Sleep's Holy Mountain review by Sleep

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  • Released: Nov 16, 1993
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.6 (34 votes)
Sleep: Sleep's Holy Mountain

Sound — 9
"Sleep's Holy Mountain" is the second album by the classic stoner band who's main influence is the early works of Black Sabbath. It has a very do-it-yourself garage type feel to the recording which is a great antidote to the very polished sound of contemporary bands at the time which harks back to the first Black Sabbath record, and also Monster Magnet's "Spine of God" and Kyuss' "Blues for the Red Sun." The drums and bass lead the huge riffs, between which are liberally scattered Matt Pike's trademark guitar solos. There's not too much variety, though "Dragonaut" features a great bass solo with envelope filter and "Some Grass" is a guitar break reminiscent of Tony Iommi's "Orchid" and "Embryo" from Sabbath's "Masters of Reality." Overall the record sounds like a claustrophobic underground metal gig permeated with pot smoke.

Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are pretty abstract to say the least, with Dio-inspired dragons and mentions of a druid (referencing Sabbath's drug dealer in "The Wizard") and with the bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros' voice being treated with effects it's clear the vocals are intended more as an additional instrument than to give any clear direction as to the meaning of the songs. The record is compelling listening nonetheless, and there's certainly variety in the vocal style through the album.

Overall Impression — 10
"Sleep's Holy Mountain" is one of the big three stoner records, and compares favourably with the work of Kyuss and Monster Magnet, as well as being a great record for fans of the Sleep members later bands High On Fire and Om. I think it works best as a party album or a driving record. The three musicians are highly skilled individually, and together they've crafted what I consider to be a metal masterpiece.

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10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I don't think Sleep is underrated. Anyone who matters knows they were the best.
    how exactly is "Some Grass" anything like a reminiscent of Tony Iommi's "Orchid" and "Embryo" from Sabbath's "Masters of Reality."?...i would maybe classify this piece as twangy southern rockabilly (its like a banjo if it isn't). while "orchid" and "embryo" were more of a gothic orchestral sounds. just wanted to post my opinion having come across this nearly 4 years after this review was written just to be THAT GUY on the web because the other comparison made was silly... also i was hoping to find tabs for this tune and no luck if anyone can direct me to some other songs with definite similarity that would be awesome!
    Dopesmoker wrote: I don't think Sleep is underrated. Anyone who matters knows they were the best.
    agreed 100% one of the best albums of all time
    You know, it's sad that I'm only the 4th person to comment on how monumental this album is, and the Panic at the Disco albums probably have pages and pages of comments. This album lets you know that heavy music is cock of the walk, and that bands with eyeliner and girl pants had better hope that people continue to be stupid and listen to what they're told to listen to. Hell, I don't even smoke dope. Maybe I should. So I could appreciate shit, I mean emo...
    fumb duck
    drug-free, i loved this album and dopesmoker, but im leaning more towards this album
    Very awesome album. Like all you guys, I am drug free too (most of the time). I'll admit I have been influenced by stoner bands which has lead me to smoke weed a few times, but I have never really been an occasional smoker. But I reckon there are a lot of people like us out there that have no real interest in weed, yet we love the genre created by stoners! You don't have to be stoner to enjoy it, you feel it, and that's what other people don't get, they're too stuck in the world of shitty mainstream acts. It really is a beautiful, mystical and bone crushing genre that always makes me come back for more. Sleep nail this, just as other bands do e.g Electric Wizard, Kyuss. When I first heard my first real doom/stoner song I didn't pay any real attention, I was more into Progressive Metal at the time. (Still into it like the bands such as Dream Theater, Opeth.) But I was intrigued, so I came back for more, and every time I listened to it the next time over and over I starting loving it even more. Anyway sorry to tell my life story but this is honestly how I feel, anyone can love stoner if they just let it be heard. Because stoner metal is one of the best genres in this world, at the top with Progressive and Psychedelic.
    i hate labels like "stoner metal" and "doom metal", always trying to appeal to a certain group. If its good music its good music. In the end its guitar, bass, n drums that make up the core sound. If your a musician you will appreciate this album for what it is. definitely a classic from the 90s.