SLEEP

Stoner Metal / Doom Metal • United States
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After an overlooked debut, Sleep released a well-received follow-up, Sleep's Holy Mountain, in 1992 on Earache. The record had obvious Black Sabbath influences, and has been described as 'the best Black Sabbath never wrote.'

The success of Sleep's Holy Mountain landed Sleep a contract with a larger record company (London), who paid up front for Sleep's next record. As the story goes, Sleep went out and spent all the money on Orange amplifiers and marijuana (although this is denied by the band), then went on to record what is easily one of both stoner rock and doom metal's defining moments; the 1 hour long Dopesmoker.

London refused to publish the record, and Sleep privately released a somewhat shortened version of the song (as a bootleg) in 1998 as Jerusalem before splitting up. Jerusalem was properly released in 1999, however it took until 2003 for Dopesmoker to be released
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Thanks to Prog Geo, tupan, aglasshouse for the updates

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SLEEP Discography

SLEEP albums / top albums

SLEEP Volume One album cover 4.17 | 10 ratings
Volume One
Doom Metal 1991
SLEEP Sleep's Holy Mountain album cover 3.93 | 23 ratings
Sleep's Holy Mountain
Stoner Metal 1993
SLEEP Jerusalem album cover 4.00 | 8 ratings
Jerusalem
Stoner Metal 1999
SLEEP Dopesmoker album cover 4.24 | 27 ratings
Dopesmoker
Stoner Metal 2003
SLEEP The Sciences album cover 4.03 | 10 ratings
The Sciences
Stoner Metal 2018

SLEEP EPs & splits

SLEEP Volume Two album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Volume Two
Stoner Metal 1992

SLEEP live albums

SLEEP demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SLEEP Demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo
Doom Metal 1990

SLEEP re-issues & compilations

SLEEP singles (2)

.. Album Cover
3.92 | 2 ratings
The Clarity
Stoner Metal 2014
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 2 ratings
Leagues Beneath
Stoner Metal 2018

SLEEP movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

SLEEP Reviews

SLEEP Volume One

Album · 1991 · Doom Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Initially formed as Asbestosdeath by the trio of Al Cisneros (vocals, bass), Chris Hakius (drums) and Tom Choi (guitars), the band that would become SLEEP released two EPs under that moniker before ultimately losing Choi who would go on to form bands like Noothgrush and then adding guitarist Matt Pike for changing its name to the more familiar one. In the beginning, Asbestosdeath was an extreme sludge metal band much more in the vein of Eyehategod than the fuzz maestros that cranked out such classics as “Sleep’s Holy Mountain” and “Dopesmoker” but during this intermediate stage SLEEP retained some of the sludge magic mojo while steering its sound more into a plodding doom metal band with sludgy accoutrements.

The band’s two EPs as Asbestosdeath only featured four tracks and all of them were reworked and re-recorded to fit into the band’s doom metal sound that was released with five new tracks on SLEEP’s debut album VOLUME ONE which came out the following year in 1991. Unfortunately Justin Marler would soon depart the world of music to start a life as a monk but stuck around long enough to participate in this album which is SLEEP’s only one to feature four members instead of the power trio they are known to be on future releases. This album found two simultaneous releases with the vinyl appearing on the Very Small label and the CD on Tupelo.

For anyone familiar with the stoner metal fuzz of the band’s later albums, this debut may come as quite a surprise as it is much more focused on the compositions rather than a meditative fuzz frenzy that would soon follow. In the album’s near 46 minute run the procession of the tracks range from quite and completive to furious and angst ridden. The opening chants prognostic the medicative route the band would soon embark upon but the music soon becomes choppy jagged guitar riffs tamed into doom ridden chunks although the sludge distortion and screamed vocals remains on VOLUME ONE.

While the riffs often have a Black Sabbath feel to them, the Eyehategod sludge methodology is also present and SLEEP finds itself in between the two styles somewhat equidistantly with moments of one aspect or the other dominating. There are also breaks that find bass led grooves lead the guitar and drums into complex almost progressive interludes and the vocals calm down to weird narrative prose. The album is well paced as the moments of slower pastiches mixed with the rampaging metal heft are perfectly nurtured for all the right effects to unleash. The dueling guitars may not seem prominent but adds an interesting off-kilter counterpoint to the overall mix. The drumming is often simplistic as in some sludge metal but Hakius also provided some stellar workouts including interesting cymbal action.

VOLUME ONE doesn’t seem to get nearly as much love as SLEEP’s following stoner metal releases but i find this to be one compelling slab of molten metal madness that perfectly fuses the best of sludge metal with the traditional doom styles of the 70s. The musicians are all top notch and throw in some excellent technical workouts from time to time between the plodding slow paced procession throughout the album. The tracks aren’t at all predictable with meandering riffing styles generating a series of unexpected deviations from a simple chord dominated style of doom metal. IMHO this one is woefully under-appreciated as doom metal aficionados seem to write SLEEP off as a stoner metal band and for some reason the stoner crowds don’t find this one to be very compelling. In many ways i find this debut to be the most interesting SLEEP album of all although i have to admit i’m a sucker for that fiery fuzz that follows.

SLEEP The Sciences

Album · 2018 · Stoner Metal
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Warthur
After all this time, and particularly considering that its members had gone off to do other projects, did anybody expect Sleep to ever put out another album? No - but good things come to those who wait. A full decade after reforming for very occasional live gigs, Sleep woke up in a bleary haze on 4/20 and passed us some of the good stuff - namely, a set of six songs in the classic Sleep vein. Nothing here is quite as mind-crushingly heavy as Dopesmoker, but that's only to be expected - nothing is as heavy as Dopesmoker - but I'd say in general it's consistently heavier and slower than, say, Sleep's Holy Mountain. If you know your stoner doom, you already know what to expect from Sleep, and they deliver it here as though they'd never been away.

SLEEP Dopesmoker

Album · 2003 · Stoner Metal
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aglasshouse
Before you read this review, I suggest you check this list to see if you are associated with or are infatuated with the thought of any of the following:

cannabis, hemp, hashish, pot, dope, weed, Mary Jane, bud, hash, bhang, reefer, toke, ganja

If you answered yes to any of these, then you are secured and fully applicable to continue reading.

Sleep's previous work, Sleep's Holy Mountain, was less of a exercise of creative muscle and more of a salute to one of bands foremost influences, Black Sabbath. The instruments were kicked up a few notches in speed and vehement energy, and the slow muddle of their debut was toned down. After the album's release though the band set their eyes on a newer and brighter future. In 1995 the band was set and ready to record a new shining prospect of an hour long track that showcased all of the band's skill and prowess. Due to several problems in the process, mainly a contract with Earache Records preventing them from recording until '96, and the debt the band suffered until signing with London Records, the album Jerusalem was not released until 1999. Jerusalem was a 52 minute epic due to the unauthorized editing down by London Records that the band refused to have released. After a while many versions of Jerusalem were created under different titles and formats, but the most well known, highly acclaimed, and liked by the band was the 2003 release titled Dopesmoker. Cisneros himself admitted it was his favorite and was the closest to what he wanted in the first place, so that's what we'll be looking at today.

Dopesmoker is a concept album of sorts, a muddy brown sludge fest of repetitious chords and rhythms, that supposedly tells of a caravan crossing the desert to transport cannabis. The song is a giant drone-fest no doubt, and is probably one of the biggest milestones of stoner music in current history. Many doom metal bands have either cited it as an influence or a highly admirable piece of music, and I agree with that sentiment. Any fan of doom metal would find this grinding journey of an album to give you your desired state of comatose perfection any day of the week. Dopesmoker isn't subtle, no. But it's amateur composition and recording process make it one of the most organic and overall 'human' pieces I've heard in the metal circuit. Take a load off and go with the flow, bro.

SLEEP Sleep's Holy Mountain

Album · 1993 · Stoner Metal
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aglasshouse
A humble step forward for the band, Sleep's second album Sleep's Holy Mountain is a wholehearted tribute to 70's Black Sabbath, with faster riffs and ultimately faster songs. It's actually quite a shock when going from Volume One to this, due to the lighter (or just less somber atmosphere) of this record. As I said before this is mainly a full-blown incorporation of Sabbath's sound (circa debut/Paranoid), from the completely changed vocals of Cisneros to a more Osbourne style yell, to the faster guitar riffing to create a more streamlined sound. Don't let that turn you off in the slightest, because this album rocks hard, with perhaps more vigor than Volume One. With a newfound confidence, Sleep goes full steam ahead!

SLEEP Volume One

Album · 1991 · Doom Metal
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aglasshouse
Sleep's debut is everything a debut should be: a spotlight of everything that the band stood for and would continue to stand for in the future. The slow dragging of lead footed guitar grinds that nod sleepily along to the heart-pounding jam of the drums was something doom metal, especially the stonerriffic Sleep's brand, would be known for. A small con, if you could call it that, is the hoarse, screaming vocals of Al Cisneros, whose style is very akin to Page Hamilton of Helmet. The only difference being Helmet's addition of noise rock to their alternative metal slamming style filled in any amateurish gaps that Hamilton's voice didn't. Cisneros has the problem that he has a lower quality voice, and sticks out a bit from the music. Even with that, Volume One does utilize a dream-like metal state (very truthful to the band's nomenclature), advertised well with Dali's fried bacon portrait. This album's darker tone would be left behind slightly in subsequent albums, so you can expect some uniqueness that you wouldn't find in the rest of the band's discography. Great start!

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