22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Stoner Metal At Its Best,
This review is from: Holy Mountain (Audio CD)
Sleep are a band of somewhat cult status now, and it's mostly thanks to this monstrously heavy riff onslaught, and of course their 60+ minute journey aptly named 'Dopesmoker'.
For those High on Fire fans, you probably already know this, but if not, Matt Pike was the lead guitarist for Sleep, and he certainly laid down a few smacking riffs in their short discography. Along with makeshift vocalist/bassist Al Cisneros, Sleep made a brutal, raw form of stoner rock/metal with next to no production qualities, and next to none articulacy for the lyrics. But that simply adds to the nasty flavour.
The album starts off with a bang, 'Dragonaut' is a Sleep classic, starting with a lovely Sabbathy riff, the band spiral in and out of more huge riffs, psychedelic lyrics (riding dragons to crimson eyes and the likes) and some lovely tempo changes. This song pretty much sums up what Sleep are all about, it's unapologetic, heavy and above all great fun. The fundamental thing that must be pointed out is that this is definitely not for people looking for 'fancy' and 'flowery' guitar work, intellectual lyrics and intricate drum playing. This is heavy, stoned metal. Its bloody brilliant too.
`The Druid' and 'Evil Gypsy/Solomon's Theme' are more of the same: riffs-a-plenty, silly lyrics sung with not much care, and above all they get my head and toes tapping. 'Solomon's Theme' it should be noted has a fantastic tempo change and a lovely climatic onslaught. Juicy.
'Some Grass' is a little break, a nice guitar only piece that leads us into 'Aquarium', one of my highlights of the album. The main riff here is simply stunning, and once again the band, while they would seem 'sludgy' at times, are actually very tight, and above all very patient. Never at any point do they get a good riff, and rush it, everything is taken with a sophisticated, relaxed feeling.
The last half of the album is simply relentless, far heavier and slower than the first part, containing two epics in the title track which bludgeons its 8 minutes away with an especially brutal middle section, and the simply huge sounding crescendos of 'From Beyond'. I've read some reviewers disliking the second half of the album, I did initially but now I enjoy it equally for its slower, heavier aspects.
Overall this album is great fun, its not intellectual, pretentious, fancy...its just no-messing, heavy stoner metal to sit back to and enjoy.
For fans of High on Fire, Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath, Kyuss etc