The recordings that would become Sleep's Holy Mountain were originally sent to independent label, Earache, as a demo. The label immediately signed the band and released the recordings exactly as they were received. It was the last album to be released by the band as a fully functioning group, as their subsequent albums were released after the group had broken up.
The album, which includes the word "stoner" in the lyrics of two songs and prominently features cannabis leaves in its album art, is widely considered one of the seminal albums in the evolution of stoner rock. It became a favourite of the heavy metal press and the band was heralded, along with Kyuss, as leaders of the emerging stoner metal scene.