The first time I ever heard about this album was in 1999. I was 14.

I had read an article about a song by this band Sleep that was an hour long. I was fascinated with the concept.

The album Jerusalem by Sleep, released in 1999

The name of the album was Jerusalem. I quickly sought it out and purchased the CD. The 3-minute intro of a guy strumming a repetitive, droning riff, made me realize there is such a thing as real stoner rock, made to listen/play when you’re really, really high and just don’t wanna stop.

When I first got the album, I opened it to find a picture with no description, but knew what I was looking at: a home-made bong contraption that looked like it could hold an ounce. This was presumably a piece of recording equipment used during the making of the album.

The cover art was a tapestry of sorts: a black and white drawing of a man bowing down to a burning bush. It resembled an ancient artifact, like a drawing you would find in an ancient middle eastern religious script.

It all tied together, the cover art, the plodding repetitive riffing, the length of the song, and the picture of a giant bong made to hold an inordinate amount of weed.

An impression had been made on a young stoner rock enthusiast.

That was over twenty years ago. And that unknown album has since become a cult classic, released by at least several different labels now, the latest being Dopesmoker (2022) on Third Man Records.

Review of the album Dopesmoker (2022) by Sleep

The album/song/opus has become legendary. It is a 60-minute song, built upon what can be thought of as “chapters” of riffs. The intro is three minutes, drums enter and a cadence is developed and then a new riff comes into play and this jamming continues until the first vocals enter the picture after eight minutes.

The vocal chorus has now at this point gained worldwide underground stoner-doom fame for its chanting mantra, sung low and slow:

“Drooppppppp……… out…….. of…. life ……….. with boooonnnggggg ………….in hand.”

The gigantic sound of the Guitars, Drum, and Bass on Dopesmoker

The guitars are fuzzy, and you can tell the axe man just loves to hear the sustain… Matt Pike is the master of “how long can I let go before strumming again?” Because each strum seems delayed, or late, as Matt Pike has built just the perfect amount of anticipation after each strum.

Crash cymbols and constant drumming keep the tune moving along.

While the guitar drones with sustain of singular strums, the walking bass rumbles along, and cannot be ignored. It is in your face. With a punchy tone, the bass plods along.

The first guitar solo is an epic of two harmonized guitars. It comes just in time, not too late but as the song is building. The song continues.

Fifteen minutes in and we are not bored. No sir, we are not. This album rocks!

And this latest version sounds better than ever. It’s hard to remember exact side-by-side comparison details when you’re talking about a song that is over an hour long, and every listen entails copious amounts of cannabis – but in my most recent listen of this new recording my opinion is this latest version has better sound and better riffs.

I caught a few riffs I hadn’t heard before. Either I never realized them or I’d forgotten them. Either way, I was left believing this new version just had better riff variations. And better sound!! The bass is rumbling!

Listening to Sleep’s Dopesmoker is an epic musical journey

Dopesmoker by Sleep is an hour long epic. It is an epic poem, song, riff, drum pattern. Dopesmoker is fantastical in its lyrical imagery, summoning a nostalgic, Conan the Barbarian, sort of stoner adventure.

Jerusalem entered my life at a point when herb smoking was new, exciting, and forbidden. Hearing the album then and burning the herb was an experience.

Today, this album is as memorable as ever. This album is a treat when you can make time to escape the busy world, set everything aside and just go with it. Have a nice clean bong ready, with ice water and ash tray, a sharp grinder, and a tray of great cannabis.

(I happen to be enjoying Rozay and PK Stunna from Relentless Genetics during this current listening session).


Drop out of life with bong in hand
Follow the smoke toward the riff filled land
Drop out of life with bong in hand
Follow the smoke toward the riff filled land

Proceeds the weedian – Nazareth
Proceeds the weedian – Nazareth

Creedsmen roll out across the dying dawn
Sacred Israel holy mountain Zion
Sun beams down on to the sandsea reigns
Caravan migrates through deep sandscape

Lungsmen unearth the creed of Hasheeshian
Procession of the weed-priests to cross the sands
Desert legion smoke-covenant is complete
Herb bails retied on to backs of beasts
Arise, arise, arise – The Son of the God of Israel
Jordan river flows on evermore
Bathe in glow of sunlight’s beating rays
They feel the serpent’s standard rule our days

Stoner caravan emerge from sandsea
Earthling inserts to chalice the green cutchie
Groundation soul finds trust upon smoking hose
Assembled creedsmen rises prayer-filled smoke
Raise up seer’s holy prophecy
Plants down on upon years of the sun now feeds
Seed of Eden fall on nurtured soil
Onward caravan prepare new bong


Weed-priests creedsman chant the right
Judgment soon come to mankind
Green herbsmen serve rightful king
Hemp seed caravan carries

The molten fire flowed up toward Zion
Flight of the Nazarene to seek the cheribum
Rides out believer with the spliff aflame
Marijuanaut escapes earth to cultivate

Grow-room is church temple of the new stoner breed
Chants loud-robed priest down on to the freedom seed
Burnt offering redeems, completes smoked deliverance
Caravan’s stoned deliverance
The caravan holds to eastern creed, now smokes believer
The chronicle of the sinsemillian

Drop out of life with bong in hand
Follow the smoke toward the riff-filled land
Drop out of life with bong in hand
Follow the smoke – Jerusalem


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