SLEEP
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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DopesmokerDopesmoker
Southern Lord 2012
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$8.44 (used)
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Earache UK 2008
Audio CD$6.63
$19.00 (used)
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Vinyl$32.99
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SLEEP Discography

SLEEP albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Volume One
Doom Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 3.71 | 9 ratings
Sleep's Holy Mountain
Doom Metal 1993
.. Album Cover 3.99 | 4 ratings
Jerusalem
Doom Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 3.94 | 11 ratings
Dopesmoker
Doom Metal 2003

SLEEP EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo
Doom Metal 1990
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Volume Two
Doom Metal 1992

SLEEP live albums

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

SLEEP boxset & compilations

SLEEP singles (1)

.. Album Cover
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Clarity
Doom Metal 2014

SLEEP movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

SLEEP Reviews

SLEEP The Clarity

Single · 2014 · Doom Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Tupan
Against all the probabilities, Sleep returned after a hiatus of 16 years, releasing a new song through the 2014 Adult Swim Singles – remembering that is free for download. Many acts return years after disbanding, and we all know that most of these returns weren't worth the wait...

But rejoice, fans of Sleep, you all can get high again! The line-up is not the same, since the original drummer left the band. Some people felt this loss, but I couldn't see the difference, really! The musicianship shown in this song, named The Clarity, is excellent. Many nods to Black Sabbath and the 70's hard rock/proto-doom bands, with a generous dose of psychedelia in the last half.

This song is recommendded for the stoner/doom metal fans. Check it out!

SLEEP Dopesmoker

Album · 2003 · Doom Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
Sonic titan...

Genre: doom metal

With a band name like Sleep and an album title like Dopesmoker any connoisseur of doom metal – even if he or she was unfamiliar with Sleep – would be able to infer that this release contains music that probably fits very well into the stoner doom genre.

And, lo and behold, it does. Containing one track only (plus a very badly produced 11 minutes long live bonus track), which clocks in at 63 minutes (and, according to the promo material, has quite a history of writing, label rejection, rewriting, more rejection, renaming, rewriting, shelving etc.), Dopesmoker takes the listener on a journoey through a landscape of slow and heavy riffs, crunchy guitars, heavy but dynamic drums, and a big, fat, round bass, all of which is shrouded in a thick cloud of hashish-infused intervert atmosphere. The main source of inspiration – and the nearest comparable artists – appear to be early Black Sabbath, Pentagram and Saint Vitus (Sleep even make used of Iommi-styled double guitar blues-based solos).

Needless to say, 63 minutes of pure stoner doom is somewhat of a challenge to the uninitiated, and I can imagine that even some seasoned doom metal fans will need to just pause the album for a couple of minutes at the time. However, while the uninitiated may find this album monotonous and boring, people who understand doom metal will ultimately be able to appreciate the subtleties in variation and Sleep's use of heavy doom-laden riffs and the power of variation. In other words, all the aesthetics that define quality doom metal are there.

Seasoned fans of doom, stoner and sludge metal should definitely check out Sleep's Dopesmoker, but if you are new to the doom metal genre, you should probably save the release for later and go for some less dense and hypnotic releases. In any case, Dopesmoker is dark and heavy and strikes a perfect balance between the darkness of doom metal and the psychedelia of stoner rock.

(review originally posted at seaoftranquility.org)

SLEEP Dopesmoker

Album · 2003 · Doom Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
This audacious doom metal classic was previously released in a truncated form as Jerusalem, and there were a couple of extremely rare bootleg and promo releases preceding that; according to the band, no version which exist is quite identical to the one they submitted to their label for release, but this is the one which comes the closest. The title track, an hour long ode to weed which compares the experience of the drug with a holy pilgrimage and exhorts the listener to "drop out of life with bong in hand", takes the premises of stoner doom to an absolutely lunatic extreme, and does so whilst laying down some of the heaviest and slowest riffs ever recorded outside of full-on drone doom.

It'd an ambitious experiment, but it actually works - and you don't have to toke up to enjoy it. The slow, hypnotic pace of the track really does work best when it unfolds over the full hour, and the inclusion of the live track Sonic Titan as a little bonus at the end of the disc is the cherry on the cake. It's a shame that their record label, after hyping up the creative freedom they would have, balked at releasing this album for so long; unlike many legendary "lost albums", this one really does live up to its reputation as the band's best and most iconic work.

SLEEP Sleep's Holy Mountain

Album · 1993 · Doom Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Apparently, the recordings on Holy Mountain were demos recorded by Sleep in the hopes of landing a contract with Earache - and Earache turned around and released them as-is. Whilst it's nice that they had such confidence in the band, I can't help but think giving them the opportunity to have a crack at recording these songs with a professional budget would have been better in the long run - whilst Holy Mountain is an impressive appropriation of the Black Sabbath sound it does suffer from rather average-to-mediocre sound quality and production. We know from Dopesmoker (AKA Jerusalem) just how crushingly heavy Sleep could be when they had proper studio time; it's a shame they never had the chance to apply that to these songs.

SLEEP Dopesmoker

Album · 2003 · Doom Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kingcrimsonprog
Jerusalem by Sleep is an album with a very interesting history, released posthumously after the band’s demise in different forms none of which were the exact version the band intended upon releasing. Jerusalem was the first version to surface for commercial release in 1999 and Dopesmoker, a version closer to the band’s original plan found commercial release in 2003.

Which ever version you choose, it is really down to personal preference as they are both slightly different versions of not just the one album but the one song (discounting bonus tracks of course) I personally find Jerusalem to be a little better, it is edited and mixed to be slightly easier going on the listener, more like a normal song. If you are in this for the intensity of the experience however, Dopesmoker may be more for you.

The album consists of one track, almost an hour long, with very few vocals and lyrics about a caravan transporting cannabis across the desert. Read that sentence a few times, and that will be all you need to know as to whether or not this album is for you. One track. Almost an hour. Cannabis Caravan.

When I first heard about the album, I was very excited. I am a fan of a lot of 1970s prog rock bands who wrote 20 minute songs often and occasionally a few, like Jethro Tull who would write entire albums out of just one song. I am also a fan of Stoner Rock and the thought of combining the two seemed like an amazing idea.

The album is certainly amazing, a very intense and challenging experience with a hypnotic quality to it. It takes a few minutes before the drums even kick in and the band jam out each riff for minutes on end, trying a variety of drum beats under almost every one, going minutes on end without any vocals and then doing it all over again once the vocals come in, then doing it all yet again with guitar solos.

When prog bands wrote an album out of one song, they only really had forty minutes to cover because of vinyl. The extra twenty minutes makes Sleep’s effort all the crazier. Furthermore, prog bands wrote entire albums out of one song by filling them with hundreds and hundreds of ideas; with acoustic sections, piano sections, fast bits, slow bits, theme and variation and all the bells and whistles the could attach. If they had lyrics they would often tell some epic story to capture your imagination.

Sleep deliver the experience with about six or seven riffs in the whole song, the only paces to be found are slow, slower and funereal. The vocals are monotone and though the lyrics technically do tell a story, they are so few and far between that it doesn’t drive the record. The lack of variety is impressive (or horrible depending on your personal taste.)

To summarize, Jerusalem/Dopesmoker won’t be to everyone’s tastes, it is very challenging but a really unique experience. Its heavy, with absolutely massive riffs too, in case you thought otherwise. If you like the idea, definitely give it a shot.

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