It takes a truly special breed of sound to send tingles down the spine and drive one’s consciousness into the ground. Such a band only comes around every blue moon, so for those looking to indulge in some sweet, sweet ear candy prepare yourselves for an unearthly experience which is armed with enough brutality to make brute deodorant seem like ten thousand times more of a gimmick than it already is. Of course we speak of non-other than Melbourne’s sweet hearts High Tension.
Their sophomore album Bully from High Tension is the perfect soundtrack to flying down the highway, tinnies in the back and no room for fucks to give.
Consisting of Karina Utomo and Ash Pegram (Young and Restless), Matt Weston (The Nation Blue) and Damian Cowards (Heirs, Love Like Electrocution), High Tension have just released their skull crushing follow up to their 2012 debut LP Death Beat which landed them nominations for ‘Best Hard Rock Album’ at both the ARIA and AIR awards. Recorded in Adelaide with James Balderston, High Tension’s latest effort is entitled Bully and rightfully so. With a little help from some friends (including Matt Young of King Parrot and grunge heroine Adalita) Bully is utterly unapologetically hostile hardcore punk, designed to pile your face into the ground within a single 30 minute listening.
Bully begins with no holds barred, confidently diving right into the title track/debut single from the album. Boy oh boy; everything from the sludgy guitar riffage, the sluggish drum beat, and Utomo’s menacing vocal effort screams utter perfection. By the one minute mark you are instantly subjected to what one can only describe as a relentless eruption of aggression, faultlessly doing the title justice. You simply couldn’t have wished a better track to kick off the Bully experience. The title track is quickly followed up by Guillotine, an unremittingly track which leaves little room for recovery. It’s by this point you quickly realize High Tension have absolutely no intention of taming what is indisputably an inexorable march of rage.
Where High Tension really shines on Bully is through their inherent ability to create excitement through contrasting textures and dynamics. Whether it’s creating suspense with a menacing drone or effortlessly marrying Matt Young’s manic screams with Utomo’s dreary vocal slurs, High Tension have their shit locked in tight. Killed By Life was the first track I heard off this LP which was coupled with a pretty awesome video clip which I suggest you give a sneaky geez. The track itself boasts an irresistible vocal melody plus an attention gripping ferocity that ruthlessly slashes and burns through its mere two minutes of fame. Fondly enough Killed By Life isn’t even the shortest tune on offer.
Spanning just over a minute Iceman is by far the rawest display of sheer brutality on this entire LP. Right from the initial bashes of the cymbals to the drop of the microphone, Iceman is the perfect soundtrack to awaken the psychotic tension head in all of us. Utomo must have known she was onto something when she boasted “This is the key to success” and rightfully so, High Tension’s Bully is nothing short of a success from every angle. It is an impeccable experience from its first to last breath, dishing up a more coherent and mature album than their last.
Please don’t take my words lightly when I say that Bully is hands down THE BEST album of 2015, and deserves nothing less than your complete attention. Or to put it briefly ‘High Tension – Bully’ = #1. Furthermore let’s be proud of the fact that High Tension is here to represent Australia, so throw on your moshing shoes, grab a tinnie and get your asses down to one of their upcoming live shows near you. They promise nothing less than an insanely kick ass live show with plenty of riffage and chops with the energy pushed to 110% at all times, and I wouldn’t doubt a word of that.