time, the young guys in Kyuss changed the course of underground music with the seminal Blues for the Red Sun, a stunning reimaging of early Black Sabbath baked in the desert heat. And when they released Welcome to Sky Valley, they cemented their status as Metal royalty. Infighting may have eventually cut the band at the knees, but the Kyuss legacy lives on today (and was once reinvented in Kyuss Lives! and Vista Chino).
Like Kyuss, Sleep is a storied band—thanks in part to their legendary Dopesmoker album. In Dopesmoker, Sleep lived a true Rock ‘n’ Roll story, blowing their cash on drugs and following the art instead of the record company’s requests. Despite its monolithic soundscape and enormous riffage, Dopesmoker became the band’s demise. But this breakup eventually birthed groups like OM and High on Fire, so there is still plenty for fans to love today.
Queens of the Stone Age
The brilliance of Queens of the Stone Age was the band’s ability to remain rooted in Stoner Rock and Stoner Metal while writing radio-friendly hits. While Queens of the Stone Age and Rated R both helped the band become an underground sensation, it was Songs for the Deaf that helped QOTSA become a household name while also becoming their first platinum record. Although their sounds has evolved, QOTSA remains one of the most influential bands in the Stoner Rock community.