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Music / Sleep

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L-R: Jason Roeder, Al Cisneros, Matt Pike

"Drop out of life with bong in hand
Follow the smoke towards the riff filled land"

Sleep is a seminal stoner metal band from San Jose, California. Formed in the early 1990's from the ashes of the band Asbestosdeath, Sleep was a three piece consisting of bassist Al Cisneros, guitarist Matt Pike, and drummer Chris Hakius. During their original run, they only recorded three albums before conflicts with their record label forced them to split up, but all three records are now regarded as classics. The band was known for their incredibly loud, slow, and heavy sound, influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus, as well as a penchant for Epic Rocking, which was taken to an extreme on their third album Dopesmoker, which was a single, hour-long song. After the band broke up, the members went their separate ways to start new projects which each attained a great deal of success in their own right. Matt Pike started the sludge metal band High on Fire (which is like Sleep but faster) while Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius started the drone project Om (which is like Sleep but slower). In 2009, the band reunited with Jason Roeder of Neurosis on drums (Hakius having retired from music in the intervening time). They've performed live at various festivals since, and have recorded a new single, "The Clarity", to great acclaim. On April 19, 2018, they announced a new album, The Sciences, to be released the very next day (4/20, a day long associated with marijuana use). Although a surprise release, it received critical acclaim from music critics continuing the band's critical success that follows that of Holy Mountain and Dopesmoker. The following month, they released another non-album single, "Leagues Beneath". The band announced that they are going on hiatus following their New Year's Eve 2019 shows, but are not breaking up.


  • Matt Pike - Guitars
  • Al Cisneros - Bass, vocals
  • Jason Roeder - Drums (2009-Present)
  • Chris Hakius - Drums (1990-1998)
  • Justin Marler - Guitar (1990-1991)


  • Volume One (1991)
  • Sleep's Holy Mountain (1992)
  • Jerusalem (1999, unauthorized edited version of Dopesmoker)
  • Dopesmoker (2003, the band's preferred version, widely regarded as the definitive release)
  • "The Clarity" (2010, single)
  • The Sciences (2018)
  • "Leagues Beneath" (2018, single)

Tropes that apply to Sleep:

  • Artistic Stimulation: They have been very open about the importance of marijuana to their creative process in interviews.
  • Concept Album: Dopesmoker is a concept album about the journey of the Weedians across the Sand Sea to reach the Riff Filled Land. It's like the Book of Exodus but with weed.
  • Crossing the Desert: The basic premise behind Dopesmoker.
  • Desert Punk: Dopesmoker has this sort of aesthetic, what with the whole Crossing the Desert concept.
  • Dragon Rider: "Dragonaut" of course.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Dopesmoker" has a full 8 minutes of music before the vocals enter.
  • Epic Rocking: Dopesmoker is the most famous example, clocking in at 63 minutes on the final version, but a lot of their other songs count as smaller examples. Their average song length is probably about 8 minutes.
  • Erudite Stoner: Al Cisneros.
  • Heavy Mithril: Most of their lyrics that aren't about marijuana are about fantasy.
  • In the Hood: The Weedians are depicted this way on the cover of Dopesmoker.
  • Incredibly Long Note: Al does this a lot on Dopesmoker, and it really adds to the epic atmosphere of the album.
  • Large Ham: Al's vocals are actually pretty subdued for the most part, but on some songs, such as "The Druid" and "Dopesmoker", he really lets loose.
  • Lead Bassist: Al Cisneros is the frontman and his basslines are quite prominent in the music.
  • Mascot: The Weedians have become this for the band and for the genre of stoner metal as a whole. The band literally sells action figures of them, and people have cosplayed at them at their shows. As of The Sciences, the Marijuanaut (an astronaut smoking marijuana) also counts.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Volume One is, by any measure, an excellent slab of doom metal, but it has never reached the classic status of Holy Mountain and Dopesmoker.
  • The Stoner: Openly and enthusiastically so.
  • Subdued Section: Several examples on Dopesmoker, the best occurring at about 41 minutes in.
  • Trope Codifier: Along with Electric Wizard and Kyuss, they're this for stoner metal.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Matt Pike is famous for never wearing shirts.
  • Watch It Stoned: It's basically made for this.
  • Wizard Beard: Al Cisneros currently sports one.