9 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

A paragon of stoner-rock perfection, Sleep’s Holy Mountain epitomizes the gloriously lumbering swing first accessed in Black Sabbath’s “Hole in the Sky” and makes it slower, funkier, and meaner. A power trio consisting of bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist Matt Pike, and drummer Chris Hakius, Sleep blends its instrumental voices in such a way that the band forms its own tectonic rumble, which manifests and then hovers parallel to whatever groove it's playing. The riffs on Holy Mountain are so deep and rich that to listen to the album on headphones is to dissemble a normative sense of space and time. The album’s imagery is primarily drawn from ancient religious ceremonies, monsters of legend, and marijuana rituals. Sleep refuses to simply serve as entertainment for listeners, insisting on completely engulfing spectators in sound. While Sleep’s approach might at first seem disorienting and brutal, total submission to this album’s sound design will result in elation and otherworldly transportation. Mission accomplished.

EDITORS’ NOTES

A paragon of stoner-rock perfection, Sleep’s Holy Mountain epitomizes the gloriously lumbering swing first accessed in Black Sabbath’s “Hole in the Sky” and makes it slower, funkier, and meaner. A power trio consisting of bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist Matt Pike, and drummer Chris Hakius, Sleep blends its instrumental voices in such a way that the band forms its own tectonic rumble, which manifests and then hovers parallel to whatever groove it's playing. The riffs on Holy Mountain are so deep and rich that to listen to the album on headphones is to dissemble a normative sense of space and time. The album’s imagery is primarily drawn from ancient religious ceremonies, monsters of legend, and marijuana rituals. Sleep refuses to simply serve as entertainment for listeners, insisting on completely engulfing spectators in sound. While Sleep’s approach might at first seem disorienting and brutal, total submission to this album’s sound design will result in elation and otherworldly transportation. Mission accomplished.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5

131 Ratings

131 Ratings

A sludgefeast for the ears.

coloredfbiguy

Sounds like Tony Iommi being dragged by his hair through molasses.

ASBESTOS DEATH now available on itunes. but get this first.

Hekkler

You should get this CD. THEN get the newly released CD of ASBESTOS DEATH. Then get HIGH ON FIRE & OM. When you are done, you are free to die! Thanks.

Beyond Sabbath

fullorangejacket

If Black Sabbath were a religion, Sleep would be it's high priests. The first track, "Dragonaut", starts calmy enough only to pummel you once the super-Iommi riff kicks into full gear. After that the album is just one big, writhing pile of stone and sludge. Guitarist Matt Pike (currently in High On Fire) lays down some of the heaviest riffs that Black Sabbath never wrote, while Al Cisneros (currently in Om, with Sleep drumer Chris Haikus) drawns you into his own fantasy world of Atlantis, insectoids, dragons, and space travel. Some songs may also contain more subtle Sabbath refences. "Dragonaut" and "Supernaut" are similarly titled. "The Druid" may allude to "The Wizard. "From Beyond" is the name of an H.P. Lovecraft story, as is "Behind (Beyond) The Wall Of Sleep". "Some Grass" is similar tracks like "Embroyo" and "Fluff". And make note of the slash on "Evil Gypsy/Solomon's Theme". A reference to tracks like "War Pigs/Luke's Wall"? Decide for yourself.

About Sleep

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 time together, they issued some of the heaviest, most uncompromising doom metal albums ever recorded.

Formed around the beginning of the '90s in San Jose, California, by bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarists Matt Pike and Justin Marler, and drummer Chris Haikus, Sleep instantly drew comparisons to underappreciated '80s doomsters like the Obsessed, Pentagram, and especially Saint Vitus. Their sludgy 1991 debut was named Volume One in honor of their sonic godfathers Black Sabbath, but it wasn't until Marler's departure (reportedly to become a monk!) and the release of 1993's Sleep's Holy Mountain that their own unique doom metal vision truly began coming into focus. The album became a favorite of the heavy metal press, and Sleep were heralded alongside other promising retro-rocking groups like Kyuss and Monster Magnet as leaders of the newly emerging stoner rock/doom metal scene. Such was the buzz surrounding the group that, following a short European tour supporting first-generation doomsters Trouble and English hopefuls Cathedral, Sleep were reportedly offered an unprecedented six-figure deal by London Records. But instead of grabbing their chance at mainstream stardom for all it was worth, Sleep vowed to delve even deeper into their incredibly heavy and slothful sound instead.

After almost two years of writing and rewriting material for their next album (to be named Dopesmoker, not surprisingly) amidst abundant weed consumption, the trio finally delivered its long-awaited epic, now named Jerusalem, to London Records. But to the label's surprise, Jerusalem comprised a single 60-minute magnum opus to marijuana that the band refused to edit or split up into sections under any circumstances. A complete deadlock ensued, tying up both parties in red tape for another two years. Finally, having smoked their entire cash advance through their bongs, Sleep decided to break up rather than surrender the album. Guitarist Matt Pike went on to form a new, more energetic heavy metal band called High on Fire, while drummer Chris Haikus eventually reunited with founding guitarist (and now ordained monk) Justin Marler in the Sabians. In the meantime, an unauthorized version of Jerusalem was quietly released by Rise Above Records, but it wasn't until 2003 that a supposedly authentic and fully endorsed version of Dopesmoker finally reached record store shelves, seemingly bringing the convoluted Sleep saga to a close at last.

However, in 2009 the band reunited in the U.K. for two sets at that year's All Tomorrow's Parties festival. Reinvigorated, Sleep continued to hit the festival circuit, though without original drummer Chris Hakius, who left shortly after the ATP performances. Neurosis drummer Jason Roeder was more than happy to step in, and between 2010 and 2014 the group continued to play sporadically. In 2014 Sleep released "Clarity," a nearly ten-minute single, via Adult Swim's 2014 weekly singles series, their first new recorded output in 20 years. The track was reissued by Southern Lord in 2017. The following year saw the band issue its long-awaited fourth studio album, The Sciences, via Third Man Records. The Sciences was released, appropriately, on 4/20. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

ORIGIN
San Jose, CA
GENRE
Rock
FORMED
1990

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