Going Back to the Riff-filled Land with “The Sciences” by Sleep

By: Ralka Skjerseth |

Sleep, the renowned pinnacle of stoner and doom scene, are bringing us back to the riff-filled land. They are back on releasing a studio album after almost 20 years ever since Dopesmoker was released. There has been a little warning about the release of “The Sciences”, which was released under Third Man Records. “The Sciences” itself is a transcendental and powerful record under a newer, promising lineup (with Jason Roeder from Neurosis on drums) that has been around ever since they reunited on 2009. It’s nice to have an offering to the holy trinity of riffs, weed, and Black Sabbath back. 

The 53-minute long release doesn’t lose its legacy of slow-cadenced hypnotizing riffs and repetitive rhythms. The album is opened by title track “The Sciences” that happens to be a distorted ambience that leads to “Marijuanaut’s Theme”, which is the ultimate epitome of 4/20 (just like the band’s release date, bad pun!) because it drives the listeners’ into an unknown space and it has contemplative vibes— listening to it is just like being on a good trip. It is proceeded by “Sonic TItan” with bouncy-sounding elements. The riffs are heavy and on around the 11th minute there comes a kickass shredding. “Antarticans Thawed”, which is  previously an unreleased tune that the audience have heard in setlists before, has marching drum beats and aggressively thunderous compositions. The next track is “Giza Butler”, in which, the title has references to both the Great Pyramid of Giza and and bassist Geezer Butler. The track itself has strong sounds and psychedelic elements, also a wild soloing. The last track, the instrumental, “The Botanist”, sounds drop dead versatile and ethereally emotional. It opens with magnificent acoustic lines then followed by repetitive riffs.

I personally think that Sleep have managed to both mature themselves in sound and maintain their initial roots. They’re still full of repetitive riffs, Sabbathian elements, and vibes that would remind you of outer spaces and weed, but they also have managed to branch out here and there; “The Sciences” is like a convergence of all their other projects; Matt Pike managed to bring the vibes of High on Fire here, Al Cisneros brought the vibes of OM, and Jason Roeder brought the vibes of Neurosis. The thing is, they succeeded on both making their sounds more diverse and sticking to their deep roots.

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