Sleep – Dopesmoker (2003/2012)

So I’ve been holding off buying this fucker for a long time, mainly because I was plagued with the dilemma of getting it on vinyl (the far superior format, of course) or on CD (song plays through in one go rather than in three parts). As collectable as the vinyl pressing of Tee Pee’s release might be, I forever shied away from it due to the fact that the hour-plus trip that is Dopesmoker would be broken up into bits. That just wouldn’t do! Anyway, I never got around to buying it on CD either because I’m lazy like that, and in 2012 Southern Lord snuck this reissue upon us; remixed and remastered to absolute fucking audible ecstasy, causing stoners around the world to blaze socially-retarded amounts of da ‘erb in celebration.

I was a few website clicks away from purchasing the CD when I happened upon this vinyl version, in all it’s shiny fucking beautiful glory. Southern Lord do not fuck about when it comes to vinyl. I caved, and I went for the vinyl version, rather than the CD, even though the journey was broken into three parts. And do you know what the best part is? That turned out to be a good thing! In an interview that I read recently, Matt Pike revealed that Dopesmoker was recorded on reel-to-reel tape – THE fucking medium that translates godly to wax. Good news yes, but there’s something else. Do you fuckers know the MAX recording time on a reel-to-reel tape? Well, on these particular tapes at least – no? Well, it’s fucking 22 fucking minutes. Holy fuck. That means that Dopesmoker was recorded in THREE separate parts; coincidentally the same number of sides that Dopesmoker is split across here. So what you can hear on this pressing is the three original reel-to-reel tapes, mixed to perfection. Why am I making such a big deal over this? Well, mainly because this is one of the greatest record packages I have ever bought.

When I first read about another version of Dopesmoker I was skeptical, but the mix here is far superior to any other version; it’s just so clear! I’m not sure exactly what was done to clear the whole thing up so much but the guy who did it, Brad Boatright, deserves a fucking medal. Dopesmoker is a fucking monolith in the stoner / doom genres, and this is the absolute, definitive version that simply must be heard by all metal fans and/or stoners. An absolutely huge achievement in modern music, this is the version of Dopesmoker YOU should own! This is the version of Dopesmoker than Sleep deserved in the 90s.

Warning: Listening to this record may make you a better person and/or a wizard.