Friday, June 18, 2010
Sleep - Holy Mountain - Cassette tape on Earache Records
Setting heavy metal's evolutionary clock back to the stone-age days of Saint Vitus with their debut Volume One was seemingly not enough for San Jose's Sleep, who decided to time travel all the way back to the pre-historic days of earliest Black Sabbath with their second album, 1993's Sleep's Holy Mountain. Indeed, while Kyuss' Blues for the Red Sun and Monster Magnet's Spine of God are more frequently cited as the most influential and important albums in launching the American stoner/doom metal scene, not even these landmark releases compare to Holy Mountain for sheer devotion to unadulterated doom and copious weed consumption. In fact, as monolithic opener "Dragonaut" descends into a bass solo at its conclusion, one would be forgiven for expecting the band to segue straight into "N.I.B." -- such is their similarity to classic Sabbath. Instead, they grind into "The Druid," which despite a quick nod to the Sabs' "Electric Funeral," actually begins to establish Sleep's personality, as riff upon massive riff in the form of songs like "Evil Gypsy/Solomon's Theme" and the groove-heavy "Aquarian" flow from the speakers like molten lava. In an age of machine-gun double-bass drums, Sleep's most startling quality had to be their seemingly endless patience. As they slowly embark upon the mammoth power chords of the title track and "From Beyond," they also prolong the buildup of tension before delivering a final release of cathartic proportions. Besides greatly inspiring next generation doomsters like Electric Wizard, such unwavering dedication to weed would also set the stage for their controversial and unfortunate swan song Jerusalem -- featuring a single, mind-bending 52-minute track.
Click here to buy this awesome release!