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Handy introduction to Sleep's distinctive style - 75%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, June 26th, 2012

Shortest release by this band I've ever come across, "Volume 2" is an outright homage to Black Sabbath - as if Sab fans couldn't tell from the cover sleeve alone - with a live cover of that band's song "Lord of this World", which is from the "Master of Reality" album, followed by two short Sleep originals. "Lord of this World" is easily Side 1 of the EP (vinyl version). Sleep's version is slow, sinuous, almost cold-blooded and reptilian as befits the point of view of the lyrics, and close to the original in riffing and melody, at least until the opportunity for an instrumental break and a brief jam comes by. Al Cisneros's voice, shrouded in reverb, has a watery, quivering-ectoplasm quality that gives the song a bleached, psychedelic ambience and is a good counterpoint to the often hellish and overwhelming instrumental work.

The two Sleep originals that follow, "The Druid" and "Nan's Baptism", are demo versions of the songs that appear on a later Sleep album "Holy Mountain". "The Druid" is a tough, jagged, swaggering piece with a slight seesaw feel in parts; halfway through, the song collapses to a bass line and this throws an opportunity to lead guitar to make a mad run for freedom with the rhythm section in hot pursuit. The sudden speediness and frenzy are a surprise, very quick and light - so enjoy Sleep at their fastest while this short section lasts! As that cliche though goes, what goes up must come down, and the guys come down to earth for a near-trudge of a coda. "Nan's Baptism" sounds very sketchy and experimental, a bit of a throwaway almost: just a basic percussion beat with tapping cymbal and the strings following in an almost robotic way. The track does vary in its details if listened to closely.

Originally this EP might have served to string along listeners for a future full-length release in the absence of yearly album releases and alert them to what they could expect. With the passage of time, the recording still serves as a handy introduction to Sleep's style of deep bassy doom metal.