Ah, yes. The mighty sonic titans, Sleep. At one point in time, we all thought Sleep was a fun nostalgia trip. With Al Cisneros and Chris Haikus going on to form OM (Haikus leaving after their album Pilgrimage) and Matt Pike taking his shredding and forming High on Fire, why go back? Well, after a few reunion shows and some festival appearances (with Jason Roeder of Neurosis on drums) Sleep have since released a single and it is dripping with everything that made Sleep popular after their demise. Riffs, a heavy groove and weed. Praise Iommi.
I first discovered Sleep watching the movie Gummo (which, by the way has an excellent metal soundtrack) when Solomon and Tummler huff some airplane glue and bomb on their bicycles down a hill in town. Sleep’s “Dragonaut” blasts as some sort of anthem of youth with nothing better to do than huff glue and ride their bikes. Beautiful, really. That was off their full length 1993 Holy Mountain. I can say with certainty that 21 years later, Sleep still fucking has it.
The song is almost an ode to their own powerful existence and to the leaf. It has the slow rhythmic plodding of an Om tune, the kind of thing that makes you nod your head without even realizing. Layered over this is Pike’s delicious overdriven riffage. All while Roeder keeps things tight slamming his kit. The lyrics are weed soaked and an obvious tribute to the plant as well as to the mighty Tony Iommi.
Stoned chariot ascending
Smokes the true believer.
The dealer is my refuge.
Heavy dry weight
Hasheeshian smoked relief.
Iommic life complete.
Around halfway through the haze clears and enters Matt Pike’s keef laden solo over the slow pulse of Cisneros and Roeder’s back beat. This song truly rips and has had me excited for the last 3 years about possible new music. It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that Om and High on Fire are among my favorites so hearing new Sleep combine those elements is fantastic. This particular release is only one side with the B side etched and pressed onto a gorgeous translucent green (this particular pressing limited to 420.) I was lucky enough to purchase this first hand at their show at Thalia Hall in Chicago.
Thanks for stopping through and I’ve included a link to the track below as well as a Discogs link for the vinyl nerds. Until next time!