Monday 23 October 2023

Hippie Death Cult - Helichrysum (Album Review)

Release Date: October 20th 2023. Record Label: Heavy Psych Sounds. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Helichrysum - Tracklisting

1.Arise 06:02

2. Shadows 05:52

3. Better Days 06:40

4.Red Giant 04:47

5.Toxic Annihilator 03:22

6.Nefelibata 07:23

7.Tomorrows Sky 06:28


Laura Phillips ~ Vocals / Bass

Eddie Brnabic ~ Guitars

Harry Silvers ~ Drums


Psych Doom/Retro/Stoner Rockers Hippie Death Cult return with a newly determined and creative focus on their latest album Helichrysum with Laura Phillips now being the main vocalist after the departure of Ben Jackson. The band also have a new drummer in the shape of Harry Silvers and he puts in a barnstorming performance with the first rate guitars of Eddie Brnabic. 

Their sound is more Doomed Out Blues based with the right amount of heavy retro rock sounds allowing Hippie Death Cult to move further into the Stoner Metal masses. The Power Trio combo works superbly well for the band with the album being quite a riff-fuelled gloomy adventure with some killer Sleazy moments being added for good measure.

With their trademark Psychedelic Freakout style then I’m happy to state Helichrysum is Hippie Death Cult’s best album to date. The songs have a more mature feeling with the grooves offering an off-kilter sludgy sound with moments of Psychedelic Swirls and waves of Sonic manipulation which comes across superbly well on the excellent batch of opening tracks of Arise, Shadows and Better Days.

The mood is highly atmospheric when the screeching guitars fully kick into gear and moments of 1970’s Classic Hard Rock riff-wizardry and Laura’s vocals have a dramatic BANSHEE effect when Laura hits those stunning high notes especially on Arise. WOW is all I can say. 

There’s a deep affection of Black Sabbath and Led Zepp within this album but Hippie Death Cult add a massive Proto-Doom flavour to this album which still allows the band to add modern sounding Cosmic/Space Rock passages whilst never betraying their Classic Hard Rock roots. The lyrics are on another level compared to their previous albums with a more determined focus that prove Hippie Death Cult can really deliver the BLUES with a heavy Stoner Metal substance holding everything together. 

HIppie Death Cult do have a world-weary presence on this album especially on the more mellower parts of the record. However, they turn into a powerhouse combo when the heavy WEEDIAN grooves appear to restore balance within their dominant Heavy Metal sound. 

The album becomes more daring and sometimes experimental on the later stages of the album on tracks such as Red Giant, Total Annihilator and Nefelibata. There’s some epic levels of Prog Rock with Hippie Death Cult even bringing a touch of classic era Fleetwood Mac to the party and even sees the band bring familiar sounds that fans of Windhand and Royal Thunder will truly appreciate. 

Helichrysum is backed up by stunning production values which is handled mostly by guitarist Eddie Brnabic who also provides assistance on engineering and mixing duties. The band are working with ace record label Heavy Psych Sounds once again and this is another reason why the record sounds so spectacular from start to finish.

Hippie Death Cult have come back stronger and better than ever and Helichrysum is perhaps the making of the band and allowing them to become one of the most essential bands within the underground scene. This album is most definitely Album Of The Year material. End Of.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Purple Sage for the promo.

Helichrysum is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via Heavy Psych Sounds.


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