High Reeper - High Reeper

High Reeper cover
High Reeper
High Reeper
Heavy Psych Sounds
2018
7.5
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Good ‘ol Stoned Meadow of Doom at hullabalootube... while he often caters to outright stoner rock ventures, at times comes up with real fiery glumdingers, namely wickedly infectious, goomba-stomping proto doom metal such as Philadelphia’s High Reeper, a five-man harbinger of Sabbath-y histrionics which last month launched its titular full-length debut under Heavy Psych Sounds, a compelling purveyor of mind-bending psychedelic fare in its own right.
 
Highly prevalent throughout the nine tracks totalling a little over forty minutes is the overall dominance of the rhythm section and cothexis (i.e. energy) put into song build-ups, as well as the hypnotizing and jarring use of riff repetition, immediately noticeable on tracks like the brood-some and oh-so-ruminating, Orchid styled opener, “Die Slow”, and maddeningly waltzing blues jam, “Soul Taker”, which sounds like it was pried directly off the B-Side of Black Sabbath’s self-titled 1970 debut (its catchy as fuck chorus fooled me into thinking it was called “Man O’ War”, a most conducive title all the same!).
 
Evidently, one can readily glean a huge host of influences and comparable bands, such as Duel and the twin sirs, Sir Lord Baltimore and Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, as well as spots of undeniable Church Of Misery worship, like the wonky, twisted lead and slambashing drum beat towards the end of the rather short, three-minute long “Chrome Hammer”. While the “similar artists” column also lists Pentagram, I find the plump, rotund level of bass-heavy yet clear production, as well as sparse albeit debilitating and frenzied pentatonic soloing (such as the stylishly evil and motorized “Wicked World”-ish lead on “Black Leather”) more along the lines of early Sabbath and Orchid, with front man Zach Thomas bringing to mind a more affable yet as despondently wailing Pepper Keenan from Corrosion Of Conformity, and in particular, a youthful Ozzy, notably on “Soul Taker”.
 
Back to what I was saying about the battery, the bass and drums are easily on par with the raucously offbeat and slackened guitars, at times literally taking over altogether. For instance, dig the festive and rim-shot fueled. Bill-Ward-ish drum solo, which so effortlessly elbows its way into “High Reeper” proper, or friggin’ rad plugging and diabolically poised bass line, which serves as a late, post culminating solo bridge on the album’s most hard-driving and uncharacteristically fast-tempo’d cut (as well as sure-fire genre staple!), closer “Friend of Death”. Just when you think things are innocuously coming to an end, it incredibly yields a bone-grinding and teeth clattering rampant return to form and final wizened harangue which, on first listen, almost made me squeal in delight (emphasis on “almost”!).
 
Essentially, every track rocks to the max, whether it’s the hell bent, slowly incepting and black massed “Reeper Deadly Reeper”, which a third of the way in comes to a breathless halt and reversion to said maniacally driven and repetitive riffing prior to steering its way back into its loathsome but super chill opening cadence, or freaked out and rudefully swaying as well as barn crashing sing-along doom anthem, “Double Down and Let It Ride”. However, my favorite track is, without a doubt, the black winged n’' tinged side-winding pummel-er which is “Weed and Speed”. Its main, lazy and drawling flow is nothing to get too stirred up over, but the way the rocketing slip-sliding chorus riff greasily punches through the veil to the tune of downright jolting, knock-out chants of “The Reeper! Looking at you now! Motherfucker!” is simply too good! That said, I forced it upon a good pal and heavy metal aspirant who’s always complaining how all doom metal sounds too Ozzy-ish only to have him excitedly clamor for more!
 
Anyhow, yes, do check out High Reeper’s debut (also available on CD and 12" vinyl), whether or not you’re big on the aforementioned bands – should it fail to fully fan your flames I commit to charbroil my hat on the barbecue and scarf it down whole!

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