HIPPIE DEATH CULT – HELICHRYSUM
LABEL: Heavy Psych Sounds
RELEASE: October 20th, 2023
AUTHOR: Paul Hutchings
03. Better Days
04. Red Giant
05. Toxic Annihilator
07. Tomorrow’s Sky
The third instalment in the dynamic musical journey of the US trio HIPPIE DEATH CULT, “Helichrysum” sees the band return with more of their sonically charged doom. With 2019’s “111” and 2021’s “Circle Of Days” already in the catalogue, the rolling bass and drums combined with the fuzzy guitar work and Laura Phillips haunting vocals return.
They combine elements of stoner rock spliced with doom in a way that many others also do, but it’s the way in which they do it which makes it a listenable experience. For a trip, there’s a lot going on across the seven-tracks that make up this album. At times a little rambling, which to be fair is the nature of the beast here, the opening track “Arise” introduces the listener to the general direction. A swirling fog of fuzz and riffage, Phillips howls as well as delivering low octave vocals. It’s an opening that rumbles and roars.
Alongside Phillips, founder member Eddie Brnabic’s guitar work is enchanting, lost at times in the mystery that the band create. With Phillips also adding the bass, it’s drummer Harry Silvers who has free reign to provide the beat. There is plenty of seventies psychedelia thrown in, proving to be a heady mix on the likes of “Shadows”, which sees Brnabic give his guitar an athletic workout.
Using a series of repetitive riffs isn’t a crime here, for there are plenty of magic journeys to embark on. The drifting textures of “Better Days” allow you to embark on a process where focus is at most half engaged. Atmospheric stoner rock comes to the fore on the pounding “Red Giant”, which sees the band powerfully cut loose. It’s a real foot stomper, flowing riffs and Phillips providing an album winning performance. Lashings of groove drip throughout this track, the heaviest to arrive, with some ferociously driven tempos and blistering lead guitar work. The pulsing cavern of Phillips filth-encrusted low-end dominates without suffocating. The whole thing is a captivating ride, none more so than penultimate ramble “Nefelibata”, a seven-minute sprawl that sees the band extend themselves, introduce thick sludgy riffs and keyboards which all add to the mix. Throw in a slightly muddy mix, and this could have been a buried gem from 1975.By all accounts the band’s live shows are a spectacle to behold, and one would imagine that these tracks will bring a new dimension to those shows. Pushing boundaries, following their own path, this is music to immerse and lose yourself in. Cleverly composed and constructed, HIPPIE DEATH CULT’s latest album is one enjoyable ride.