Vinyl repress of Sleep’s underappreciated debut. 'Volume One' has all the weird dynamics, detuned chords and chanted mantras which came to define Sleep and the stoner-rock sound, but with added doom influence. A pretty satisfying missing link between Black Sabbath’s caveman melodrama and Sleep's later experiments with repetition and pace.
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Sleep’s first record arrived when doom metal was an embryonic wee one, still afflicted with the memory of Black Sabbath and their nasal pantomime performances. ‘Volume One’ takes after ye olde sound in order to construct a new one, squealing out particularly metuhl riffs with plenty of strained string-bends and Jesus Christ Superstar melodramatics, only to slow the whole train down and recreate the genre as some sort of discordant endurance test.
Without the dynamism and metal academia of ‘Dopesmoker’ in their hands, Sleep’s debut shows off an incarnation of the band more into gut-punches than methodical detail -- Al Cisnero spits and gurgles his words, backed by what sound like doom metal gang vocals. Without the stoner procedure of their later work, the band also show less sense of patience, disrupting long, terse doom segments with up-tempo breakdowns that wouldn’t be out of place in a hardcore song.
It’s not a work of overarching connectivity or strong bonded concepts, but there are nice fragments of diversity on ‘Volume One’, such as the brighter, more post-metal riffs that occasionally clamour into place. Sleep were still driven by the slow march, but back then, they took juice breaks. Overall, ‘Volume One’ is a blueprint, the closest you’ll get to hearing Sleep premiere their demos -- it’s a shaky and brutal birthing of a band who have become really good at steadying their evil and pragmatic course.
9/10 Nico Customer review, 17th December 2014
Better than sex. It is like Tommy Iommi (during the recording of Vol. 4) and Mother Nature stuck in an elevator with a guitar and tons of weed.
Asbestos Death pressed start, Holy Mountain set the bar high, Volume One from Sleep created a comfortable nebula of noise, smoke and relegion.
Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
pd: this repress, made 25 years after the release, sounds incredible.
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