High Reeper by High ReeperRelease date: March 16, 2018
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records
Firmly rooted within the stoner rock scene, Philly band High Reeper bring the usual classic riff filled chops on this debut album. Bowing down at the church of Sabbath, they remain resolutely steadfast in their aim to deliver on riffs and the occult. Slipping between slow tempo grooves to full on rock, they cover the small gamut of stoner rock tropes within the album, making for a fun, if slightly derivative listen.
Lifted above standard fare by a great analogue feel, the band fit in well with the always great Heavy Psych Sounds roster. Their lack of any imagination unfortunately holds them back a little. That’s not to say that High Reeper is a poor album. You just get the impression that there is limited scope for anything remarkable,
There are great bits. The opening riff on ‘Chrome Hammer’ is a clarion call ushering in a blast of heady rock. Even better is the statement of intent set out by ‘Soul Taker’ on a riff destined to get your head banging. Whilst its chorus makes a play for the anthemic, the music turns into a full on dirty grind.
The title track is broken up by that old chestnut, the drum solo, and whilst this is no ‘Ramble On’, it does offer something different to what is a dirge like song. It is the closest that High Reeper come to getting out of their comfort zone, and you kind of wish they would do it more often as they show real talent and interest behind the wall of stoner riffs.
‘Reeper Deadly Reeper’ is better as it pushes itself for a harder edge but it soon sinks back into basic stoner rock for ‘Weed And Speed’. Rather than being edgy it simply bores and you find your mind wandering, when it should be rocking out. ‘Double Down And Let It Ride’ does bring in an awesome funky blues riff but by then its too little too late. Some excellent vocal work lifts this song even higher making for a decent second half of the album.
Whilst High Reeper are competent in what they are doing, by staying way in their comfort zone they simply become a little derivative. This ultimately leads to boredom which is one of the worst things that can happen with music like this. There’s enough to make it a worthwhile listen, but you feel that it will eventually get left on the shelf. Still, one or two highlights bring some much needed interest. Here’s hoping they push themselves a bit more with their next release.