Sleep both epitomizes and transcends the excesses of weed-themed metal. Info/tix
The return of doom-metal pioneers Sleep is not just for your roommate who never does dishes. Yes, so much branding and marketing goes into reinforcing Sleep's attachment to stoner culture that it’s quite literally a buzz-kill, but the music itself accomplishes far more than that. While one aspect of Sleep's music is that it is probably real cool to close your bleary eyes and zone out to a song that’s literally over an hour long (namely the title track of 2003's Dopesmoker), there are plenty of other ways to enjoy Sleep. You can use the band's hypnotic tracks to quell a newborn back into a dream state. You can be a gearhead and geek out about the insanely well-sculpted low end that guitarist Matt Pike and bassist Al Cisneros create on tracks like “Marijuant’s Theme,” from 2018's reunion album The Sciences, and “Holy Mountain," from 1993's Sleep's Holy Mountain. And like most stoner metal, it serves well as background music in high-fantasy DND campaigns.
I’m also a big fan many of the bands that Sleep influenced in the doom genre, such as Conan and Slabdragger, two other bands that are perfectly enjoyable whether or not you're squarely within the stoner-dude demographic. The fact that Sleep emerged from its 10-year TH-Coma—erh, hiatus—is a testament to the band's resounding musicianship, the impact of Black Sabbath’s Vol. 4, and the power of gnarly riffs that can transcend decades. I’m just not gonna roll up and become extremely paranoid while listening to songs that revitalize the story of a giant sand-worm eating people in a desert, in space. Big Business, the furious and often smart-assed duo of bassist/vocalist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis, open up here behind a new album, The Beast You Are, which brings a more melodic and psychedelic touch to the band's sound. —John McCracken