Stoner metal titans Sleep posted a cryptic “transmission” on Facebook, announcing three shows at Thalia Hall in Chicago on the final three days of 2019 before an apparent indefinite hiatus.
If we’re to take the last lines of the transmission at face value, the three Chicago dates will be the last chance for fans to voyage Sleep’s riff-filled land for the foreseeable future.
The message looks like lines of code from MS DOS or a monitor from an old sci-fi movie:
“PREP HYPERSLEEP FACIL FOR INDEF DURATION
While sad news for fans, it marks the end of a rewarding run for Sleep after their first hiatus following the 2003 opus, Dopesmoker. In the wake of that album and the growing knowledge of its existence (it’s now considered a genre-defining landmark), the band returned to play shows in 2009 and released the song “The Clarity” in 2014 — their first new material since Dopesmoker.
What initially seemed like a fleeting reunion turned into a full-fledged revival. Despite singer-bassist Al Cisneros’ involvement with OM and guitarist Matt Pike fronting High on Fire, Sleep managed to tour and play major festival dates across the world over the past decade. Eventually, they released the critically acclaimed LP The Sciences in 2018, marking their first album in 15 years.
There’s no band like Sleep, especially live, and their presence will be sorely missed. But the fact that they reunited and were able to play so many shows for their fans — many of whom came to the band after the first hiatus — while juggling other musical projects was an impressive achievement.
Circuit des Yeux, Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society, and Big Business will support the Thalia Hall shows on December 29th, 30th, and 31st, respectively. Tickets are available here. See the farewell transmission below.