Monday, April 23, 2018
Sleep : "the Sciences"
Now that the smoke cleared from 4-20 we can now take a look at the first album in two decades from Sleep. If you are new to stoner metal and just crawling out from under a mushroom, then you might know guitarist Matt Pike from this other band called High On Fire. Al Cisneros who handles the vocals has also played in OM and this time they have the drummer from Neurosis sitting behind the drums. I'll go ahead and warn you that the first song is just feed back and distortion and not really a song at all, though it might scare you. However they have been kind enough buds to let you known when it's safe to listen by including the sound of a water bong being fired up. The vocals come across a little different than I remember. They are lower and not as soaked in effects.
I think Jason Roeder's playing sparks new life into their overall sound. The lumbering thunder stirred up make "Sonic Titan" a fitting name for the song. I prefer the grooving movement of " Marijuanauts Theme", but if you are into stoner doom then this is the kind of volume intensive battery you are looking. The bass tone is thick and nasty as it should be, with fuzz coating your brain with every note. They wait for six minutes to bring in the vocals on "Sonic Titan" so have retained the jam like quality their brand of bong worshiping lends itself to.The album is produced in a way that begs to be played at maximum volume. It does have a dynamic ebb and flow as "Antarcticans Thawed" begins in a more subtle fashion with room to breathe in the chilly vibe. Four minutes into the song and it's not to bob your head along.
The albums third act finds their slow incorporation of melodic embellishments beginning to peak. "Giza Butler" has a more sinewy slither to it's narcotic pulse. It's rides on this until builds up to gallop across the desert in the last minute. If you are into guitar solos "The Botanist" puts a David Gilmore like blazer into the spotlight. Matt Pike has become a better guitarist over the years and this will only push his status as such further into consciousness of the general metal populous. Is this worth a two decade wait ? Is anything ? It does a good job of picking up where they left off. With these guys older and wiser the results doesn't come short of them proving themselves capable of sitting along side the like of Kyuss in the smoky halls of stoner metal royalty. I'll give this one a 9 and see how it sits with me though due to the rambling length of the songs I am not sure how much air time this will get .