"Dopesmoker" (Tee Pee Records)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton


I can't think of a better word to describe my first impression of Sleep's "Dopesmoker."

Except maybe, "Wow, dude."

"Dopesmoker" is 73 minutes of the heaviest music you're ever likely to listen to. A dark, stoner/doom hybrid, this CD throbs along at a slow but pounding pace, pulverizing everything in its path with pure, low end power (and we're talking low end here, folks). The guitars, bass and drums simply crash along at a smoldering, measured pace, delivering enough sonic force to mow down as a forest of trees like Mount St. Helens did when it blew its top all those years ago. It's as raw as a live recording which is very accurate since it was recorded live in the studio.

"Dopesmoker" is like the soundtrack to a drug sequence in Francis Ford Coppola's classic "Apocalpyse Now." It's a seemingly never-ending wall of noise that just keeps rolling along like a rock'n'roll Sherman Tank. There are only two tracks on the CD (which was originally released in 1998 in a sweetened version), the first of which runs more than 63 minutes (the original, unsweetened version of "Jerusalem") the second of which ("Sonic Titan") runs about nine minutes. 

If you're looking for commercial (or even traditional) song structure, you're not looking for Sleep. Hell, the first vocals don't even kick in until the halfway past the eight minute mark. However, if you're into a bit of experimentation - and you like the stoner / doom sound - don't miss this great CD.

Sleep: Al Cisneros - vocals, bass; Matt Pike - guitar; Chris Hakus - drums; Doug Ebright - Visual Flight.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:21 -0400 .