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Seminal metal band Sleep.
Seminal metal band Sleep.
Photo by Jason Roeder

The Stoner-Metal Icons of Sleep Are Set to Play the Ground Miami

Things are about to get a whole lot louder and hazier in Miami.

The California stoner-doom metal trio Sleep will stop at Miami’s the Ground June 18 for its first South Florida show. The group, which was a cornerstone of Southern California's early-'90s stoner-rock explosion, has a slow, heavy, and pummeling sound that helped to define an era of metal music.

The San Jose trio is still riding the success of its critically acclaimed 2018 record, The Sciences, which was surprise-released on Jack White’s Third Man Records on 4/20 last year. The unexpected release brought the iconic band's first record in nearly two decades and was an uncompromising continuation of the sound the trio helped to create almost 30 years ago. The group has been especially active since the record’s release — 2018 was its busiest touring year since the band reunited in 2009.

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Sleep has long been a bastion of weed culture, blending its stoner-doom metal with trademark sludgy riffs on songs such as “Marijuanaut’s Theme” and the hourlong one-song-album Dopesmoker. Weed iconography has always been a distinctive aspect of the band's style, with album covers portraying characters such as "Weedians" and the "Marijuanaut."

In the face of merciless interference from the band's record label upon the submission of Dopesmoker in 1998, the group disbanded rather than concede to label changes. An unauthorized version of the record was released in 1999 as Jerusalem and was disavowed by the band, followed by reissues in 2003 and 2012 bearing the title Dopesmoker that were ratified by the musicians.

The members of Sleep are vocal about their admiration for Black Sabbath — they even named The Sciences track “Giza Butler” after the legendary British metal band’s guitarist. The stoner-doom metal trio seems intent on amplifying the sludgiest corners of Black Sabbath’s oeuvre, and Sleep's fourth full-length album continues this trend to great success.

Fans who make it to the group’s June 18 show are in for a rare treat, because the band has infrequently toured since its inception in 1990.

Sleep. With Big Business. 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, at the Ground, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; thegroundmiami.com. Tickets cost $30 via ticketfly.com.

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