Their name might be silly, but if you like your doom underdone Saint Vitus style with a dash of Black Sabbath, the debut album from Philly’s High Reeper ain’t no joke! From “Die Slow” to “Reeper Deadly Reeper” to “Weed and Speed,” the nine tracks on this freshman effort don’t disappoint.
“Die Slow” starts things off with a classic old-school doom riff, complete with the traditional nasal doom-metal vocal. Hell, it even has a fuzzy bass solo, and at least one Ozzy “Oh yeah!” The chorus is effective in its simplicity, repeating the title a handful of times, but it’s the riffs that really make it. “Chrome Hammer” picks up the pace, while keeping that doomy Vitus groove (think “War is Our Destiny” or “White Stallions”), albeit with a slower, head-nodder of a chorus. “Soul Taker,” while only 30 seconds longer than its predecessor, is a whole lot doomier, combining a Winoesque groove with a verse that sounds sorta like “Into the Void” played in super slow-mo.
The intro to the title track (yes, they have a song named “High Reeper”) is somewhat reminiscent of “War Pigs” in its slow building rumble, although the first several seconds are completely bass-driven before the first fuzzy riff kicks in. This one has a bit more of a mid-paced desert-rock groove, sorta like Orange Goblin in its prime, and even contains a drum solo halfway through. The one-two true-doom punch of “Reeper Deadly Reeper” and “Weed & Speed” wouldn’t sound outta place on Vitus’ Mournful Cries, while “Double Down and Let it Ride” does just what its title implies with a tasty, mid-paced stoner groove.
Don’t get me wrong, these guys aren’t reinventing the wheel of confusion… but if it ain’t broke, then why fix it?