10 Best Sludge Metal Bands Since 2010

by Patria

Sludge metal is a genre that amalgamates elements of doom metal and hardcore punk, characterized by its thick, abrasive sound and raw, aggressive energy. Emerging from the late 1980s, sludge metal has continuously evolved, and the 2010s saw a wave of innovative bands pushing the boundaries of the genre. This article explores the ten best sludge metal bands since 2010, highlighting their unique contributions to the genre.

10 Best Sludge Metal Bands and Their Key Albums

1. Baroness

Formed in Savannah, Georgia, Baroness is a band that has consistently delivered powerful sludge metal infused with progressive and psychedelic rock elements. Their 2012 album, Yellow & Green, marked a significant shift towards a more melodic sound while retaining their heavy roots. This blend of intricate melodies and crushing riffs has made Baroness a staple in modern sludge metal.

Key Albums:

Yellow & Green (2012)

Purple (2015)

Gold & Grey (2019)

Influence and Style:

Baroness is known for their complex compositions and emotionally charged lyrics. Their ability to seamlessly blend melody and heaviness has earned them critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase.

2. Kylesa

Another Savannah-based band, Kylesa, has been a driving force in the sludge metal scene since their formation in 2001. They are known for their dual drummer setup and psychedelic influences, which add a unique dimension to their sound. Their 2010 album, Spiral Shadow, showcased their ability to evolve while maintaining their heavy, sludge roots.

Key Albums:

Spiral Shadow (2010)

Ultraviolet (2013)

Exhausting Fire (2015)

Influence and Style:

Kylesa’s music often features hypnotic rhythms, trippy guitar effects, and raw, visceral energy. Their innovative approach has cemented their place as one of the genre’s most forward-thinking bands.

3. High on Fire

Founded by Matt Pike of Sleep, High on Fire has been a relentless force in the sludge metal scene. Their blend of aggressive riffs, thunderous drumming, and Pike’s growling vocals has made them a standout act. Their 2012 album, De Vermis Mysteriis, is a testament to their unyielding heaviness and creative storytelling.

Key Albums:

De Vermis Mysteriis (2012)

Luminiferous (2015)

Electric Messiah (2018)

Influence and Style:

High on Fire’s sound is characterized by its raw intensity and relentless energy. Their ability to craft epic, riff-heavy tracks has earned them a reputation as one of the most powerful bands in the genre.

4. Black Tusk

Also hailing from Savannah, Black Tusk is known for their high-energy performances and sludge-punk sound. Their 2011 album, Set the Dial, and the subsequent releases have showcased their ability to blend aggressive punk influences with heavy sludge metal.

Key Albums:

Set the Dial (2011)

Pillars of Ash (2016)

TCBT (2018)

Influence and Style:

Black Tusk’s music is fast-paced, raw, and unrelentingly heavy. Their punk-infused sludge metal has made them a favorite among fans of both genres.

5. Torche

Torche, formed in Miami, Florida, is known for their unique blend of sludge metal and pop sensibilities, often referred to as “sludge-pop.” Their 2012 album, Harmonicraft, is a prime example of their ability to create catchy yet heavy music.

Key Albums:

Harmonicraft (2012)

Restarter (2015)

Admission (2019)

Influence and Style:

Torche’s music features soaring melodies, infectious hooks, and heavy, down-tuned guitars. Their ability to balance accessibility with heaviness has earned them widespread acclaim.

6. Mastodon

Though Mastodon has been around since the early 2000s, their post-2010 work has continued to push the boundaries of sludge metal. Their 2011 album, The Hunter, marked a shift towards more accessible songwriting while maintaining their progressive sludge roots.

Key Albums:

The Hunter (2011)

Once More ‘Round the Sun (2014)

Emperor of Sand (2017)

Influence and Style:

Mastodon’s music is known for its intricate compositions, powerful vocals, and conceptual storytelling. Their ability to evolve while staying true to their heavy roots has solidified their status as sludge metal icons.

7. Pallbearer

Pallbearer, hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, is known for their doom-laden sludge metal sound. Their 2012 debut album, Sorrow and Extinction, received critical acclaim for its emotional depth and crushing heaviness.

Key Albums:

Sorrow and Extinction (2012)

Foundations of Burden (2014)

Heartless (2017)

Influence and Style:

Pallbearer’s music is characterized by its mournful melodies, heavy riffs, and introspective lyrics. Their ability to convey deep emotions through their music has made them a standout act in modern sludge metal.

8. Inter Arma

Inter Arma, from Richmond, Virginia, has gained a reputation for their genre-blending approach, incorporating elements of black metal, doom, and sludge into their sound. Their 2013 album, Sky Burial, showcased their ability to create epic, atmospheric tracks.

Key Albums:

Sky Burial (2013)

Paradise Gallows (2016)

Sulphur English (2019)

Influence and Style:

Inter Arma’s music is known for its expansive, cinematic quality and dynamic range. Their ability to blend different metal subgenres into a cohesive whole has earned them critical acclaim.

9. Conan

Conan, from Liverpool, UK, is known for their monolithic, crushing sound that blends doom and sludge metal. Their 2012 album, Monnos, and subsequent releases have showcased their ability to create heavy, droning tracks that are both relentless and immersive.

Key Albums:

Monnos (2012)

Blood Eagle (2014)

Existential Void Guardian (2018)

Influence and Style:

Conan’s music is characterized by its slow tempos, heavy riffs, and guttural vocals. Their uncompromising heaviness has made them a standout act in the sludge metal scene.

10. YOB

YOB, from Eugene, Oregon, has been a pillar of the doom and sludge metal scene since their formation. Their 2011 album, Atma, and the subsequent releases have cemented their reputation as one of the genre’s most powerful and emotional acts.

Key Albums:

Atma (2011)

Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)

Our Raw Heart (2018)

Influence and Style:

YOB’s music is known for its epic scope, emotional depth, and crushing heaviness. Their ability to create deeply moving and powerful music has earned them critical acclaim and a dedicated following.

See Also: 15 of the Most Positive Metal Songs


The 2010s have seen a remarkable evolution in sludge metal, with bands pushing the genre’s boundaries while staying true to its heavy roots. From the melodic and progressive approaches of Baroness and Torche to the raw intensity of High on Fire and Conan, these ten bands have made significant contributions to the sludge metal landscape. Each band brings a unique style and perspective, showcasing the genre’s diversity and depth. As sludge metal continues to evolve, these bands stand as testaments to its enduring power and appeal.

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