Sleep - The Sciences review

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Band: Sleep
Album: The Sciences
Release date: April 2018

01. The Sciences
02. Marijuanaut's Theme
03. Sonic Titan
04. Antarcticans Thawed
05. Giza Butler
06. The Botanist

We all knew this was coming. But announcing it one day before its release date, which is also fucking 4/20 - that only Sleep can do.

There were plenty of reasons to believe that Sleep would put out a new album, even though they hadn't recorded a new one since 1996, and that was one whose release the band wasn't involved in. The band did reunite in 2009, playing songs that didn't have studio versions yet, like "Antarcticans Thawed" and "Sonic Titan", which had a live version on the 2003 edition of Dopesmoker. But Sleep also proved that they weren't gonna be strangers to the studio forever, with the release of The Clarity. And with all these speculations still heavy in the air they pulled out a surprise release, and, damn, was it worth it.

Surprisingly, "The Clarity" wasn't included on The Sciences, not even as a bonus track on any version. However both "Antarcticans Thawed" and "Sonic Titan" do finally get their well-earned studio versions, creating a nice completionist feeling. But, as on The Clarity, this does feel a bit different from the Sleep of the '90s. For one, Chris Hakius is missing from the drum kit, replaced by Neurosis's Jason Roeder. And also, considering the long time that had passed since the break-up, there is a lot of influence on sound brought by the projects that they've been working on in the meantime, like Shrinebuilder, Om, and High On Fire. While this may displease some hardcore fans, it does keep The Sciences from being just a rehash of olden days, something like, say, Black Sabbath's 13.

Aside from the misguided opener, the rest of the tracks are quite what you'd expect from a new Sleep record - that is, long, meditative, mountain-leveling, distorted, drawn-out epics. Even the 6-minute-long songs feel like epics, giving the album the feeling of a journey, albeit a really slow, slothful, and dreamy one. Pretty much like the one the astronaut is having on the cover, only instead of the void of space, it's some thick liquid. While not exactly on "Dopesmoker" levels of running-through-jelly, there is certainly a heavy feeling to The Sciences, but there are moments that are less sluggish and more engaging, mostly the guitar solos. Then there's "The Botanist", which is a surprisingly jazzy song, which does also prove that Sleep ain't just 'bout rehashing. And not only are the performances on this album likely seeing Sleep in their peak, but also the production is likely the reason why The Sciences could be everything that was ever great about Sleep but even better. And as expected the lyrics are full of weed and Black Sabbath references. Like, there's even one track directly referencing Geezer Butler in it's title. Also the lyrics talk of the Marijuanaut travelling through the Iommosphere, to planet Iommia to inhale the rifftree.

The mantra-like zoned-out vocals, the heavy distorted wall of riffs and the solos that climb over it, the bass and the drums that only make the journey to Iommia so much heavier. A questionable opener but a great closer. And a final nod to the surprise release instead of a mediatized tease.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Written on 20.05.2018 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 140 users
22.05.2018 - 15:43
If you look reeeeaaaalllly closely, you can see the THC crystals interwoven in the album art
And blood black nothingness began to spin. A system of cells interlinked within cells interlinked within cells interlinked within one stem. And dreadfully distinct against the dark, a tall white fountain played.
22.05.2018 - 17:56
I Am Cool
Thought these dudes died with the 90s
22.05.2018 - 20:19
Doit Like Bernie
Written by I Am Cool on 22.05.2018 at 17:56

Thought these dudes died with the 90s

What is dank may never die

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