Review: Tripping Haze Ceremony ‘Tripping Haze Ceremony’

Selangor is one of 13 states in Malaysia which surrounds the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur (the country’s capital). It has the largest economy in terms of GDP, is the most developed with the largest population and has the lowest poverty rate in the country. What it also has is Tripping Haze Ceremony, a young stoner/doom trio that formed in 2017, which comprises of Epulyard (guitar, vocal), Sara (bass) and Lim (drums). The debut follows a 2018 demo, Night Of The Damned and Emperor Of Doom single. The latter will be released as a 7” when the vinyl version comes out in early 2021 through DHU Records, that’s also being mastered by the legendary Tony Reed.

Tripping Haze Ceremony ‘Tripping Haze Ceremony’

The album’s artwork has a classic 60s/70s horror movie poster vibe, while the font the band name is in leaves little doubt you are dealing with a stoner/doom band. Sativa’s Trip is a reference to a type of cannabis that gives one a ‘head high’, an energizing affect that helps reduce stress and increases creativity. The track is a little reminiscent to the beginning of Sabbath’s overlooked classic Under The Sun and at one minute twenty two, serves as a nice crushing intro to get you ready for the album to come.

Panhead Dreams opens with a quote from Easy Rider and the track’s title is a nod to the type of Harley engine Peter Fonda’s bike has in the film. The track sounds akin to a heavier Soundgarden, especially the track Nothing To Say from the Screaming Life/Fopp EP, there is definitely a dirty grungy vibe going on and this is no bad thing.

Big Red Machine has a Windhand sense of melancholia as well as some mighty Sabbathian sludge grooves, parts of which remind me of A National Acrobat. A solid track that doom/stoner obsessive’s will appreciate. Night Of The Damned is one of three tracks over the nine minute mark and has some pretty awesome soloing from Epulyard, it feels like its pummelling your soul into the ground in the spirit of vintage Electric Wizard.

it feels like its pummelling your soul into the ground in the spirit of vintage Electric Wizard…

Space Cat is an instrumental that has an experimental bent whereby the band adopt a drone doom approach and hammer away at the same riff, building tension as they go along. Although the previous tracks were fun for hardened fans of the genre like myself, Space Cat sees the band venture outside their comfort zone for the first time with great success.

We then get to the most intriguing track on the album, the cover of infamous Malaysian pop star Mona Fendi‘s (infamous for the gruesome murder of politician Mazlan Idris) Ratapan Anak. The original sounds like a nondescript forlorn love song, in THC’s hands however it’s transformed into a slab of haunting and moving folk. It may be an odd inclusion on an album dominated by stoner/doom metal, but somehow its sombre tone and downbeat nature reminds one that heavy doesn’t always equate purely to volume, but vibe too.

Dead Man’s Terror is the longest track on the album at well over ten minutes and if you dug the riff over on Space Cat you will absolutely love this one. There is an added psychedelic flavour, especially with the somewhat woozy vocals making this an excellent way to conclude the long player.

While there is a sense of reassuring familiarity on the first half of the album, it’s the last three tracks where the band demonstrate their growing confidence as far as developing their own sound and identity is concerned. A promising debut and ones to watch in the future.

Label: Independent | DHU Records
Band Links: Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills