Reviews Sleep Dopesmoker (Reissue)


Dopesmoker (Reissue)

Imagine, if you will, that doom rock band Om and a still-young drone metal band Boris got together in a hallucinogen-induced haze one night. Their inevitable pothead lovechild would undoubtedly be doom/stoner outfit Sleep, as evidenced by their final album, Dopesmoker.

Having been released at least four different times (with four different running times, not to mention two different names), this album-length ode to pot has received more than its fair share of unsatisfactory releases. What's nice about 2012's reissue on Southern Lord is that it brushes up some of the unnecessary dust on the original, slaps on a new bonus track, and sends it back out the door. That may sound a bit unfair, but, quite honestly, that's all the original really needed. There isn't exactly much to add, as the new mix keeps all of the sludginess that made the original so...compelling. I'll just say it: there's something rather refreshing about how a band has taken marijuana made and written what is essentially an album-length love song to it. I'm not a pothead myself, but hearing this album could convince me otherwise. (NOTE: When that sentence is inevitably brought up against me in court, for the record, I was kidding. Ha ha! Please don't throw me in jail.)

If you haven't heard the album before, it's best described as doom-based stoner rock, with tons of lumbering chords and drones, repetitive melodies and vocal lines, and tons of psychedelic guitar flair. It has a hypnotic quality to it that you just can't seem to shake. The vocals plod on in a droning monotone, occasionally hitting a second note for variety. The guitars are all grunge-encrusted and low, capable of making the Earth quake in particularly volatile areas. And the musicianship is absolutely top-notch, with artistically meted soloing throughout the album. If you don't like how any of this sounds, tough, because you're gonna be sitting through sixty minutes of it. That's right: the entire album is one huge 63-minute unbroken track, which is about the time it'll take you to smoke that whole bowl if you pace yourself. (NOTE: I swear this isn't from personal experience! You see, I have this friend, I swear that I'm just holding onto that for someone else, really.)

If you consider yourself a fan of doom metal, stoner rock, or post-anything, you owe it to yourself to listen to this monumental piece of music. It's loud, large, and almost disturbingly sincere. The only fault I can find with this album was that it wasn't released on 20 April; that's when we all probably would've appreciated it the most. (NOTE: That was another joke! You see, it's because "20 April" can be written as...I am just not doing myself any favours at this point, am I?)

9.5 / 10Sarah
Radio K 2
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9.5 / 10

9.5 / 10

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