Philadelphia has spawned many a great rock band (North America’s only monthly heavy-metal magazine) and you can safely add High Reeper to that list with the impending release of Higher Reeper, their second full-length that builds on the groundwork laid on the quintet’s self-titled album.
Low ‘n’ slow doom does battle with post-apocalyptic lyrics and the occasional Iron Maiden-style riff throughout the record, pausing only to explore new territory—a ballad—on “”Apocalypse Hymn.”
“Our new album, Higher Reeper, has definitely been an eye opener for us,” vocalist Zach Thomas says. “Whatever vision we had on our first album was amplified tenfold on the second. When we recorded the self-titled record, we were thinking that no one would listen to it except for our friends and luckily we were wrong. People listening to this band and investing in it, changed the way we saw it. When we broke into the Philly scene there was a positive response and we figured we’d ride that train to see where it took us. Philly’s tough as nails so if it works out here, it can work out anywhere.
“Higher Reeper was the first record any of us did with a deadline and a real game plan behind it, so of course the pressure was on, but in a good way. There were some truly dark moments when writing it—the peak being the loss of Shane’s [Trimble, bass] friend Gerrard, who the album is dedicated to—so the lighthearted fun of the first record kind of disappeared. We wanted this record to be precise and focused, and in a way, more simplified because we had more of an idea of the end product in mind. The apocalyptic theme was always there but only because of the place I was in. It wasn’t until we wrote ‘Apocalypse Hymn’ that I knew what this album was supposed to be: change, chaos, death and the wake that comes with it all.”
On that note, this is Higher Reeper, out March 22 on Heavy Psych Sounds.