Doom Metal greats Sleep have leaked three shows for the end of 2019 in Chicago at Thalia Hall. The band also shared a cryptic message to social media, teasing the band going on a possible indefinite hiatus. No official announcement has been made, but Facebook events for the three shows appeared this weekend (11/10/2019). The band returned from an eleven-year hiatus in 2009, and have toured semi-regularly for years, releasing a live album – Denver Colorado, The Clarity single (2014), an incredible full-length album The Sciences in 2018, the Leagues Beneath single (also 2018) and a second live album, Live at Third Man Records, released as part of Third Man’s exclusive Vault series. The band also played a career-spanning series of shows at 2019’s Roadburn Festival. Hopefully, this is not the end of the band, just the end of the band for now while the members’ other projects such as OM, High On Fire, and Neurosis come to the fore. Continue reading
Like many phenomena in science, you can barely predict when it will happen, and even when you can, you are not always ready for it. Kind of like a comet, a unique blooming flower, or a blue moon, the rarest of events will make you appreciate being alive but also question your reality. If you experience a once in a lifetime event, count yourself lucky indeed. Fans of doom legends Sleep fans counted themselves lucky when the band, long dormant, came back to life in 2009. Since reforming, most would have been happy with just glorious live performances, insane volume in their ears, and all that weed smoke filling their lungs. But the band had other plans. After the single The Clarity (Adult Swim Singles), the band has been promising us a new album. Surprise releasing the album on 4/20 with one’s days’ notice is forgivable if you are this band only. Continue reading
Back in September, Matt Pike dropped a bombshell on us with news of a new Sleep record some time in 2017. The new year has come and gone and prior posts on the band’s Facebook page suggest that that the boys have indeed been hard at work in the studio over the last few months. Continue reading
A summer time Monday night found me at a venue that I had never been to before, the Royale in Boston, MA. It was a good size and actually pretty nice inside with a few large couches and suits of armor hanging on the walls. I’ve since been told that it doubles as a (dance) club, but it makes a fine metal venue as well.
We kicked things off with a performance by a band new to me called Venomous Maximus based out of Houston. They are yet another one of those bands that deserves to be seen live rather than just compared to their studio recordings. Their studio work is your standard, run of the mill doom-y stoner-y heavy metal. On stage is where the band really starts to come to life. They’re energetic and the music itself is far heavier. A CD or mp3 doesn’t capture that. Next to the masters in High on Fire themselves, Venmous Maximus was the most entertaining band on the bill for me.
I was not a fan of Lucifer. They had been described to me as a sort of female-fronted Black Sabbath but I found them to be just another generic doom band and lost interest quickly. They did have a projector with some old films running which I’ve always thought can be a nice added touch. To be honest, I probably spent more time watching the movie than I did watching the band’s actual performance.
I had a similar reaction to Pallbearer. I have plenty of friends that worship them, but they are just not my thing. I need something with a little oomph to keep my attention which I guess kind of defeats the purpose of what they’re trying to do but, hey, I need more fuzz and more grooves.
High on Fire opened their set with ‘The Black Plot’ off of Luminiferous (eOne) and with me foolishly thinking that I would simply admire their performance from the back of the crowd in order to protect my injured wrist. By the end of their second song, I knew that I was nothing but a filthy liar as I ran through the pit and began snaking my way through the crowd towards the front row. Injury or not, I was there for a helping of Pike Juice and it wasn’t long before I found myself in front of Matt Pike yet again. As expected, the set was heavy with songs off of the last album including ‘Carcosa’ and ‘The Dark Side of the Compass’ which are two of my favorite tracks. I would have loved to have gotten ‘Bloody Knuckles’ again as it holds a special place in my heart but there’s always next time.
WORDS BY ALEIDA LA LLAVE
I don’t know about you, but, I turn into a kid on Christmas morning whenever a band I love announces a new album so I’m sure you can imagine the sheer joy that consumed my being when I finally got my greedy little paws on this gem. Friends, she is a beauty. If I could get away with just transcribing my excited squeals and witch-like cackling as I listened to this album, I would.
In all seriousness, stoner metal masters High on Fire return this summer with the highly anticipated Luminiferous (eOne) and it is worth every penny. Luminiferous is both strange and different and yet fits into the band’s prior body of work very well. ‘The Black Plot’ and “The Sunless Years’ are have been fantastic singles but can we just talk about the gift that is ‘Carcosa’ for a second? This track has been one of my favorites from the beginning. It’s heavy and filled with hypnotic riffs and a beautiful guitar solo that just completely draw you in.
‘Slave the Hive’ is an absolute shredder with its quick tempo and Jeff Matz’s throbbing bass lines. You can just tell that this is going to be one of those songs where you can feel the bass weaving its way through your bones and organs. Yes, please. This track takes the concepts of the hive mind and sheeple created by society and the mass media and puts them to music. The end of the song is almost a bit unnerving as it is punctuated by the faintest laugh just before it ends.
Des Kensel’s pounding drums open ‘The Dark Side of the Compass’ and what seems to be a tribute to the Bermuda Triangle. There are so many bands out there that only write songs about their love lives or childhood that I find it refreshing when someone does something different. Tell me about aliens and weird stuff and the mysteries of the universe. With its lyrics referencing lost ships, portals, and the supernatural as a whole, I know what to listen to the next I find myself flying over the Devil’s Triangle again next year. If I’m going to die, it’s going to be with Matt Pike crooning in my ear.
‘The Cave’ is easily another favorite of mine, even if it is soft and slow compared to the rest of the album but that’s precisely why I find myself drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I’m not usually a fan of ballad-esque songs as they tend to be far too cheesy for my liking but ‘The Cave’ is genuine rather than feeling forced. There is so much emotion contained in this song that it is almost palpable and I really enjoyed seeing this other side of the band. You can keep your ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and its millions of clones, I’ll take ‘The Cave’ any day.
Luminiferous is, at times, both lighter and heavier than previous albums and the risks that the band took when putting it together have paid off. I’ll leave my personal interpretations out of this but the English major in me just wants to sit around and discuss lyrics, connections, and themes for a few hours. The boys have put out one monster of a record and, if you couldn’t tell by now, I am extremely pleased. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, get yourself a gallon of Pike Juice instead and keep an eye out for an upcoming tour date near you.
ALEIDA LA LLAVE