Perhaps it’s not surprising that Sleep have taken a decade and a half to produce a follow-up to their last album, 1999’s Jerusalem; they were, after all, the band who coined the term ‘Marijuanaut’ (n. one who leaves Earth to cultivate ‘erb in space) on that very record.
A linguistic triumph, no doubt (and a coinage that by rights should have predated ‘selfie’s induction into the OED), but a term which leaves one with certain assumptions about their work-rate all the same…
But, lo and behold, the hemp-happy trio have evidently put aside their bongs, laid down their rips and deleted their dealers from speed-dial in order to commence work on their first truly new release for 15 years (2002’s Dopesmoker is essentially the same thing as Jersusalem, purists be damned).
Actually, I’m being unfair – the band have hardly been idle. Comprising as it does of Matt ‘High on Fire’ Pike, Al ‘OM’ Cisneros and former Neurosis drummer Jason Roeder (original drummer Chris Hakius having long-since packed up his kit and made for the hills), Sleep’s members have been pumping out records of varying degrees of brilliance with their different acts since they split for the first time in the late ’90s.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that they are – at least according to a report paraphrasing Cisneros on Alibi.com – united once again and currently hard at work on a new record.
Alas, here I am presented with a problem. With no direct quote referenced in the original report, we can’t definitively prove that Al has tied his colours to the mast.
However, given the nature of the metal scene and the way in which news travels around it (not to mention the fact that the revived Sleep have been tearing things up on the live scene for the past couple of years), I’d be surprised if it wasn’t true. In fact, I’d stake my journalistic reputation on it – though seeing as I’ve just revealed to you my shoddy hack methodology for generating stories, that isn’t necessarily saying very much.
Anyway, here’s what the Alibi write-up had to say about the matter: “Via phone, Cisneros recounts intense rehearsal schedules for both stoner doom threesome Sleep and experimental drone trio OM. With a solo EP dropping tout suite on Drag City, albums in process for Sleep and OM, and having just exhaustively toured Europe with OM…”
Exciting news, eh, fuzz fans? While one wonders how on Earth the band are going to ‘top’ Jerusalem, their sprawling hour-long single-song epic, it’ll certainly be fun to find out.
If you’ve made it this far, a potted biography of the band is surely unnecessary. But very well.
Sleep were formed out of the ashes of a hardcore band called Asbestos Death in California in the late ’80s and went on to release a series of increasingly seminal records that are widely credited alongside the early work of bands like Kyuss and Monster Magnet with ushering in the ‘stoner rock’ scene that’s still thriving today. Their most significant albums were Jerusalem and the band’s Sabbath-worshipping 1993 disc Holy Mountain.