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Sleep Ranked

Genre: Stoner Rock/Doom Metal/Psychedelic. I chose to rank Sleep's LP's only since their EP, 'Volume Two', contains only 3 tracks consisting of a Sabbath cover and two other songs already contained on their LP, 'Sleep's Holy Mountain'.

4.5 - Dam this album is the 'best ever' and probably heavier than anything Sleep's done up to this point. This third LP forcusing more on atmosphere with a strong-crusty atmosphere, dense bass tone, pounding riffs, and drum work that reeks of an almost tribal/rock style. The sheer beauty and emotion of the production and riffs/elements takes this album far above their previous LP 'Sleep's Holy Mountain'. An stronger doom vibe is found here too which compliments the bands effective dynamics. Now the 'doom' sections are necessarilly slow in the sense of drum work because the drums seem to always be pounding hard as I mentioned the tribal/rock styles earlier. Its the guitars that take on more of a doom tempo and like Sleep's debut Volume One this integration of mid paced drums and slow paced guitars really heightens everything! The psychedelic tag attributed to this band is more apparent than ever and everything seems to drone extremely hard but as anyone who is familiar with proper drone, its never a bad thing as long as the elements are extremely tasty which this album definitely is. Call it drone-rock if you will, with psychedelic tendancies. Even the vocals are more 'droney' as they tend to creep in with long drawn out words in a clean sung raspy sort of fashion. Basically, simply said, this album is basically sex. The main drawbacks is the riffs can drone on a little too long from time to time but after a hamonizing lead solo saves the impatience things completely come back together perfectly again. The album also comes together hard when the music drops low to a clean section around the mid-way album mark and ladies and gentlement we are takin' pure psychedelic goodness here, I mean here's the thing. The only thing that would make this album perfect would be if the drums went more berzerk and utilized more handwork with jazz added to the tribal- rock style. I bet most of the people who rated this album a 3.5 and below didn't even listen to the whole thing. I bet they just listened to 3 minutes of it and said oh it looks like the riff hasn't changed so ima just 2 it now. Lol, quees.
Volume One

4 - Volume One is a great start to Sleep's catalogue. Right from the beginning they've been a solid band. Their characteristics of Stoner Rock and Doom Metal are also aspects notable since their inception. The slowed down tempos of stoner rock goodness are what really make this album tasty, even from the beginning. Usually doom metal has some pretty boring minimal drum work on them but here with Sleep they're using what good about doom metal which is the slowed down tempo which allows the flavors to impress and circulate around the mind while the drums which are more in the format of rock music, while staying in tempo, add groove and enjoyability to the mix. Heaviness is never lost by these rock qualities; Sleep manages to effectively crush while inducing hip shakes in their listeners. The vocals on this album are top notch and favor a mid-high range crusty scream approach. They fit very well and add a good deal of emotion to the music. One of my favorite elements on this album is the use of clean vs distorted sections, especially after dynamic crescendo shifts. Hearing a solid groove filled with raging distortions drop to a clean section following the same notes is quite rewarding. Although all passage/riff moments usually recover quite well, there are a few moments where the riffs grow a little stagnant, as if they could be stronger and more varied. But this doesn't happen too often at all. Most of the time, due to the production and grooves, you'll be immersed in atmospheres of exquisite delight. Dam how can I forget that audible bass. Dam this album is soooo good, a must listen. It's funny how this is usually overshadowed by Sleep's later releases but for any fan of Sleep who hasn't heard, dam, just dam, get on this now!!
Sleep's Holy Mountain

3.5 - Oh sputnik what am I going to do with you. Now, this is album is good and even great but its not as good as 'Volume One'. Don't ask my the averages don't justify what I'm saying. Well, first of all this album is more rock/stoner rock focused than anything else. The doom metal elements of their debut is almost non-apparent here which doesn't mean that has to be a bad thing but the emotional weight just isn't the same as Volume One. This isn't as delicate as Volume One. It is, however, still a damn fine album and the grooves are quite tasty but the drums aren't as good, the vocals aren't as strong, the riffs as said before don't hold the same emotional impact. This album is most similar to the band OM than anything else. Not sure who came first, I don't care. All that matters is this album is overrated and its a shame if there are any Sleep fans out their who've heard this but not Sleep's debut LP. Now don't get me wrong, this album is not a huge step back it's just not as strong as Volume One. There's still tons to love here and tons to get lost in. We still have clean and distorted tones, groovey-enjoyable riffs, dynamic builds and fitting vocals which are the backbone of this albums success. As good as the riffs are though its impossible to dismiss the fact that many of the riffs here could be a tad bit better and more inspirational and insightful like Volume One. The latter half of this album is much stronger thatn the beginning as well and damn those Sabbath vox really come out around that area and the Iommi riffs breathe hard. Still a great album nontheless.

3 - Following in the same dense atmosphere and similar production style as 'Jerusalem', 'Dopesmoker' is force to be reckoned with. Simply put the music is still great but riffs aren't as strong as Jerusalem or even Volume One for that matter. The psychedalic drone approach is still here but again the emotions of Jerusalem don't support this release as strongly. The main elements here that could be considered better than Jerusalem would be the use of deeper reverbs over the use of harmonizing lead solos but even then that's a pale comparison and a weak argument to say this is better than Jerusalem. Unlike Jerusalem, as well, the droning elements here don't have as much replay value and it isn't as enticing as one would hope. In fact, this could be considered boring at times as well. Definitely Sleep's weakest album to date but still a good one nonetheless and I still look forward to their possible 2014 release. Hopefully they either create something totally new or create an album that combines the best elements of Volume One and Jerusalem.
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