10 of the greatest stoner rock bands of all time

November 14, 2018

Stoner rock is one of the best sub-genres that heavy metal has ever given birth to. With a groove-laden sound, full of tasty riffs, and mind-numbing distortion, the genre has evolved over the decades since its creation in California in the early 1990’s.

With the Mojo Burning festival bringing the likes of Nick Oliveri and a host of great local bands to take over Brisbane’s Hamilton this Saturday for a whole day of blues, roots and rock, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the best stoner rock bands that the world has ever seen.

Mondo Generator

Fronted by former Kyuss bassist Nick Oliveri, Mondo Generator has been delivering some of the finest grooves that the world has ever seen in their 20 year history. Having featured plenty of famous contributors such as Dave Catching, Troy Van Leeuwen, and Mark Lanegan, the group has long had ties to Oliveri’s former band Queens Of The Stone Age as well.

While the group has only managed to release a small handful of albums in their two decade history, every single tune released by Oliveri and co. has been nothing but the highest quality, with the true spirit of the stoner rock genre shining through in every second of their recorded output.


Brisbane’s SixFtHick has had a long an illustrious career. Fronted by the Corbett brothers, Geoff and Ben, the group haven’t seen too much mainstream success, but have supported some of the most infamous rock groups in the world, including The Beasts Of Bourbon, Fugazi, and TISM.

Between their albums, you may have also seen Ben Corbett perform under the guise of Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side, which is a little too far removed from SixFtHick’s original sound for a lot of fans, but has seen plenty of success nonetheless. Regardless of their commerical succes, the group’s wild and unpredictable stage shows have seen them considered as living legends of the Queensland music scene, and rightly so.


Alongside Kyuss, Sleep are one of the most famous stoner rock groups. Having formed in California at the same time as Kyuss, it could almost be said that the genre wasn’t particularly created by either of these bands, but rather, just waiting to be discovered out in the deserts of southern California. Regardless, Sleep’s debut record, Volume I, saw them take influence from numerous doom metal bands to create their brooding, dark sound that they would soon monopolise.

Their next album, Sleep’s Holy Mountain, is considered a landmark of the genre, and is often cited as a starting point for those wishing to discover the genre. Likewise, their final albums, Jerusalem, and Dopesmoker, have gone on to have longlasting impact onto the genre also. While Sleep initially broke up in 1998, 2009 saw the group return, and recent years have seen them release new material, such as 2014’s ‘The Clarity’, which shows them at their groovy best.

The Badlands

The Badlands are one of the newer additions to a list like this, but the Byron Bay quartet have been making fans all over the country thanks to their refreshing new sound. While the group are yet to even release a debut EP, their sound has seen them adopt influences from groups as varied as The Doors and Queens Of The Stone Age to deliver some of the best rock music coming out of New South Wales in recent times.


Dawns Divide may hold the distinction of being one of the most accessible stoner rock groups of all time, or at the very least, they hold the distinction of being one of the most critically acclaimed groups within the genre. While blurring the lines between stoner rock and progressive rock, the group have also managed to accomodate a wide variety of differing styles into their music, such as alternative rock, and elements of jazz.

Having gained a reputation as one of the hardest-working, and most genuine hard rock bands in recent years, the group has managed to see itself become one of the most in-demand bands of the genre, with the group performing at a multitude of festivals and venues, including rocking the state of Pennsylvania!


Lepers And Crooks

Sydney’s Lepers And Crooks are quickly becoming one of the must-see groups in Australia. With high-energy stage shows, soaring vocals, and influences rooted in garage and punk rock, the quintet are set to be one of Australia’s next big exports for sure.

With an anthemic sound to their music that is not usually found in music of the genre, the group are making a name for themselves in a way that will surely see them cross between genres, opening up the gates between stoner-rock and indie-rock and allowing the two to mix in a way that is both fun and intriguing.


Arguably Australia’s biggest stoner-rock group of all time. Tumbleweed are are a beloved rock group that has seen all of its members witness their fair share of music history between them. From supporting the one and only Nirvana on their sole trek down under, to being the reason that the legendary Homebake festival existed, they’ve certainly earned their stripes in Australia’s music scene.

When Tumbleweed burst onto the Aussie rock scene back in 1990, the group had no idea the sort of impact they would have on the then-current generation of Aussie music fans. With plenty of airplay on stations such as triple j, the group have gone on to influence countless Aussie rock bands and help introduce the stoner-rock genre into Australia.


There are few bands that can claim to be the creators of a new genre, so let’s be fair, if it weren’t for Kyuss, there would be no stoner-rock genre. Forming in the late 1980’s, Kyuss was a motley crew of a young rock fans who had an appetite for creation, and heavy, dark riffs and grooves. Thanks to the brooding guitar work of future Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, the angry vocals of John Garcia, and the dark drumming of Brant Bjork, the group’s sound quickly found a place for itself in the heavy metal scene of California.

As the group grew and emerged, lineups changed, with Nick Oliveri coming and going, in addition to Brant Bjork leaving the group in 1993. Nevertheless, the group continued to experiment, and continued to dominate the genre. Their eventual breakup in 1996 spawned numerous bands, such as Queens Of The Stone Age, and Vista Chino, with countless others taking influence from their body of work, and their legacy has lived on ever since.

Monster Magnet

Showing influences from groups such as Hawkwind, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath, Monster Magnet are a group that have done their homework. From their beginnings in the late 1980’s, it took them a few years to truly settle into the genre, but once they did, it took them almost no time at all to be revered by their countless peers with their debut 1991 album, Spine Of God, has gone on to become considered as one of the defining records in the formation of the genre.

Unlike many of the other bands listed here, Monster Magnet have also managed to see a large amount of public exposure as well, with the group’s music being used in a variety of TV shows and movies, such as Sons Of Anarchy, and The Matrix, to name a few.

Electric Wizard

Proving that stoner rock isn’t solely exclusive to Australia and America, England’s Electric Wizard are considered one of the more notable bands in the genre thanks in part to their dedication to keeping doom metal traits alive within their music, including numerous references to the occult, horror movies, and of course, an almost expected love of cannabis.

Having formed in the early 1990’s, the group were quick to gain fans thanks in part to records such as their self-titled debut, which saw them draw influence from their influences, including Black Sabbath amongst others. The group have been consistently active over the last two decades with a new album expected sometime this year as well.


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