13 May 2021

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

Italy’s Heavy Psych Sounds Records specialises in stoner, 70s rock and doom with a plethora of bands showcasing the very best of these genres. Their Doom session series consists of split albums between two of the label’s heaviest bands in the doom scene with all featured tracks completely new and unheard of before. Volume 5 is a compilation of Philadelphia’s High Reeper and Portland’s Hippie Death Cult, a duo who create the ultimate trip in psychedelic fuzz and doom.

Doom Sessions kicks off with three fresh tracks from High Reeper starting with Vermillion Iron. There’s a crushingly slow intro, guitar melodies foreboding and dark in classic worship of Black Sabbath’s iconic riffs. Everything then all moulds and melts together into a strong and hypnotic verse riff, the commanding vocals taking centre stage. With the cry of “War!” the song takes us into new melodic depths, the guitar solos bluesy with the notes sliding and melding with ease. It’s a promising start to a compilation that promises the very best of the doom scene.

Winter King/Devils Grip is the track that made me so psyched to hear the rest of this album and was recently featured in my Repeat Offenders piece (cheeky link to that here.)  I honestly believe that the perfect embodiment of the song is the album art itself. Winter King/Devil’s Grip is incredibly bad ass, possessing some absolutely monstrous riffs and an excellent vocal delivery that levitates to new heights. The absolute cherry on the cake though is the ending instrumental section where the riffs become even heavier and all encompassing, the guitar melodies screaming with pinch harmonics and strangled by the whammy bar to create an effect that Dimebag Darrell would be proud of.

To conclude High Reeper’s contribution there’s a significant tone shift in Withering Decay, opening with a gentle clean melody that gradually gets intercepted by a low fuzzy bassline. Elements gradually layer until no clean melody remains. There’s a slight beautiful quality to the vocal melodies throughout, the rhythm similar to a wave lapping into the ocean. There’s a welcome shift halfway through where the sludgy riffs boom and demand attention before transcending full circle into the same gentle clean melody to conclude.

The album moves into Hippie Death Cult territory with two remaining tracks, longer and more indulgent than High Reeper. If you like progressive rock then this is the perfect listening experience.

Fill the Fires opens with a classic retro voice over akin to Rob Zombie as the drums beat in a trance like rhythm. Sounds and tones gradually begin to appear until you think that it’s not possible for much more to be added to the melting pot. Synths and hypnotic riffs join together with the mystical vocals soaring, possessing such an unearthly quality to them. This then switches into a blisteringly quick Motorhead style guitar solo. It quickly becomes apparent that there’s such a distinct chaos to Hippie Death Cult but somehow it works. And I love it. At just under 9 minutes, Fill the Fires is a truly expansive journey, one with cosmic flair and tight musicianship.

Session concluder Towards Infinity is a meditative trip, rich with acoustic moody tones and ethereal vocals. At the halfway point there’s a fantastic retro riff that adds a heavier dimension and a differing sound for the vocals to swirl and dance over. It’s a truly beautiful piece with such musical attention to detail and intricacies.

Doom Sessions Vol 5 is a fantastic introduction to High Reeper’s and Hippie Death Cult’s work, two bands that are distinctly different but offer the highest quality of stoner rock, psychedelia and of course doom.

If you’re craving more doom in your life, Heavy Psych Sounds Records have got you covered.

Highlights: Winter King/Devils Grip, Fill the Fires 

High Reeper and Hippie Death Cult are a part of Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

Social media for High Reeper: Facebook and Instagram.

Social media for Hippie Death Cult: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.