The Sciences (album)

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The Sciences
The Sciences (2018).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 20, 2018
StudioSharkbite Studios in Oakland, California
GenreDoom metal, stoner metal
LabelThird Man
Sleep chronology
The Sciences
Limited vinyl cover
The Sciences (2018) alt cover.jpg

The Sciences is the fourth studio album by American doom metal band Sleep. The album was released with little warning on April 20, 2018 through Third Man Records. It was the band's first full-length album since Dopesmoker (2003) on which the song "Sonic Titan" appeared as a live bonus track.[1]

Just a month after the release of The Sciences, Sleep released the non-album song "Leagues Beneath" through Adult Swim's 2018 weekly single series.[2]

Background and composition[edit]

In 2009, Sleep re-formed and played a handful of shows. "The Clarity", the band's first new studio material since 2003's Dopesmoker, was released in 2014.[3] In an interview with NPR Music about the release of that single, the band wrote, "Sleep has been sporadically writing riffs for a while now [...] There is no preconceived idea of what the new material should be. It would be an amalgamated effort of decades of riff immersion."[4] In 2017, the band released a morse code message on their website confirming that a new album was nearing completion.[5] During a break in a North American tour, The Sciences was released on April 20, 2018.

Musically, The Sciences is a stoner rock[6] album built upon the distorted, downtuned, and slow bass of Al Cisneros playing alongside the similarly low guitar of Matt Pike. Repetition of riffs and passages is employed, working to create a "hypnotic state" supplemented by Cisneros' vocals,[7] which are similarly meditative to his work on the band Om.[8] In keeping with Sleep's aesthetic, much of the lyrics have to do with marijuana and are delivered in a reverential, "quasi-religious" fashion.[8] The song "Marijuanaut's Theme", which Pitchfork cited as the best track of the album, begins with the sound of Cisneros using a bong.[9]

Along with the cannabis references, The Sciences makes multiple allusions to Birmingham heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath, whose sound inspired Sleep. Tony Iommi is referenced in the lyrics,[9] and the song "Giza Butler" is a play on the city Giza and the name of Black Sabbath's bassist, Geezer Butler.[8] Later in "Giza Butler", references are made to several things in Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune, including the gom jabbar (referred to as the "bong jabbar") and Muad'Dib (as "Muad'Doob").[10]


The Sciences first appeared as a listing on streaming websites on April 19, 2018.[11][12] It was released a day later on April 20, 2018, a date significant in cannabis culture.[13] The album was made available as a limited vinyl in two colors and for streaming on iTunes and Spotify.[14][unreliable source] It debuted at number 49 on the Billboard 200, and was Sleep's first album to chart in the United States.[15]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[17]
Consequence of SoundB+[18]
Metal Injection10/10[19]
Metal Storm9.0/10[20]
Mojo4/5 stars[21]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[23]

The Sciences was met with critical acclaim. The album received an average score of 84/100 from 11 reviews on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim".[16] In the review for AllMusic, Mark Deming compared the album to the band's previous release, claiming that "The Sciences may not be as daring and ambitious as Dopesmoker, but it finds Sleep working at the top of their game in the studio, and their resinous howl is still a weird marvel to behold."[17] Dan Franklin of The Quietus praised The Sciences, writing, "Sleep present an alternative pathway for the hyper-technological age. Elon Musk's battery-powered ascent to the stars and colonisation of Mars be damned, perhaps we just want to get high and drift on a spacewalk. Sleep have finally delivered the soundtrack."[8] Writing for Exclaim!, Trystan MacDonald awarded the album a nine out of ten, suggesting that it is either as good as or better than Dopesmoker.[7] Fred Pessaro of Revolver lauded the album, calling it "the best stoner-doom record we've heard in a long time."[6]

Writing for Metal Injection, Greg Kennelty said, "The Sciences is the first Sleep album since 2003's Dopesmoker and is very much worth the wait, if not heavier than expected."[11] Cody Davis of the same publication gave the album a perfect score.[19] Zoe Camp of Spin praised the album, especially highlighting Pike's guitar riffs as some of the band's best.[24] Camp concluded her review by writing that "with The Sciences, Sleep have given stoner-metal acolytes a bonafide miracle."[24] Writing for Pitchfork, Grayson Haver Currin considered the album an ideal comeback for Sleep, saying that the six songs "burn perfectly".[22] Langdon Hickman of Consequence of Sound wrote that The Sciences "confirms why they are considered the greatest stoner doom band of all time, one of doom metal's greatest treasures, one of metal’s biggest crossover acts in the broader underground musical world, and one of the greatest heavy rock bands to roam the planet."[18] Billboard's Ron Hart said The Sciences "truly is the band’s best album yet".[25]


Year Publication Accolade Rank Ref.
2018 Consequence of Sound "Top 25 Metal + Hard Rock Albums of 2018" 6 [26]
Decibel "Decibel's Top 40 Albums of 2018" 22 [27]
Exclaim! "Exclaim!'s Top 10 Metal and Hardcore Albums" 2 [28]
Loudwire "The 30 Best Metal Albums of 2018" 1 [29]
PopMatters "The Best Metal of 2018" 6 [30]
Revolver "30 Best Albums of 2018" 5 [31]
Rolling Stone "20 Best Metal Albums of 2018" 1 [32]
Vulture "The 15 Best Albums of 2018" 9 [33]

Track listing[edit]

All music written, composed, and produced by Sleep.[10]

1."The Sciences" (instrumental)3:04
2."Marijuanaut's Theme"6:40
3."Sonic Titan"12:27
4."Giza Butler"10:03
5."Antarcticans Thawed"14:23
6."The Botanist" (instrumental)6:27
Total length:53:00
  • The songs "Sonic Titan" and "Antarcticans Thawed" were both originally written during the Dopesmoker sessions.[1][34]


Credits adapted from liner notes.[10]


Additional personnel

  • Sleep – production
  • Noah Landis – engineering, mixing
  • Christopher Acevado – photography
  • Josh Graham – layout
  • Bob Weston – mastering


Chart (2018) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[35] 85
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[36] 145
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[37] 165
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[38] 63
New Zealand Heatseeker Albums (RMNZ)[39] 10
Scottish Albums (OCC)[40] 93
US Billboard 200[15] 49
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[41] 7
US Top Hard Rock Albums (Billboard)[42] 2


  1. ^ a b Dopesmoker (CD liner notes). Sleep. Tee Pee Records. 2003. TP-049LP.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ Helman, Peter. "Sleep – 'Leagues Beneath'". Stereogum. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  3. ^ Schatz, Lake. "Sleep release surprise album The Sciences: Stream". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  4. ^ Gotrich, Lars. "Viking's Choice: Sleep, 'The Clarity'". NPR Music. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  5. ^ Rosenberg, Axl. "Sleep Issue New Album Update... in Morse Code". MetalSucks. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Pessaro, Fred. "Sleep's 'The Sciences': Mesmerizing, Conscious-altering New Album World's Been Waiting For". Revolver. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c MacDonald, Trystan. "Sleep – The Sciences". Exclaim!. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d Franklin, Dan. "Sleep – The Sciences". The Quietus. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Sodomsky, Sam. "Sleep – 'Marijuanaut's Theme'". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c The Sciences (vinyl liner notes). Sleep. Third Man Records. 2018. TMR 547.CS1 maint: others (link)
  11. ^ a b Kennelty, Greg. "Get High With SLEEP's New Album The Sciences, Streaming Now". Metal Injection. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  12. ^ Slingerland, Calum. "Sleep Ready New Album 'The Sciences' for 4/20 Release". Exclaim!. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  13. ^ Gotrich, Lars. "Of Course Sleep Released Its New Album, 'The Sciences,' On The Stoner Holiday". NPR Music. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  14. ^ "Sleep – The Sciences". Discogs. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Sleep Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  16. ^ a b "The Sciences by Sleep". Metacritic. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Deming, Mark. "Sleep – The Sciences". AllMusic. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Hickman, Langdon. "Sleep Awaken and Deliver Primordial Rock on The Sciences". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Davis, Cody (April 2018). "Album Review: SLEEP – The Sciences". Metal Injection. Archived from the original on April 21, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  20. ^ RaduP (May 20, 2018). "Sleep – The Sciences". Metal Storm. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  21. ^ Perry, Andrew. "Sleep – The Sciences". Mojo. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  22. ^ a b Currin, Grayson Haver. "Sleep – The Sciences". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  23. ^ Grow, Kory. "Recent Metal Releases Show a Segmented Scene, But Its Core Power Remains the Same". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  24. ^ a b Camp, Zoe. "Review: Sleep's Crushing Comeback The Sciences Is a 4/20 Miracle". Spin. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  25. ^ Hart, Ron. "Cult Metal Favorites Sleep Talk Reunion Album, Third Man Records & Changing Attitudes Toward Marijuana". Billboard. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  26. ^ Kliebhan, T. J. "Top 25 Metal + Hard Rock Albums of 2018". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  27. ^ Mudrian, Albert. "Spoiler: Here Are Decibel's Top 40 Albums of 2018". Decibel. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  28. ^ Sylvester, Daniel. "Exclaim!'s Top 10 Metal and Hardcore Albums". Exclaim!. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  29. ^ Irizarry, Katy. "The 30 Best Metal Albums of 2018". Loudwire. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  30. ^ Stasis, Spyros. "The Best Metal of 2018". PopMatters. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  31. ^ Epstein, Dan. "30 Best Albums of 2018". Revolver. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  32. ^ Grow, Kory. "20 Best Metals Albums of 2018". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  33. ^ Jenkins, Craig. "The 15 Best Albums of 2018". Vulture. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  34. ^ Koczan, JJ. "Saturday Sleep In: 'Antarcticans Thawed' Live at ATP 2009". The Obelisk. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  35. ^ " – Sleep – The Sciences" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  36. ^ " – Sleep – The Sciences" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  37. ^ " – Sleep – The Sciences" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  38. ^ " – Sleep – The Sciences" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  39. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. April 30, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  40. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  41. ^ "Sleep Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  42. ^ "Sleep Chart History (Top Hard Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 5, 2018.