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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.