Sleep – The Sciences

Rating

Those sneaky bastards! After being my most-anticipated album for the past two or three years in a row, Sleep finally released their first full-length of new material in 20 years secretly, with no advanced fanfare, on 4/20. Because of course. The Sciences spans 53 minutes, and finally sees a proper studio recording of long-time live-set staple “Sonic Titan,” along with five more brand-new songs.

The title track kicks things off, by far the shortest song at a shade over three minutes. Alas, ’tis nothing but an extended intro mostly consisting of guitar feedback. The album gets off to a proper start with “Marijuanaut’s Theme,” a six-and-a-half-minute heavy stomper with a signature Matt Pike riff culled from the slower side of High on Fire’s catalogue. The vocals are properly chill and Cisneros-like, with an appropriate level of outer-space references and a pretty groovy instrumental jam around the midway mark. It’s maybe not quite “From Beyond” or “Holy Mountain,” but it’s still pretty solid.

The familiar (to most fans) “Sonic Titan” is delivered in a 12-and-a-half-minute rendition here. That riff still fuckin’ smokes, and it’s nice to actually hear what Al’s singing. (Turns out it’s about Zion and the man on the moon.) But the longest song is actually “Antarticans Thawed,” which clocks in at just under 14 and a half. Just like their most lengthy of tunes, this one has a bit of a slow buildup, with a repetitively ringing riff setting the tone. There’s a bit of “Aquarian” in the initial verse, while the second’s a little more akin to “From Beyond,” but overall, it’s still got that Dopesmoker vibe, what with the slow, heavy, headbangable riffs. You might say it’s got everything you’d want from a new Sleep track.

The cleverly titled “Giza Butler” is just a shade over 10 minutes. It starts off with a bass line that wouldn’t sound outta place on an OM album, and even includes a tambourine (or something similar sounding). Once the riffs kick in around the 2:15 mark, this is pure Sleep, although the meditative vocals, which sound a little too prominent in the mix, are more akin to Cisneros’ other outfit. At six-and-a-half minutes, “The Botanist” ends things on an unexpected note with some of the most mellow, melodic riffs I’ve ever heard on a Sleep record. It’s also entirely instrumental, a nice, slow jam for when the venue lights come on.

Hey, if Holy Mountain’s a 10 and Dopesmoker’s an 11, then this one’s a solid 8.5.

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SLEEP live

05/15/18 – PARIS – LE TRABENDO
05/16/18 – DUDINGEN – BAD BONN
05/17/18 – MILAN – CIRCOLO MAGNOLIA
05/18/18 – MUNICH – TECHNIKUM
05/19/18 – HAMBURG – MARKTHALLE
05/21/18 – STOCKHOLM – DEBASER STRAND
05/22/18 – OSLO – ROCKEFELLER
05/23/18 – COPENHAGEN – PUMPHUSET
05/25/18 – BERLIN – SO36
05/26/18 – UTRECHT – TIVOLI DE HELLING
05/27/18 – BRUSSELS – AB BOX
05/28/18 – LONDON – SHEPERD’S BUSH EMPIRE
06/05/18 – SEATTLE – THE SHOWBOX
06/06/18 – PORTLAND – ROSELAND
06/07/18 – SAN FRANCISCO – WARFIELD
06/08/18 – LOS ANGELES – THE WILTERN
06/09/18 – PHOENIX – THE VAN BUREN
06/10/18 – ALBUQUERQUE – SUNSHINE THEATER
06/11/18 – DENVER – OGDEN THEATER
07/22/18 – WASHINGTON DC – 9:30 CLUB
07/25/18 – PHILADELPHIA – ELECTRIC FACTORY
07/26/18 – BROOKLYN – BROOKLYN STEEL
07/27/18 – BROOKLYN – BROOKLYN STEEL
07/28/18 – BOSTON – ROYALE
07/29/18 – MONTREAL – HEAVY MONTREAL FEST
07/30/18 – TORONTO – DANFORTH MUSIC HALL
08/01/18 – CHICAGO – RIVIERA THEATRE
08/**/18 – COOKEVILLE – MUDDY ROOTS FESTIVAL

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.

8.5 Rating

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