Live at Stylus on Thursday, 24th May 2012
Warming up for the coming weekend's ATP I'll Be Your Mirror, Sleep have finally returned to the UK, and not a moment too soon. With Kyuss making a long-awaited return in 2011, stoner rock is currently enjoying a warm welcome in the UK. Whilst waiting for A Storm of Light to come on, the crowd were treated to the sounds of Goblin, the Italian progressive rock band most famously known for their hauntingly bizarre soundtracks to Dario Argento films, namely Profondo Rosso and Suspiria.
Goblin proved to be fitting warm-up music to A Storm of Light, who stormed Leeds with their crushingly heavy blend of melodic post-rock and hypnotising doom. Andrea Black, their guitarist, commanded a powerful presence with her stomping rhythmic playing, and the backdrop visuals sent the audience through a whirlwind of stampeding wildebeest and burning crosses. A Storm of Light opened with Silver, and took the audience on a journey through Missing, Wasteland, Wretched Journey, Collapse, closing with the resounding Black Wolves.
A Storm of Light were a fantastic opening act for Sleep - the two bands complemented each other extremely well. Sleep made a curiously eccentric entrance with Matt Pike riding up and down the disabled lift adjacent to the crowd - at first it wasn't clear whether he was simply ducking up and down whilst playing, but then it became apparent as the security guards looked on disapprovingly. Sleep opened with Dopesmoker to a tremendous and roaring welcome, and stormed through Holy Mountain, Dragonaut, Sonic Titan and From Beyond - this was all paired with a mesmerising trip through space in the constant background visuals. Tony Iommi, being an idol of the band, was given centre stage about halfway through as his face was projected onto the backdrop too. It provided a humbling reminder of his inspiring strength, as he joined the band to play a semi-reunion gig last week in Birmingham prior to their long-awaited Download performance in just over two weeks' time. There was no encore for Sleep, but they aren't a band that need one - their set sent me into a meditative and blissful trance that only the greatest doom metal can provide.
Thank you to robkismet on setlist.fm for jogging my memory about the ordering of the songs.