Sleep’s Dopesmoker was recorded back in 1996 for London Records, who were clearly expecting something slightly more commercial and promptly declined to release the one-hour plus stoner epic. This led Sleep to disband shortly afterwards, fed up of waiting for the music business to catch-up with them.
Dopesmoker is just one continuous track of monstrous lead-like density. From the very first notes of heavily down-tuned slow-mo sustain riffing, it’s clear you’re in the presence of greatness. The vocals are barked yet still melodic as the song moves through several stunning passages of dope-infused highs and subterranean depths.
The new artwork by Arik Roper is excellent, depicting the pilgrimage of the lungsmen. This version of Dopesmoker can claim to be the definitive one and this album is still very much the high watermark of the stoner rock genre. A must-buy even for those who don’t like the style.