HIGH SPIRITS - High Spirits

High Spirits - High Spirits

10 songs
38:35 minutes
***** ***
High Roller

Bandpage

Rumours have it that frontman and bassist Chris Black has already meddled with power metal band Pharaoh and black metal avantgardists Nachtmystium, but he denies everything. High Spirits from Chicago really like to keep a low profile. Founded only last year, they released two demo tapes in February and April. Their self-titled and originally self-released debut album came after, containing the two demos plus two bonus songs.

The cover artwork is anything but spectacular, but that’s how it was intended. High Spirits don’t want any fancy imagery to distract from the music, and what the heck?, they certainly are right, as if perfectly proved by what they do. High Spirits play this kind of heavy metal that can only come from the United States. I would call it power metal, but it is so unlike the fantasy infested European brand that this label might give a wrong impression. Instead we get muscular heavy metal without any frills, sometimes pounding through mid-tempo territories, but just as often cranking up the speed in shorter, more dynamic songs.

It is rather unbelievable that such a new band can already have come up with such mature songwriting. The songs all make sense, come with discernible melodies and really strong vocals. Only the production can’t quite keep up, and I can’t shed the suspicion that a more professionally sounding sound would have added a pound or two to it all.

This self-titled debut ends after not even forty minutes, which is not really long enough, but then I prefer a short but thoroughly entertaining product to a self-serving, pretentious epic which might turn out to be riddled with fillers. The sparse cover artwork may be something of a letdown, but as it is part of the band’s aesthetic ideology, I don’t want to debate it. Fans of traditional US metal la Virgin Steele, Omen and more recently Slough Feg will be delighted by this stylistically confident album. The vinyl version comes on Hight Roller Records, a digipak CD has been released by Cruz Del Sur. The fact that those two companies licenses High Spirits should be another indication of their quality.

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