Various Artists – High Times, High Volume: The Stoner Rock Collection

Dan Epstein

By Dan Epstein

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Maybe it really is true that marijuana leads to harder stuff — there are 14 top "stoner rock" bands on this High Times Magazine-approved compilation, and not one of them wants to get even remotely mellow. Though all the participants draw upon the same Black Sabbath-derived heavy rock template that's become a hallmark of the stoner genre, there's still an impressive amount of sonic variety in the mix. Gas Giant's self-explanatory "Too Stoned" melds spacey atmospherics with crunchy riffs, while Bad Wizard's "So Bad" immediately goes for the jugular like a redneck Stooges. The Mystick Crewe of Clearlight's "Ride On" could be a lost Deep Purple instrumental, and the Formula's "Hello to Oblivion" swaggers a la vintage Humble Pie. Sea Of Green's phaser-laden "High for the Ride" will immediately strike a chord with any fan of Fu Manchu's "gas, grass or ass" aesthetic, while Clutch's humorously paranoid rant "Willie Nelson" features the best line of the entire album: "One thing's for certain — Willie Nelson only smokes killer weed." Throw in some monster tracks by such stoner rock mainstays as Orange Goblin, Unida and the Hidden Hand, and the whole thing packs a bigger buzz than my brother-in-law's five-chambered bong.