(in which a lapsed metalhead seeks the heaviest metal song ever - recommendations are welcome)
The story of Dopesmoker is one that's been told much better than I can. So I'll recommend that you look elsewhere and commence to give the super-condensed version. It goes like this - mainstreamish record label freaks out when their new act delivers a 64-minute song/LP devoted to the joys of recreational drug use.
As someone who's never really developed a taste for that sort of thing, I'll note that Dopesmoker stands on its own merits very well, thank you. You don’t need to be a dopesmoker to appreciate the music. That is, as long as you're a fan of heavy, heavy music that takes a riff or two and hammers away at them for more than an hour.
I'm sure these types of antics could go very much astray in the wrong hands. But I'd go so far as to say that Dopesmoker is just plain brilliant. Rather than being monotonous, all of that repetition with very little variation becomes hypnotic at some point.
My only quibble is that when the band does change things up, with noodly-doodly guitar breaks and whatnot, it actually detracts from the hypnotic effect. Release a remixed version without all of this nonsense and I'll be at the head of the line.