without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
When I first heard of a band called "Bongripper" I immediately thought "oh my god, again one of these standard stoner-sludge bands like Belzebong". Don't get the wrong end of the stick. There are absolutely great stoner-sludge records out there. Bongzilla is a great example of that, but one might get the feeling that most of the newcomer bands of this genre get boring pretty fast and focus too much on sounding like the "masters" than creating their own authentic style. However, a friend of mine told me Bongripper made some really nice records, so I took the "Hippie Killer" on my mp3-player, went to a river nearby my home, heard Black Sabbath's Paranoid for a 1000000th time, and the next band in the alphabetical order was Bongripper. As I said, I didn't expect that much, but what I heard totally blew me away.
Hippie Killer starts with an atmospheric intro that takes about two minutes. After this rather quiet introduction to this brutal masterpiece, it's time for their first "hit" on this record called "Reefer Sutherland", 16 minutes beginning with a brutal sludge riff that will stay in your head for the rest of the month. The song goes on and at some point it breaks and gets more and more atmospheric, even Yawning Man-style psychedelic. At this point you could think it's rather Hippie Creator than Hippie Killer, but when "Terrible Bear Attack", a classic and aggressive sludge song (and by the way, the only Bongripper song with vocals) begins, you first realize how low their instruments are tuned. I guess it's A-D-G-C-E-A. The songs "Osaria", "Je m'appelle", "Droid Developer", as well as the intro, "Tranny Ride", act more like connections between the other songs to keep the album flowing.
Another part you don't expect is the 2nd hit, "Charlie, Burt Reynolds Has Got Shit on You", which sounds like a really, really deep post-rock/post-metal song. Very atmospheric, very emotional, and very melancholic. Melancholic highness is caught in a song, but not played. It's really fuckin' authentic and touching, as kitschy as it might sound. This is one of the songs that prove that Bongripper are NOT like all the other stoner-sludge bands out there, but pay attention, this might not be your kind of style if you are not familiar with atmospheric sludge bands like Isis or Cult of Luna.
But seriously, the way "Charlie, Burt Reynolds Has Got Shit on You" is less brutal, the last two tracks, "Thanks for Sticking Around" and "Her Highness", are even more brutal. "Thanks for Sticking Around" isn't even sludge. It's drone/doom. I am still stunned that these guys had the balls to write a fuckin' drone/doom song for this album even if it's one of the weaker songs (which doesn't mean it's weak, by the way). To complete this album, "Her Highness" shows the hypnotizing effects of a great riff within weird timing. 13 minutes, just one heavy riff, and nice breaks and stuff to create an atmosphere full of pressure.
To finally summarize, what I found here is a fuckin' great piece of art. As long as you love sludge and you are an open-minded person, you will love this record. It contains deep, brutal, and pissed sludge, atmospheric post-metal/atmospheric sludge, and even some drone/doom. Even if one doesn't like it, everyone has to admit it's a really interesting record that's worth checking out.
It's bad that Bongripper need an introduction, because they're so fucking awesome, writing one seems so useless. Their sound is so massive and loud, it's a wonder they haven't been heard across the globe. Instead, they remain a shadow in the dark alley where you buy your drugs that is the American doom scene, or a gem so rare that you can't help but hoard it all for yourself.
Hippie Killer, the band's sophomore output, is by far the best thing they've released and easily one of the best doom records ever. Track titles like "Reefer Sutherland" (best song title EVER) and "Terrible Bear Attack" completely understate the lethargic ferocity and overall seriousness that shrouds this doom epic. The tracks are all long and destructive (save for "Terrible Bear Attack", the obligatory thrash track), the excruciating sludge broken up by much-needed breathing room in the form of super-spacey drone tracks that are long enough to give you a break and not overstay their welcome. There really isn't a dull moment to be found, even on "Her Highness", which consists of one simple riff played for 13 minutes. The whole shebang is gift-wrapped in a gorgeous production job that still manages to be super-crushing during the ample heavy moments.
The offerings here are also pretty eclectic for a doom release (read: more than one style of doom is employed -- and employed well). After a brief (and really creepy) drone intro, "Reefer Sutherland" kicks off the album; as in, it's a total kick to the teeth. The crisp and clear but brutally heavy guitar tone comes crashing down suddenly; riff-bombs collapsing your roof. The band's expertly-executed doom riffs gradually lead into one of the most profound and harrowing post-metal climaxes, one so grand it almost makes Neurosis seem tame, with a truly beautiful bassline that sounds like it should've made it onto Oceanic, and a frenzied battle between the wild drumming and tumultuous guitar textures.
"Terrible Bear Attack" is the only fast track present, and one of the only tracks the band has ever recorded with vocals. Though mostly a raving thrash attack, it has one hell of a sludgy breakdown and a crazy segue into the bizarre "Je m'appelle", which is followed up directly by "The People Mover", the album's second behemoth. Here, things get a little less traditional (don't let the opening riff fool you) when a swirling monsoon of lysergide guitar noodling and fantastic bass work takes center stage between the devastating stoner-doom choruses.
After that, things slow down a lot. "Charlie..." is a relatively gentle, relaxed post-metal epic that develops some delicate opening notes into a textured tremolo torpedo travelling fast into the hull of a fragile ship. Bongripper then bust out the Sunn O))) for "Thanks for Sticking Around", subduing the listener into a drowsy trance before "Her Highness" comes in for one final bludgeoning. The song is one simple riff played ad-nausea with little variation, floating on the melting conveyor-belt-world of a bad acid trip. For the 13 minutes. Then suddenly, the album is over and the listener exhausted, presumably.
The gents in Bongripper out-did (an understatement, really) themselves on this album and bestowed upon us a doom metal classic to rival the reigns of everyone from Electric Wizard and Ufomammut to Neurosis and Minsk. They still don't get the recognition they deserve -- even within the doom scene. But hopefully one day this will go beyond being just a pristine underground jewel and see the same (in)fame that Dopethrone and Dopesmoker amassed, for Hippie Killer is indeed a classic among metal.
Bongripper is a stoner/doom/post-metal outfit from Chicago. All of the members are just in it for the love of music and don’t care about money; from what I read in another review of this album, one of them even leaked it onto the internet. The brand of sludgy psychedelia on Hippie Killer is excellent; it is almost entirely instrumental (with the exception of the track “Terrible Bear Attack”) I do have to admit that I didn’t enjoy the drumless, dronier tracks as much as the doomier ones, but the latter type tend to be much longer so it’s okay. I also thought the album went on a bit too long; at just under the maximum 80 minutes for a CD, it felt like the band was just trying too hard to fill out the entire thing. Also, I felt the vocals on “Terrible Bear Attack” were really annoying, and I was glad that track was just 3 minutes long.
Those are my only real quibbles with the album, though; it’s wonderfully atmospheric with crushing riffs, and I totally would’ve gotten high to this if my social skills were good enough to obtain weed. My personal favorite track was the 16-minute “Reefer Sutherland,” although most of the album was strong. Fans of this style of metal will love Hippie Killer.
Originally posted at metal-jerks.com