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  • I bought Dopesmoker on CD while already owning Jerusalem, and I thought I’d share my views.I was actually a little disappointed when I first heard Jerusalem some years ago. I thought: Yikes! This is long and boring and not very heavy. Not as good as Volume 1, I thought. It’s a bit tricky to compare the two on CD – Dopesmoker is one long track while Jerusalem is split into six. This means that, to compare the two records by listening to the same portion, one has to hold the FF or REW down on the CD player on Dopesmoker for a good few seconds.Dopesmoker is longer. It takes longer to get going, but it also repeats a section that is my favourite part of Jerusalem: in track 4 (Jerusalem) or roughly 45 min (Dopesmoker), there is a section after the quiet part where the bass really sings out BONGGG BONGGG – this is repeated in Dopesmoker to great effect, whereas Jerusalem goes straight into the “spliff aflame” lyric.Artwork: Dopesmoker CD comes in an attractive card sleeve, with excellent psychedelic artwork, fore and aft, inside and out. Jerusalem is cheaper looking, but comes with lyrics, a cute bright green CD, and a great picture of a coconut bong. It’s up to you.Dopesmoker is louder: I found this useful on headphones: Jerusalem had to be turned all the way up on my portable player, while Dopesmoker wasn’t maxxed out.The second long (twangy) guitar solo seems to sound better on Dopesmoker, I think, probably because the sound is bigger generally. Also, I spotted a tiny bit of echo on the vocals somewhere in the mix, not there in Jerusalem.Dopesmoker begins with a cute little flourish, while Jerusalem does not.Still, comparing Dopesmoker with Jerusalem directly, on the same stereo, I was surprised to find that I actually prefer Jerusalem. Dopesmoker is definately bigger and bassier, but Jerusalem is trancier and more together. This is purely a subjective response, and I think others will definately disagree with me.Also, Jerusalem is split into 6 tracks. I know the band hated it, but it’s pretty sensible. I usually listen from track 2 (the way the tracks are split is intelligent and it goes into a great riff), or listen from track 4 (my favourite portion). Purists among you, don’t be angry. Actually, Dopesmoker comes with extra track Sonic Titan, but I think it’s a waste of time, except it allows you to jump to the end of track 1 (Dopesmoker) and rewind it if your favourite chunk is somewhere near the end. 52 minutes is more tolerable than 64.I traded my copy of Dopesmoker, but it certainly reawakened my interest in Jerusalem. These are two very similar records anyway: I’d buy whichever one takes your fancy on a whim. You’re better off with the groovy Holy Mountain or the lovely Volume 1, though!

    Posted on February 25, 2010