March 15, 2012 SOUNDS ⁄  SLEEP: DOPESMOKER

SLEEP: DOPESMOKER

In 1995, epic Californian doom metallers Sleep were at the height of their critically-acclaimed gnarliness and had recovered well from the departure of guitarist Justin Marler, who quit the band to become a monk. Don’t do drugs kids – you just get super weird.

Sleep had just recorded their third album: an hour long, SINGLE-TRACK LP with the family-friendly title: Dopesmoker. Strangely, London Records had concerns about marketing a drug-addled stoner rock symphony to middle America and refused to release it.

Sleep diplomatically changed the name to Jerusalem, edited a few lyrics and trimmed it to a scant 52 minutes. The unreasonable moneymen still rejected their rework and the band broke up in protest. Eventually released in 2003, it’s now being reissued and remastered to hype their 24-gig European tour this May; or possibly as a subliminal promotional ploy to help recession-reeled dope pushers. One of the two. Whatever, pass the nug.