Before you read this review, I suggest you check this list to see if you are associated with or are infatuated with the thought of any of the following:
cannabis, hemp, hashish, pot, dope, weed, Mary Jane, bud, hash, bhang, reefer, toke, ganja
If you answered yes to any of these, then you are secured and fully applicable to continue reading.
Sleep's previous work, Sleep's Holy Mountain, was less of a exercise of creative muscle and more of a salute to one of bands foremost influences, Black Sabbath. The instruments were kicked up a few notches in speed and vehement energy, and the slow muddle of their debut was toned down. After the album's release though the band set their eyes on a newer and brighter future. In 1995 the band was set and ready to record a new shining prospect of an hour long track that showcased all of the band's skill and prowess. Due to several problems in the process, mainly a contract with Earache Records preventing them from recording until '96, and the debt the band suffered until signing with London Records, the album Jerusalem was not released until 1999. Jerusalem was a 52 minute epic due to the unauthorized editing down by London Records that the band refused to have released. After a while many versions of Jerusalem were created under different titles and formats, but the most well known, highly acclaimed, and liked by the band was the 2003 release titled Dopesmoker. Cisneros himself admitted it was his favorite and was the closest to what he wanted in the first place, so that's what we'll be looking at today.
Dopesmoker is a concept album of sorts, a muddy brown sludge fest of repetitious chords and rhythms, that supposedly tells of a caravan crossing the desert to transport cannabis. The song is a giant drone-fest no doubt, and is probably one of the biggest milestones of stoner music in current history. Many doom metal bands have either cited it as an influence or a highly admirable piece of music, and I agree with that sentiment. Any fan of doom metal would find this grinding journey of an album to give you your desired state of comatose perfection any day of the week. Dopesmoker isn't subtle, no. But it's amateur composition and recording process make it one of the most organic and overall 'human' pieces I've heard in the metal circuit. Take a load off and go with the flow, bro.