Review Summary: Sleep's Holy Mountain > Dopesmoker
I’m assuming you’re on the search for music. What type of music do you like? Stuff that’s polished? Very well my good friend. There seems to be a problem with your order, however. Looking into polished music, I see nothing of the sorts here. All I see is Sleep. Now yes, you may think sleep is very pleasant, well, not anymore. This is a different type of sleep. Next time you think of Sleep, you will think of nightmares.
Indeed, Sleep’s Holy Mountain
is far from the polished, perfected piece of a musical technical masterpiece that you’ve been dreaming all your life for. Ridden with sloppy instrumentation, meandering vocals, fogging distortion, and songs that average around six minutes, this album is not easy listening of anyone, and does not match any expectations you may have been wishing. At the same time though, who wants extremely polished music to the point where it’s unrecognizable to the human mind and completely unrelated-able? I’m sure nobody other than an absolute instrumentalist could ever desire something completely robotic, which is why Sleep’s Holy Mountain
is such a masterpiece despite not quite being a masterpiece.
When things get started, it’s not hard to see where Sleep gets their influences. “Dragonaut” slithers with the same sense of heavy metal as Black Sabbath or even early influences to metal like Cream. Psychedelic riffs fill the voids in-between the shuffling drums, and at first the record sounds just like a dusty old, early 70’s Sabbath record. However, riffs build upon each other, with distorted layer after distorted layer clamoring and rubbing against each other. Eventually we get a piece of crunchy distortion wallowing around, being utilized as a main riff.
From this point on, it’s a foggy rut of slowly paced ruckus. Slogging on and on in layers of distortion, we get a sound that is crunchy, muddy, or, dare I say, sludge-y even. The drums keep precise rhythm, clicking at exact moments with bassist Al Cisneros, who only adds to the sludge fog. What we get, ultimately, is a bottomless pit of fuzz, pulsing itself along in a death march pace. Among this sound as well are the vocals, hollering to the listener of mythical lore, sometimes laced with warbling effects. It’s indecipherable at first, but as soon as the record begins to grow on the listener, the more the listeners hear of these strange tales. “Magic channeler of earth's frustration/The Druid sleeps in meditation”, Al Cisneros shouts on “The Druid”, a track that interrupts the album’s mammoth sound for some halting solos that prove Matt Pike’s abilities as in a purely technical sense. His tales give the album some purpose, some conceptualization for the listener to follow along to.
But that’s not at all what the listeners are there for. Rather, the bottomless pit sound, the pure atmosphere created on the record is what truly wraps the listener and brings them in. One of the first sludge record to truly take advantage of everything and live up to it’s full potential, Sleep’s Sleep’s Holy Mountain
feels like a classic for those who are searching for conceptualization, innovation, and atmospherics. Truly brilliant in it’s workings, Sleep’s Holy Mountain
is truly something to behold.