By Bob Nalbandian

High Times Records

From the magazine that has since become the Bible of the stoned-out American youth, comes the "Stoner Rock Collection" - 14 of your favorite THC induced tunes from some of the most notorious bands of this amorphous genre, including Bad Wizard, Clutch, Nebula, Orange Goblin, Sea Of Green, and C.O.C. If this is your thing, "The Stoner Rock Collection" is the ultimate compilation album as it samples some of today's most prominent metal-crazed potheads. Although I find most of this genre to be bland, repetitive, and unoriginal, it does have its share of standout artists, many of which are featured on this disc. Some of my favorite tracks include; Gas Giant's "Too Stoned," The Hidden Hand's "Falconstone" (Sabbath...bloody Sabbath!), Unida's "Left Us To Mold" (killer Iommi meets Dimebag guitar riff in this one), The Formula's instrumental "Hello to Oblivion," and Mystick Krewe Of Clearlight's "Ride Out," which I consider the standout track as it weaves progressive free-form jamming with stoner-rock melodies, highlighted by a Purple/Heep B-3 organ which definitely sets this track apart from the other stoned species.

I've said this before and I'll say it again. If you're a part of this new "stoner-rock" craze and want to hear the real deal, take a history lesson and do some research on the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal). Track down albums and singles [many of which have been reissued on CD on the newly reformed Neat Record label] from some of the most underrated metal bands that literally inspired '80s thrash and '90s grunge. Bands such as Angelwitch, Legend, Witchfinder General, Aragorn, Holocaust, Blitzkrieg, Paralex, Trespass, Jaguar, Buffalo, Crucifixion, Witchfynde, Sledgehammer, Mythra, Hollow Ground, and of course, Budgie [who were actually pre-NWOBHM and were the godfathers of stoner-rock in the early '70s, alongside Sabbath]. These are the bands that started the "original" stoner rock movement way back in 1979. What these bands did musically wasn't trendy and they weren't trying to be "hip." The NWOBHM bands rebelled against the British punk rock movement without label support, these guys originated the term "underground music" by releasing low-budget, garage recordings on small custom labels simply out of the love and honor of metal music. Don't get me wrong, this new crop of stoner rock bands certainly have some viable artists, but none that are as authentic as the British metal bands that created one of the most viable movements in heavy metal history some 25 years ago!

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