Sleep - Dopesmoker, Remastered

There aren't a whole lot of reissues and remasters that I can really get into; the one major exception is the slew of (mostly) old-school metal reissues put out by labels like The Crypt and Dark Descent. In a lot of other cases, though, these remasters seems like a rather obvious cash-grab, especially when the albums don't really seem to need to be remastered. That was my initial thought when I heard that Southern Lord was working on a remastered version of Sleep's seminal stoner-doom album Dopesmoker. For what should be obvious reasons, the album is a classic, and I had to think that a remaster would only clean up something that didn't need cleaning up, trying to fix something that was by no means broken.

Fucking hell, was I wrong. I still don't think the original sounds bad, but this remaster sounds absolutely perfect in every way. It's not too clean at all - it still has that dirty, sludgy feeling it has always had, but in this case, it's (somehow) even heavier than the original. (By original, I'm referring to the version that came out on Tee Pee, not the others, and certainly not the bullshit Jerusalem version.) It's clearer, louder, and so fucking heavy. Did I mention that? I'll say it a thousand times, this is as heavy as anything. Even though I like the original, the improvement here stands to reason, given all the issues with getting this album put out in the first place. This edition is the definitive edition, and it has never sounded so great. This is how this album was supposed to be, and I give the band and label credit for getting this done. Get it in a variety of packages, including several vinyl options, here. (This review is based on the CD, so imagine how glorious the vinyl pressings must sound.)

I don't write about a whole lot of stoner metal, because there's a lot of real horrible shit out there. The genre as a whole has really, really gone stagnant. Bands find ten decent riffs and there, they've got a record. There are no standards in the genre anymore. But for fuck's sake, if you're going to make a stoner-doom album, fucking do it right. Dopesmoker is your standard; there is no other. This is what every stoner-metal album should aspire to. If you're not trying to make something as good as this, then fuck off, because you don't matter; this is it.

The fucking monolith.


Anonymous said...

Ok, so who the fuck are you to say that kind of bullshit about other stoner doom bands??? Have you ever tried to do a stoner doom album? Do you even play? I guess not... Agree on everything about the reissue but you don't have the right to shit on every other band cause you simply don't're nothing...and to say such a thing about ten decent riffs etc. It just says that you don't know nothing about the genre and as a matter of fact there are curently way more bands out there than ever before and they sound awesome!

Mark said...

I still say this is a cash grab. I'm obviously not complaining though, as I have the picture disc version coming, and it looks amazing. I can only hope that other labels take heed and do similar cash grabs. I'm thinking labels should capitalize on the back catalog of Grief next.

Sigivald said...

Well, Anonymous, if you read a little more carefully, our host is complaining that too many bands are lazy and shitty.

Not that there are no good ones - and I notice that you're not providing any suggestions as to who they are...

He indicts "the genre as a whole", and certainly I've found little of it right now that competes with Sleep.

(Also, on the original post, are we sure Dopesmoker is the standard?

I mean, Electric Wizard was released eight years before Dopesmoker was...

Not saying Sleep isn't seminal and all, just that maybe, just maybe, Dopesmoker isn't the sole gold standard for stoner/doom quality.

I suppose one might say "that's doom, not stoner!", but one could equally say that about Sleep, couldn't one?)

Anonymous said...

The remaster is mastered too loud IMO. Too much compression. The art is great though.

Niklas Olsson said...

And those who strive to make pop albums probably shouldn't bother unless they can match Pet Sounds or Rubber Soul.

ps. Would you seriously want to listen to all those mediocre bands trying to do one-hour songs instead?

Krumbled Kookie said...

Anonymous -

No, I don't play.

And I never claimed to "be" anybody. Or to "matter."

But if my opinions don't matter, to you, don't read the site. Kindly fuck off. You clearly don't get what I was going for here.