Things you could do in less time than that which drags past, ponderously as an elephant on Quaaludes, on the title track of San Jose metal act Sleep's new album:

1. Orate at a presidential inaugural. George Washington's address at the beginning of his second term was only six minutes long.

2. Win Texas independence. In 1836, Sam Houston's Texans routed Santa Anna's Mexican army in eighteen minutes.

3. Fight and win a whole war. In 1896, the British fleet took over Zanzibar 38 minutes after declaring war.

4. Listen to all of both the US editions of Rubber Soul and Revolver.

That's right, folks, "Dopesmoker" clocks in at 63 minutes and 31 seconds. Lyrically, the marathon metal-slab is said to concern -- and neither myself nor even Tenacious D could make this up -- the travails of the "Weedian people" as they search for the Shangri-La where the bud is always kind and the cops are always cool. Unfortunately, you can't understand the words, and at any rate no one starts singing until after eight minutes in. The drums don't kick in until about the third minute. The first guitar solo comes tearing through at about the twenty-minute mark. There are several false endings at approximate ten-minute intervals, starting at the half-hour mark. "Iron Man" gets shamelessly ripped off at the 49-minute mark, and again a few minutes later.

The first false ending was kinda cute: As the guitar sounded like it was gonna reverb the Weedians off to their promised land of perpetual buzz, the drummer hit a snappy roll and Sleep lumbered forth back into the same old riffage. But this happened again. And again. And again and again and again.

If you thought Black Sabbath circa Master of Reality was too crisp and dainty, Dopesmoker is for you. Rumor has it that Sleep singer Al Cisneros has since had a nervous breakdown and won't play music anymore. One listen to "Dopesmoker," and this writer almost swore never to listen to music anymore.


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