Death Häus Presents: Psychedelic Metal, the Underground Sub-Genre You Might be Missing

If you’re an avid listener of Death Häus (who isn’t??) then you might remember the April’s special “Definitely not Stoner Rock Night.” We thought to ourselves “Hey, those are some good tunes, why aren’t more people listening??” So we at Death Häus decided to offer you just a little sampler and description of Metal’s best kept secret, Psychedelic Metal.

You’ve probably seen the term “Stoner Rock” if you frequent Metal forums or even just browse through new tracks on Youtube. Much to the ire of many bands and their fans, this has become the official term for this particular flavor of Metal. So let’s just knock it out early on here, NOT EVERY STONER ROCK BAND ENCOURAGES OR INDULGES IN THE USE OF ILLICIT DRUGS. There we go, rant over. The term has stuck because many of the pioneering bands were singing about cannabis consumption (See Black Sabbath Sweet Leaf). Dating back all the way to Black Sabbath, this sub-genre has been developing for a long time. Bands like Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult and Cream are often cited influences of the genre, but what sub-genre did these guys not cover? To really dig some of the first true blue Psychedelic Metal check out old timers, it’s Sir Lord Baltimore! Here’s Loe and Behold, one of our personal favorites. While there were definitely some other psychedelic bands between 1971 and 1993, most stuck to acid rock and doom metal. Cathedral’s 1993 release of The Ethereal Mirror was the next big mile stone for the growing Stoner Rock. Here’s Ride from the aforementioned album.

Enough the history lesson though, that’s not why you’re here. What the heck is this Psychedelic Metal you keep rambling about?? There aren’t really a huge number of prerequisites for this sub-genre, most of the distinctive sound is in the guitars.  Imagine trying to slog through some quicksand in the middle of the night with a couple of boulders tied to your legs, yeah pretty heavy. That’s how these guitars traditionally sound; heavy, muddy, fuzzy, so rich and warm you could melt into them. Besides that Psychedelic Metal is often pretty bluesy, but there’s not much else to the sound. Here’s Electric Wizard’s Funeralopolis, what we consider the genre-defining song, the penultimate sound of Psychedelic Metal.

So now that you’ve got an idea of what we’re talking about you’re ready to dive into the sludge! You might remember Wo Fat, the featured band from our “Definitely not Stoner Rock Night.” A hidden gem, Wo Fat hails from Texas and is crazy bluesy. It’s a totally unique sound that we can’t quite pin down, check out the title track from their album The Conjuring! Another staple of the genre is Dragonaut by Sleep. Sleep has always been a bigger name in the psychedelic scene and Dragonaut it another great example of exactly what good Psychedelic Metal should sound like.

Death Häus host Foxx Jackson personally recommends The Sword as his favorite of the genre. “The Sword breaks the rules a bit” says Foxx “They aren’t quite as fuzzy and muddled as a lot of the other bands in the genre, but the blues is strong with them. Their sound varies quite a bit across their discography, the newer stuff being a little more acid rock than Stoner Metal. The riffage on their first 3 albums especially is absolutely incredible. Not only that, but the themes and lyrics are across all their albums are crazy, the best being Warp Riders, an epic saga across multiple  planets and dimensions.” Take quick trip into Freya off their first album Age of Winters to get a feel for the best of what The Sword has to offer.

Co-Host DJ TV stands firm with the classics, proclaiming Black Sabbath as his choice for Psychedelic Metal. “Black Sabbath was such an innovative band in their time.” asserts TV “They always have a great groove with their classic and heavy riffs. I feel like the whole band plays perfectly off one another. Ozzy’s vocal melodies blend perfectly with the heavy riffs laid down by Tony Iommi. Underneath it all we’ve got a great foundation that’s being laid down by Geezer Butler’s fuzzy bass lines and Bill Ward’s hard hitting beats and fills. They all work together so well and it’s easy to see why they are so influential.” Check out Hole in The Sky to see what TV is talking about!


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