Tales From Bandcamp: Dopesmoker by Sleep
Posted by RiffRaff
Often considered one of the earliest pioneering bands in the stoner metal realm, Sleep’s bluntly titled 2nd album, Dopesmoker (AKA Jerusalem), is reveled as their crowning gem in their short but sweet discography. Upon its initial release the band was going through some money and legal troubles paired with a label who didn’t really give much a shit about promoting Sleep, so unless you actively sought out a record from the band on or very close to release day, chances of getting some fresh-baked tunes by Sleep were pretty slim. And even as the band gained popularity, getting ones hands on anything other than the debut, Witch Mountain, was still a tad difficult, not to mention that even though the stoneriffic songwriting on Dopesmoker was of top quality, the recording and sound quality was equivalent to that dry, brown, dirt weed that comes from Mexico.
Lucky for us stoner metal fans, Sleep contacted Southern Lord Records about re-releasing the much-lauded after Dopesmoker record with some shiny new production and remastering. The finished product is upon us, and daaaamn does it sound great. Props to the remastering team for really bringing this record to life. Dopesmoker still retains that gritty, sludgy, and raw sound like the original, but now I can listen with 300% less tape hiss and the sounds still taste like colors. If you dig on some hazy stoner metal, you can’t go wrong giving this album a listen. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
In 2011, Southern Lord was contacted by Sleeps’ Al Cisneros about the possibility of releasing a deluxe version of the classic Sleep recording: Dopesmoker. Cisneros wanted to breathe some new life into the old beast and finally have the original vision of the album fully realized. Southern Lord was overwhelmingly ecstatic about the challenge of taking the reigns of one of the most important recordings in the history of Heavy Metal! The Lord version features brand new artwork by long time Sleep artist, Arik Roper, who created something specifically special for the albums’ rebirth. The biggest difference between this new version and the old releases is the phenomenal remastering job by Brad Boatright . His vision was to enhance the original recording without changing it drastically. What he has done makes this epic opus sound invigorated, more powerful with renewed clarity and all-around unbelievably mammoth. His work was enthusiastically approved by the band and considering how focused, vigilant and protective of their masterpiece the band is, that is nothing short of a miracle! Also exclusive to the reborn version of Dopesmoker, is an unreleased live track of one of the best songs the band ever did, Holy Mountain. The cd version of the album is sheltered in a digipac with embossed artwork. Includes unseen photos and a “riff-chart” the band created in order to follow the epic journey that Dopesmoker takes us all on!