The 10 Greatest Sludge Metal Albums of All Time

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Much like doom metal, sludge is an oppressive form of heavy metal. The craft of sludge, if leveraged effectively, can also provide an array of soundscapes; whereas one sludge tune may have more of a rocker’s headbanging vibe to it, another sludge track may get your stomach churning.

The creative potential of sludge is deceptive, given that the subgenre has such a particular reliance on hefty distortion tones and consistent thick rhythms. But if you wade through sludge metal long enough, you’ll come to find that there is much to be in awe of (or perhaps to be sickened by).

Without further ado, here are the 10 greatest sludge metal albums of all time.

Take as Needed for PainEyehategod

Few bands sound as gross and deranged as Eyehategod. Their album, Take as Needed for Pain, is a venture into vulgar-sounding sludge that exudes heat and grime, exhilarating listeners but also leaving them with a sense of ickiness. Undoubtedly, Take as Needed for Pain is one of the finest works of sludge metal to date.

LeviathanMastodon

While sludge metal can often provide tense atmospheres of gloom, it doesn’t mean the genre is without its own share of headbangery. For such sludge, look no further than Mastodon’s Leviathan. On Leviathan, Mastodon unleashed one of the most adventurous and epic-sounding albums to ever grace metal. Overwhelming with an array of rock and roll sludge energy, Mastodon has gone on to become one of the few bands to elevate the sound into the mainstream.

Stoner WitchMelvins

Dave Grohl has named the Melvins as the heaviest band of all time, and for good reason. Offering loads of abrasive sludge metal, the Melvins have proven themselves time and time again that they are a creative force not to be reckoned with. Mixing stoner metal, sludge, and grunge, the band’s 1994 album Stoner Witch is a ferocious display of sonic aggression that still holds up to this day.

Yellow & GreenBaroness

In a similar manner to Mastodon, Baroness has shaped the sludge sound into a more digestible format. Although the band incorporates a blend of various musical styles into their music, the core foundation for Baroness’ work is sludge. On the incredibly captivating Yellow & Green, the band provides a beautifully moving experience brimming with emotion and variety. Along with being such an awesome achievement in itself, a record like Yellow & Green also highlights how much more an artist can do with sludge.

PeasantThou

When it comes to sludge metal, Thou is one of the best around, hands down. Their output is absurdly prolific, and often times they will step outside of the realm of sludge to create music of other genres. But when it comes to their sludge releases, 2008’s Peasant is a standout banger. While sticking to that core sludgy-driven rhythm the genre is known for, Thou is able to use that formula to craft various atmospheric experiences, producing a sludge metal album that offers unique and inspiring surprises.

Death Is This Communion – High On Fire

From start to finish, High On Fire’s Death Is This Communion plays out in a sonically savage fashion; weaving in a rock and roll vibrancy into their brand of sludge metal, High On Fire shares a form of sludge that is electrifyingly catchy. With a thick atmosphere and wickedly speedy riffs throughout, Death Is This Communion is a headbanger’s sweaty dream.

Sonic Excess in Its Purest Form – Crowbar

When it comes to the subgenre, Crowbar offers such an intensely thick sludge atmosphere; the distortion exuding with each strike and note is so heavy, the music almost transcends itself, casting a weight upon the listener. To get the strongest taste of how grimy Crowbar can be, go right to Sonic Excess in Its Purest Form (the title couldn’t be more on the nose).

NOLADown

Not long after the release of Pantera‘s Cowboys From Hell, Phil Anselmo went on to form Down. This side project provided Anselmo a chance to tap into more of his sludgy and stoner metal desires, and while the band has released some stellar albums, the record that most highlights their artistry is NOLA.

BlindCorrosion of Conformity

What happens when you take rock and thrash metal, and then stir in some sludge? You get Corrosion of Conformity. When it comes to sludge metal that packs a vibrant kick, Corrosion of Conformity is one of the best around. 1991’s Blind is a superb testament to the band’s exhilarating talent. The record contains so much attitude and thrill, you might find yourself spurred to start jumping on tables.

Human = Garbage – Dystopia

While there’s already been a lot of nasty and aggressive-sounding sludge metal featured on this list, we have to end things on a particularly crushing and abrasive note. Instrumentally and lyrically, Dystopia’s Human = Garbage is a nerve-racking, horrifying, and fucking brutal musical experience. Sludge meets crust punk meets noise rock in this extraordinary album. If you have somehow never heard this record prepare yourself for what is truly a haunting journey.