Saturday, July 14, 2007

SLEEP "Jerusalem" aka "Dopesmoker" CD 1996 (US)

(Private issue cover)

This is an album that was almost never to be, but ended as one of those few records that are instantly established not only as underground classics but as genre-defining milestones. When these Californian doom metallers took the opportunity of a '90s major-label deal with London records, they blew the advance on 70ies vintage amplification equipment and loads of the highest quality grass and returned to the label with a massive 65 minutes track dedicated to dope smoking. Imagine the reaction of the freaked out corporate manager upon first listen… the tape was immediately returned and demanded to be reworked into a series of songs. SLEEP did nothing about it and a legal battle ensued, resulting in the shelving of the album as unmarketable.

(Music Cartel cover)

Musically "Jerusalem" is the definitive doom metal track, nothing more than a monolithic masterpiece, sloooooow to the verge of monotonous repetition. Matt Pike tuned down his guitar some scales lower than BLACK SABBATH's Tony Iommi, to get that unrivalled sonic wall-of-sludge mood and Al Cisneros's massive bass drone and wasted vocal growl topped everything, conducting in a narcoleptic listening experience. Chris Hakius pounds the skins at a funeral pace adding a torturous lethargic repetition to the overall atmosphere of hypnosis. Huge stacks of Orange amplification and Green loudspeakers are responsible for all that thick, dense, ultra-lysergic trance of an album. Devoid of any heavy metal clichés other than sheer heaviness, "Jerusalem" is definitely NOT recommended to the average metal fan. Crank it on the highst volume your speakers can bear, light up the bong and let the smoke slowly inhale you to the lower end of the riff-filled land. "Stoner caravan from deep space arrives"

Proceed the weedians here.

(Tee Pee cover)

PS. 1 # Audio tapes soon found their ways into the underground and a privately issued bootlegged (approved by the band) CD appeared in 1996. The album was then licensed to "Music Cartel", that issued a 6 part sliced edition of it in 1997 and then "Tee Pee", which re-entitled the original rough version of a band as "Dopesmoker", adding the extra track "Sonic Titan" for the definitive 2003 extended CD edition. This is the privately issued rough first version of the track, as it was first introduced to London Records and issued in the private edition.

2 # A great review of the album from Julian Cope can be found at his Head Heritage site:


Gavin said...

Bizarre...after seeing Om play last night I thought "Must grab some Sleep to listen to" & started looking around online, to no avail. Then paid my daily visit to Mutant Sounds & what do I find ?!?!?!?!?

Anonymous said...

Your right that live, they use massive walls of vintage amps but I heard that the guitar on this record was actually recorded using a tiny, battery powered "pignose" amplifier....just pushed to the max and close-miced!!! Either way it's an amazing tone!

Jozef said...

what the.... Hey! this is unbelievable great stuff! thank you.

[sunno))) & corrupted - sludge style with old black sabbath sound. nice!]

Anonymous said...

Thanx a lot!