Sunday, February 23, 2014

HI-GH: Night Dances (2013)

Yeah, you can probably tell some things about this band from the cover of the album and their band name.  If you guessed that they enjoyed pot on occasion, you would probably be pretty accurate.  HI-GH also has a little bit of a weird sense of humor, best shown by their name for their style of music.  They play a combination of punk and speed metal that they refer to as "spunk".  Yes.

The Rome-based HI-GH plays a fast-paced, energetic brand of metal that bears a very strong resemblance to the early days of Metallica, Slayer, and Overkill.  Yes, I named three bands that are well-known for thrash metal.  But I am referring to the early recordings of those groups, back when the punk influences were more pronounced and they were just playing a faster brand of heavy metal (that's really all speed metal is in reality).  Think "Hit the Lights", "Rotten to the Core", and other tracks along those veins.

That being said, some of the songs are much closer to punk than the speed/thrash described above.  Tracks like "Zig Zag Shaped" definitely have a lot more punk than metal in it, with the simple, repeating riff and standard chord progression.  Real punk though, not the pop punk shit that most associate with it.  Dirty and raw-sounding punk.

It becomes pretty clear as the album goes on that this is a very light-hearted band.  Songs are a little humorous at times without a whole lot of heavy themes.  The songs are fun.  Tracks like "Let Me Know" which has a very bouncy and peppy feel to it.  Many of the songs in the middle of the album are a lot more light-hearted than expected.

The final track, which is twelve minutes of experimentation and random noodling, could be lost without any effect on the rest of the album though.  It does not match the rest of the album at all and is pretty tedious to listen to.

Overall I enjoyed this album.  It is not anything terribly special.  It's a bunch of songs that sound like the early days of thrash metal, when most of the bands were playing a combination of punk and speed metal.  It's an interesting retro-sounding album.  Not bad.  Not terrific, but it is a lot of fun.

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