Arisen from Slumber. Sleep, Dopesmoker.

Doom metal opuses are a quite rare breed. It's not to say that they've become obsolete nor extinct – the first in Ufomammut's ORO series ought to attest convincingly enough to that – although there undoubtedly aren't enough hour-long songs indebted to doobies out there concurrently. San Jose stoners Sleep's Dopesmoker of course can't exactly be classed an A-grade example within such a context – this remastered edition was originally released back in April 2003 – although especially if indulged in when under the influence of heftily scented narcotics, even now it sounds no more dated than that last soporific hallucination you've already almost undoubtedly forgotten.

Doomier and gloomier than DOOM in a darkened room stripped of all possessions, pot inclusive the song that is the album that is the song Dopesmoker is precisely what you'd desire and deem expected from a lucid, loosely intoxicated listen: more stream of (barely) consciousness than song per se, it drifts manically and at times maddeningly in and out of stodgy time signature and one heavily crunched chord pattern. And yet you sense that Sleep somehow manage never to fully overindulge as they quite so evidently have their lungs, for if an intensely potent experience it provides it never loses itself up the preferred orifice of any which Class B smuggler and nor does it partake in any form of artistically perilous overdose. Al Cisneros et al. know their limits and push them to extremes that momentarily feel somewhat excruciating although their intentions and instrumental breakdowns remain both focussed and, ultimately, utterly fucked.

If not lost somewhere down in the deepest and darkest profundities of comatose following its 63-minute onslaught then you'll stumble into a rendition of Holy Mountain caught at San Francisco's notorious, now-defunct haunt I-Beam and subsequently ensnared on record. In comparison, it seems shorter than most sketchily composed Daniel Johnston jobs although it's still heady enough to send even the most well-oxygenated of stoner brains into the wildest strand of puke-drenched whitey and again, despite the venue definitively slamming its doors shut just the one solitary year after the record's initial release, this one too stinks of the finest contemporary relevance. And holy smokes it's good to have Sleep reawakened from slumber, back in the here and now to advocate yet more stoner metal abuse...