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Sleep - Dopesmoker [reissue] (Cover Artwork)

Sleep

Sleep: Dopesmoker [reissue]Dopesmoker [reissue] (2012)
Southern Lord Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I kind of can't believe Dopesmoker exists. I mean, I know it's real. I've been listening to it for a couple of weeks now. I just can't believe the members of Sleep created and submitted this album to London Records. For a pop-oriented label, Dopesmoker must have seemed pretty far out there. I love i.
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I kind of can't believe Dopesmoker exists. I mean, I know it's real. I've been listening to it for a couple of weeks now. I just can't believe the members of Sleep created and submitted this album to London Records. For a pop-oriented label, Dopesmoker must have seemed pretty far out there. I love it, and even I still kind of see where London was coming from when it refused to release the album.

Before its members went on to form High on Fire and Om, Sleep was an up-and-coming '90s sludge metal trio. But once they got a taste of label money, they got perhaps a little too experimental on what proved to be their last album. Dopesmoker was intended to be one 63-minute song about pot-smoking aliens called the Weedians on a bong-filled quest to Nazareth. Its lyrics are thoroughly stoned (Sample line: "Follow the smoke toward the riff-filled land"). Its low end is an abyss. It is an awesome song if you can make it through to the end.

Ultimately, London declined to release Dopesmoker and Sleep broke up. While a few attempts at releasing the song/album have been launched in the past, both officially and unofficially, Southern Lord has recently released what is perhaps the closest to a complete version. Backed by a superfluous bonus live track (Seriously? You're gonna hem and haw about keeping Dopesmoker at one track and then throw in a live bootleg?), this is the heaviest, longest, best version of Dopesmoker.

Despite its running time, "Dopesmoker" does have a fair amount of structure, perhaps aided by the fact that Sleep had to record it in installments since the reel-to-reel available could hold only 22 minutes of music at a time. Previous bootlegs even managed to break up the song into several tracks/movements. But if you're down for following Sleep on this marijuana-laced adventure, "Dopesmoker" is best experienced as a single, Sabbath-friendly cut.

Make no mistake, you will feel those 63 minutes at times. "Dopesmoker" has a lengthy guitar intro before the rest of the band kicks in, let alone the vocals. I consistently zone out around the 45-minute mark, during what might be the 20th guitar solo, but that's part of the song's charm. It absorbs you in its layers and just carries you off to sludgy depths unknown. This edition in particular delivers a thoroughly heavy listening experience. The song is still plenty murky, but there's a weight to the instruments that shakes the bones. For those willing to make the trek, Dopesmoker is a hell of a journey.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
austinatx (July 19, 2012)

Way too good. One of the best guitar tones ever recorded. Perfect record for long summer drives through the desert by yourself while smoking a spliff. Quintessential heaviness.

preston (May 25, 2012)

Meant to give it 4.5 stars.

preston (May 25, 2012)

One of the most badass songs/albums of all-time.

Misanthropee (May 25, 2012)

If this album doesn't hold your attention you are CLEARLY way too sober.

jelone (May 25, 2012)

On the one hand, it does contain enough movements that it probably wouldn't be too weird flipping records. On the other hand, ya kinda need to hear the whole song uninterrupted.

wallofyouth (May 25, 2012)

what's it like flipping through 3 sides of a 2xLP to play this song? i almost want the CD version because that seems, like, pretty harsh, man

mcflynnthm (May 25, 2012)

Love High on Fire, but never checked this band out. Will remedy that today!

thepopeofchili-town (May 25, 2012)

I actually haven't heard this version yet. I can't imagine not hearing "Sonic Titan" when "Dopesmoker" is finished.

thepopeofchili-town (May 25, 2012)

This is one that deserves the 10/10.

MN_DrNick (May 25, 2012)

Classic.

johngentile (May 25, 2012)

Whoops. Forgot my score.

johngentile (May 25, 2012)

One of the greatest albums of all time. If you ask me, the TeePee version is the best. Best low end and on that one, the bonus cut is "Sonic Titan" which is Dopesmoker in its earliest stages.

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