Thursday 26 April 2018

SLEEP - The Sciences (Album Review)

Release date: April 20th 2018. Label: Third Man Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Sciences – Tracklisting

1. The Sciences (3:03)
2. Marijuanaut's Theme (6:39)
3. Sonic Titan (12:26)
4. Antarcticans Thawed (14:23)
5. Giza Butler (10:02)
6. The Botanist (6:27)


Al Cisneros – vocals, bass
Matt Pike – guitar
Jason Roeder – drums


Only SLEEP could have released their new album on 4/20. What made it more legendary is what the album was released immediately without any massive promotional campaign of any kind. For a band of SLEEP’s structure you expect a major announcement. Nope. Not with SLEEP. The global Weedian/Stoner Metal community was taken by major surprise that the album would be released straight away via DD/CD and Limited Edition Vinyls.

People have been expecting this album for a very long time to come. Ever since Sleep reformed almost a decade ago when they started playing regular gigs and tours. That anticipation reached fever pitch with the release of The Clarity back in 2014. We saw snippets of information being published on their media pages in the middle of last year. We hope that we weren’t expecting a TOOL style epic (and boring) on-going musical – will they/won’t they musical saga.

Nope. The new album was officially released 4/20. So here we are with – THE SCIENCES. Their first proper new studio album in twenty years. All I can say is that The Sciences is First and foremost, definitely a SLEEP album. All of their trademark sounds are there. Huge sounding Doom/Stoner riffs inspired by Black Sabbath and the Spaced Out Weedian Culture.

The album opens with – The Sciences – a Doom/Stoner Metal odyssey with hints of distorted sludge based noises. This is a very cool song to open the album with. As the anticipation of the familiar sound reaches fever pitch. The constant on-going riff reminds me of the opening from Dopesmoker. SLEEP start to add a subtle psychedelic groove.

The Sciences opens soon moves onto the trademark riffs of SLEEP and they are at the top of the game. Matt Pike, Al Cisneros and Jason Roeder are on inspired form. This is most definitely a team effort. The whole album at times feels like it was influenced by what has come before it. Especially with the other bands that the members are part of. Yes, Even Neurosis as well. With Jason’s hard-hitting and intelligent drumming.

You can expect to hear OM style drone/stoner rhythms on songs such as Marijuanaut's Theme, Sonic Titan and Antarticans Thawed. The heaviest parts of the album perhaps come from Matt Pike’s guitars and mostly with his work from High On Fire. That’s to be expected. As both OM and High On Fire originally came from SLEEP.

I know that Sonic Titan and Antarticans Thawed are not exactly new songs. However they haven’t been heard like this before. Properly recorded and fully realised into a more spiritual experience. You know what to expect with SLEEP. They are perhaps one of the finest Stoner Metal bands currently out there.

The vocals from Al are superb throughout. This is perhaps the best he’s sounded in a very long time. The Sciences contains some of the best lyrics that SLEEP has ever committed to record. Trippy, psychedelic and all within the realm of Weedian spaced out culture.

The best songs on the album have to be Giza Butler and The Botanist. This is where SLEEP embrace a more reflective and psychedelic feeling. The Botanist is purely instrumental and it’s good to hear SLEEP concentrating more on progressive melodies than lyrical content.

The Sciences is superbly produced. I’ve heard some people complaining that it feels a little too rushed at times. Maybe I’m listening to a different album. The production is fantastic. As you can feel every riff, note and sound being played at maximum levels.

The Sciences sees SLEEP back at their most legendary best. We may never see another album released from SLEEP. And truth be told I’m fine with that. I don’t know if SLEEP could top this epic release. I thought it would be impossible to top Dopesmoker. However, SLEEP have managed to do just that with The Sciences. As SLEEP have delivered their best album to date.

The Sciences is simply a must have album.

Words by Steve Howe

You can buy The Sciences from Third Man Records on CD/DD/Vinyl now.