Perhaps the ultimate stoner rock band, Northern California trio Sleep had a career that wafted in and out of focus from within their self-mandated cloud of marijuana smoke. In their time together, they issued some of the heaviest, most uncompromising doom metal albums ever recorded.
Dopesmoker, not surprisingly) amidst abundant weed consumption, the trio finally delivered its long-awaited epic, now named Jerusalem, to London Records. But to the label's surprise, Jerusalem comprised a single 60-minute magnum opus to marijuana that the band refused to edit or split up into sections under any circumstances. A complete deadlock ensued, tying up both parties in red tape for another two years. Finally, having smoked their entire cash advance through their bongs, Sleep decided to break up rather than surrender the album. Guitarist Matt Pike went on to form a new, more energetic heavy metal band called High on Fire, while drummer Chris Haikus eventually reunited with founding guitarist (and now ordained monk) Justin Marler in the Sabians. In the meantime, an unauthorized version of Jerusalem was quietly released by Rise Above Records, but it wasn't until 2003 that a supposedly authentic and fully endorsed version of Dopesmoker finally reached record store shelves, seemingly bringing the convoluted Sleep saga to a close at last.
Sleep continued to hit the festival circuit, though without original drummer Chris Hakius, who left shortly after the ATP performances. Neurosis drummer Jason Roeder was more than happy to step in, and between 2010 and 2014 the group continued to play sporadically. In 2014 Sleep released "Clarity," a nearly ten-minute single, via Adult Swim's 2014 weekly singles series, their first new recorded output in 20 years. The track was reissued by Southern Lord in 2017. The following year saw the band issue its long-awaited fourth studio album, The Sciences, via Third Man Records. The Sciences was released, appropriately, on 4/20.