There would be no metal without weed. Had the sonic kale never spread across the world as an emotion-enhancing alternative to working and/or drinking one’s self to death, many of the blue-collar heroes from down-and-out areas who invented the genre might never have picked up an instrument. More now than ever, cannabis is a vital part of metal culture, with legalization and consumption options giving rise to a new generation of heavy music fans who see ganja as a spiritual medicine similar to a great riff. You don’t have to be high to love metal, but it definitely helps.
This 4/20, we decided to round up our favorite heavy stoner tracks. But we didn’t just want to do the typical list of groovy sludge anthems and desert rock jams that were probably made by potheads. This time around, we wanted songs specifically about puffing on that Swamp Thing. Thankfully, the devout smokers of the heavy music community were able to oblige us.
Here are the 20 greatest heavy songs about burning one down and nothing else…
20. Brujeria, “Marijuana” (Marijuana EP, 1998)
On the 1998 EP containing their massive murder-metal hit “Matando Gueros ’97,” black magic cartel enforcers Brujeria also included their track “Marijuana” — but wait, death metal fans, this isn’t what you think. Rather than write a brutal anthem to Satan’s broccoli, the Mexican band penned a chug-riff parody of “Macarena” with lyrics about weed. While not exactly brilliant, the track is still guffaw-inducing enough to make it onto this list. The perfect way to clear a room of idiots.
19. Rob Zombie, “Shake Your Ass – Smoke Your Grass” (The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy, 2021)
On his newer albums, Rob Zombie has fully embraced the stoniness that pervades both his fanbase and image, and this year’s “Shake Your Ass – Smoke Your Grass” goes all in on it. The track is a fun-as-hell trundle-along that feels right at home behind the packing of a three-foot bong. Not content with just jock-jam chugs, the monster rocker also adds a ‘70s-tinged bridge where he jives about being a “long-gone daddy in a boogaloo,” whatever the fuck that means. The weed doesn’t necessarily hit harder if you’re wearing assless jeans with a Nosferatu patch down one pocket, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
18. Destruction, “Cracked Brain” (Cracked Brain, 1990)
No one said this was a list of songs promoting weed! Leave it to German thrash warriors Destruction to write the only anti-pot song on this list with the title track off of 1990’s Cracked Brain. Problem is, the track is kind of a rager, with its frosty teutonic riffs and hyper-electric solo bringing an atmosphere that’s weirdly palatable while high. That the lyrics are about how smoking too much weed will ruin your mind and your life can just be taken with a huge grain of salt. The only difference between this album’s cover and an actual stoner’s bedroom is that the dude would be grinning at the cloud.
17. Oozing Wound, “Call Your Guy” (Retrash, 2013)
“Can’t squeeze the blood from a stoner/But I still try every time.” Not every great song about weed is going to be a happy, harmonious one, as Oozing Wound’s “Call Your Guy” proves. The track follows the band’s tradition of harsh, hardcore-influenced thrash metal with a smeared, fuzzy tone to it. Meanwhile, the lyrics seem to detail the often-fraught relationship between dealer and buyer, the tension of which is pretty palpable in the music. Not for your average dude in a ‘Chronic the Hemp Hog’ shirt, but a track that’ll have the right kind of gnarly stoner smirking with glee.
16. Belzebong, “Bong Thrower” (Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves, 2011)
Listening to “Bong Thrower,” one might assume that Belzebong are from Denver or Texas — but no, these guys are Polish. That said, the quartet’s homeland actually adds something to their sound; rather than rely on cloned Sabbath riffs, the band go with the nastier stoner growls of European doom and death metal. The result is the kind of track that’ll carry a listener along for a baked walk through town while still making them feel like a hulking force of darkness. In hell, every joint is bogarted.
15. Tool, “The Pot” (10,000 Days, 2006)
Of the two weed-centric songs on 10,000 Days, “The Pot” is the one that best shows off Tool’s unique talents (“Rosetta Stoned” ain’t bad, but it’s not as strong). The track’s bassline and drum work provide that concrete bedrock which reefer-friendly songs beg for, while Adam Jones’ guitars and Maynard’s patented wails of, “You must have been…high” add a full-on stoniness to the whole endeavor. Sure, it feels at times like a wink to the band’s pothead fans, but the musicianship thereon also makes it as tribute to them. Knowing Tool, of course, it’s also about how they hate you.
14. Raging Speedhorn, “Scrapin’ the Resin” (We Will Be Dead Tomorrow, 2002)
Though sometimes forgotten to the shifting sands of metal history, UK groove-punishers Raging Speedhorn were always vocal in their love of weed, even if their music might bum out your average toker. “Scrapin’ The Resin” showcases this mixture of potheadedness and grime, extolling the virtues of smoking the black when the green is light. Few bands could pull off a song this righteous about smoking resin, but these guys are one of them. Just like its topic, the track tastes like a tire and may cause a headache — but it’ll get you where you need to be.
13. Bongripper, “Reefer Sutherland” (Hippie Killer, 2007)
Despite their name, Bongripper might be one of the ugliest-sounding bands of all time, but that’s why “Reefer Sutherland” is so perfectly calibrated for the stoner metal mind. The song’s certainly pot-headed in its sound and overall vibe, but that doesn’t stop it from being utterly crushing. That the track is instrumental adds a new level of heaviness to things, letting Bongripper’s huge, murky riffs do the talking where some rasped lyrics about weed shit might feel like more of the same. The nasty, dark thoughts you have while high are some of the best.
12. Sleep, “Giza Butler” (The Sciences, 2018)
In 2018, Sleep saved 4/20 by surprise-dropping their new album The Sciences to worldwide applause (and a great number of squinty-eyed guffaws). While every single one of the record’s sprawling six tracks are brilliant, it’s “Giza Butler” that takes the gold with its throbbing tale of a dirtbag magus living in weed-fueled grandeur beneath an overpass. Big, driven, and featuring lyrics about pterodactyls and smoking an ounce a day, the track sounds like what one would hear if they put a turntable stylus on an ancient Mayan sunwheel and spun it.
11. Cephalic Carnage, “Kill for Weed” (Anomalies, 2005)
Though their sinewy grindcore often sounds like it comes from the depths of Hell, Cephalic Carnage actually hail from Denver, Colorado. So it’s unsurprising they have weed anthem — though in classic Cephalic fashion, it’s still ugly and dark as the Dickens. “Kill for Weed” is all about getting busted by crooked cops for holding, only to overpower them and strangle them. While that might seem harsh to some potheads, certain Pit readers will begrudgingly admit they might have had this fantasy before.
10. Weedeater, “Weed Monkey” (God Luck and Good Speed, 2007)
Some songs have that sativa-dominant vibe, but “Weed Monkey” is pure indica. Slow, sick, and misanthropic, the track has an apocalyptic vibe to it even as Weedeater frontman “Dixie” Dave Collins rasps lyrics about being “the big weedmonkey.” Even the ‘fast’ breakdown at the end never moves above a kaiju stomp. The track proves that the band’s name isn’t just some kind of stoner metal joke, and provides those of us with less-than-presentable THC jags an anthem all our own.
9. Acid Witch, “Metal Movie Marijuana Massacre Meltdown” (Stoned, 2011)
Part of the appeal of Detroit’s Acid Witch is how they combined their love of old-school Halloween with dirtbag late-’70s stonerdom. “Metal Movie Marijuana Massacre Meltdown” is a perfect distillation of their aesthetic, a trundling death-doom track about getting baked and watching classic heavy metal movies like Trick or Treat and Black Roses. The track’s bounding pace and pumpkin-guts guitar tone are soothing to the stoned brain while making one feel like the old-school grindhouse degenerate we all truly believe ourselves to be inside. You can definitely make a bong out of a pumpkin.
8. Cannabis Corpse, “Sentenced to Burn One” (Tube of the Resinated, 2009)
Non-metal fans might be surprised by how much weed is smoked by extreme death and thrash metalheads, but the vibrating oregano has long been a staple of those subcultures. Case in point, Phil “Landphil” Hall of thrashers Municipal Waste started Cannabis Corpse solely to celebrate marijuana and crack weed jokes. “Sentenced to Burn One” might be their greatest track, and offers an awesome example of how you can write a brutally fast death metal song that still sounds incredible to the stoned individual. Die for weed.
7. Bongzilla, “Amerijuanican” (Amerijuanican, 2005)
Why reference weed when you can go all-in on writing about it? Madison, Wisconsin’s Bongzilla don’t pull any punches when it comes to worshipping the leaf, and “Amerijuanican” is a harsh-but-soothing anthem to the land of the groove and the home of the J. While he plays with various concepts in his main project Weedeater, here “Dixie” Dave Collins goes all-in on the subject of burning as many ones down as possible. While the singer’s evil rasp may bum out more hippie-oriented listeners, stoner metal dudes will dig on this shit immediately. Salute the leaf.
6. Connoisseur, “Full Blown Marijuana Addict” (Stoner Justice, 2015)
Pothead grindcore isn’t something you think about a lot, but Oakland’s Connoisseur prove that the genre not only exists, it rules. “Full Blown Marijuana Addict” takes the band’s music down to a pendulous stomp, but it never loses its ferocity, with vocalist Carlos Saldana screaming with terrifying strength about the song’s titular roach-and-ash-covered hero. It’s the kind of hard-hitting track that’ll get a room full of stoners headbanging in unison, and quickly goes from being a kind of funny song title to a badge of pride. Hit the bong, destroy all.
5. High On Fire, “Fertile Green” (De Vermis Mysteriis, 2012)
Even when he’s taking things louder and angrier than he does in Sleep, High On Fire‘s Matt Pike still has bud on the dome. “Fertile Green” is a frantic, kinetic soundscape into the crystal-cragged world of one sacrificing himself in the name of marijuana. Even if the psychedelic video suggests more of a fantastical storyline than a bubbler-driven one, Pike’s scream of, “SMOOOOKE WEED!” should clear things up like a drop of Visine. It can’t all be incense and peppermints, clyde.
4. Clutch, “Spacegrass” (Clutch, 1995)
If Heavy Metal taught us anything, it’s that nothing goes with soft drugs like driving muscle cars in space. And though a bit more ‘90s-crunchy than ‘70s-groovy, Clutch certainly get this idea across on “Spacegrass.” With its psychedelic imagery and throbbing bassline, the track is an excellent accompaniment to a fat bowl and a blacklit basement. Even at his most rabid, Neil Fallon keeps the vibe chill, replacing most bands’ instructions to dance and put hands in the air with a bellowed chorus line of “Whenever it feels right!” Top down, chassis low.
3. Electric Wizard, “Dopethrone” (Dopethrone, 2006)
The title track of Electric Wizard’s most renowned record takes their weed-based black magic to new heights. Instead of just talking about how great it is to get high, the band delve into the arcane depths of marijuana-oriented sorcery. Not only is the track one of their most doomy, it’s also one of their most harsh and grating, showcasing how the Wizard can exude nonstop hostility even while on a steady diet of the burning herb. Lay down your souls to the god THC.
2. Sleep, “Dopesmoker” (Dopesmoker, 2003)
Plenty of bands have written songs about how much they love becoming utterly befuddled on reefer, but only Sleep would write a hour-long space-opera track about an Iommi0-worshipping stoner civilization. The band’s marijuana-based sci-fi approach is taken to its greatest extreme on “Dopesmoker,” which bids the listener to “Drop out of life with bong in hand” in their journey towards the new Jerusalem. Both endearingly potheaded and impressively vast, this song is a brilliant journey into the hazy mind of the green-tinted brain.
1. Black Sabbath, “Sweet Leaf” (Master of Reality, 1971)
As though it’d be anything else. Though “Dopesmoker” is weed metal’s great epic, “Sweet Leaf” is its birthplace, the song from which all pot-smoking metalheaddom grows, breeds, and spreads across the vast fields of the world. Due to the time of its creation, the track had to be couched in sly, winking language, casting marijuana as a reliable friend who helped open Ozzy’s mind up to new possibilities. That, plus its impossible-to-ignore central riff, makes this the track against which all smoke-drenched metal must be held. Try it out.
Words by Chris Krovatin