New music from stoner-metal overlords Sleep! The Clarity was recorded in 2009, a decade after previous release Dopesmoker and seven years before now. Let no-one accuse Sleep of being in a hurry. The Clarity is a thick and chewy slab of sludge, presented on a single side of vinyl, with the other being artfully etched. 12” on Southern Lord.
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At the Southern Lord dinner party a moderately high Greg Anderson cornered the variously high members of Sleep and asked them if they’d make a new record. Amidst five thousand separate stifled yawns, they all agreed to get some riffs and fills on wax, resulting in ‘The Clarity’, a literal nine minutes and fifty one seconds of stoner metal that reminds us of what Sleep can do, and also what they used to do for gruesome hours on end.
Was ‘Dopesmoker’ really their last LP? I guess that’d take it out of you, and ‘The Clarity’ doesn’t really skip a beat relative to their sorta-except-for-singles break-up -- it just continues to condense their sound into a more moderate and aimable mould. The low-end guitar bumbles occasionally struggle towards a flourish in the generally strict-shaped riff that eventually deviates into high-whinging metal soloing, the kind you wish these doom dads would be doing all day every day. From here they climax back into their chugger chords as the drums do exactly what you’d expect them to do in a Sleep song -- very, very occasionally contributing a fill.
The song doesn’t really end, though, it just cuts off mid self-destruct, reaching no cadence because why the fuck do that when you’re this band? Just get on Virtual DJ, fade in ‘Holy Mountain’ and repeat into the early hours. ‘The Clarity’ is nothing special but it’s Sleep as usual, and who minds that? Sink your eyes into the etching on the flipside as you listen for vital psychedelic enlightenment.
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- The Clarity by Sleep
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