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Sleep's Holy Mountain

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Album Review

Setting heavy metal's evolutionary clock back to the stone-age days of Saint Vitus with their debut Volume One was seemingly not enough for San Jose's Sleep, who decided to time travel all the way back to the pre-historic days of earliest Black Sabbath with their second album, 1993's Sleep's Holy Mountain. Indeed, while Kyuss' Blues for the Red Sun and Monster Magnet's Spine of God are more frequently cited as the most influential and important albums in launching the American stoner/doom metal scene, not even these landmark releases compare to Holy Mountain for sheer devotion to unadulterated doom and copious weed consumption. In fact, as monolithic opener "Dragonaut" descends into a bass solo at its conclusion, one would be forgiven for expecting the band to segue straight into "N.I.B." — such is their similarity to classic Sabbath. Instead, they grind into "The Druid," which despite a quick nod to the Sabs' "Electric Funeral," actually begins to establish Sleep's personality, as riff upon massive riff in the form of songs like "Evil Gypsy/Solomon's Theme" and the groove-heavy "Aquarian" flow from the speakers like molten lava. In an age of machine-gun double-bass drums, Sleep's most startling quality had to be their seemingly endless patience. As they slowly embark upon the mammoth power chords of the title track and "From Beyond," they also prolong the buildup of tension before delivering a final release of cathartic proportions. Besides greatly inspiring next generation doomsters like Electric Wizard, such unwavering dedication to weed would also set the stage for their controversial and unfortunate swan song Jerusalem — featuring a single, mind-bending 52-minute track.

Customer Reviews


stoner rock at its finest best songs: solomons theme, holy mountain, from beyond

Bridges the Gap Between Stoner Rock and Stoner Metal

This is one of the finest Stoner rock/metal albums ever made. Every song is easily memorable and filled with great riffs, with the only "downer" being the last song, Nain's Baptism (I think it goes on for too long, or just needs to change up a bit somewhere). Would be a great introduction to Stoner rock/metal. Highly recomended.


OK I only bought this album recently, but even in 1992 it would have been dated. Don't get me wrong, it's highly enjoyable, and it's easy to see how these guys morphed into Om and High on Fire, both awesome bands. But Holy Mountain sounds very much like a training run and something that Black Sabbath could have easily written somewhere around 1976, so it doesn't really contribute to the evolution of music.


Formed: 1990 in San Jose, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

Perhaps the ultimate stoner rock band, Northern California trio Sleep had a career that wafted in and out of focus from within their self-mandated cloud of marijuana smoke. In their short time together, they issued some of the heaviest, most uncompromising doom metal...
Full bio
Sleep's Holy Mountain, Sleep
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Customer Ratings