Doom Sessions Vol. 5 - High Reeper // Hippie Death Cult

07 May 2021 - Thorsten

Psychedelic Stoner | Heavy Psych Sounds | Release date: 14 May 2021

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When Italy’s Stoner, Sludge, Doom, everything-heavy specialist label Heavy Psych Sounds announce a new volume of their 10/10 Doom Sessions-series then you should not expect anything else than breathtaking music to bang your head to or to marvel at.

The first installments in the series were more than convincing, they are like diamonds in every guitar lover’s collection with contributions by such highly-praised and widely-acknowledged bands like 16, Bongzilla, Acid Mammoth or 1782. The new chapter features contributions from two American bands: Philadelphia-based doomsters High Reeper and heavy-prog-advancers Hippie Death Cult, from Portland, Oregon.

High Reeper’s songs show a band highly capable of mixing proto-metal like Blue Cheer or the icons from Black Sabbath with some high-voltage rock’n’roll. The highlight of their side of the 7” is surely the third and final track “Withering Decay” which starts out like a song unearthed from the treasure chest of some obscure Canterbury Scene band from the early 70s with a lot of echo on the guitar picking. After a minute the electric part sets in and gives the tracks a much more aggressive undertone. The vocals, delivered by Zach Thomas are as much Ozzy as they are Robert.

However, I must admit that the two tracks on the flipside by Hippie Death Cult are even more intriguing to me, because these show a band that is not afraid to incorporate some hints at Soul into their songs. Yes, SOUL! Listen to their second song here, “Towards Infinity” - there is much more than the doomy blues-licks you hear. Those guitar ditties are enchanting, but as soon as the dual vocals by Ben Jackson and Laura Phillips which might remind some people of the best moments of Black Mountain (for example on Wilderness Heart). At the same time the whole song has the air of a Faith No More-song or of Patton’s Lovage-record he did with Dan The Automator. The band shows a deeper understanding of old Motown- or Decca-bands and all of that in a totally unpretentious way, it all flows very naturally for the quartet.

When comparing the two records you could say that High Reeper try to conquer the witches to dance with them around a burning purgatory; Hippie Death Cult look at the old ladies, ask them for a kiss and make love to them by the dying embers. Both dangerous, but from two different perspectives. Heavy Psych Sounds did it once again!