High Tension – Bully (Album Review)


OUT: July, 10th 2015

Karina Utomo | vocals
Ash Peagram | guitars
Matt Weston | bass
Damian Coward | drums


Melbourne’s High Tension have been running around town since 2012 and much was expected from this high energy quartet with the follow up to the ARIA nominated 2013 debut, Death Beat. The band has more than delivered. Bully is a tight, wound up bundle of frenetic punk-rock-metal fusion. There is no genre for this band, for they are simply unique but unequivocally Australian.

Led by the pocket dynamo that is Karina Utomo, the raptor-like female vocalist previously of band, Young and Restless, High Tension are in your face from beginning to end. Bully has a more ‘foot to the pedal’ feel than its predecessor however it occasionally winds back its raw power into building tension and ultimately its these crescendos in some of the tracks that should have the masses in the mosh pits across Oz heaving when High Tension roll into town.

The title track kicks off the record, Matt Weston’s bass wallowing in the intro with Utomo in full scream mode. Sometimes psychedelic and with a crafty distorted guitar solo, it’s an intriguing intro. ‘Guillotine’ continues the coy building of tracks, this time incorporating a gentle riff build. Make no mistake its heavy but its cautious and though not the ‘balls out’ delivery we expect from High Tension, it’s not long before that ‘baseball bat to the back of the skull’ sound comes crashing through with Utomo exploding with ‘that’ scowl.

The riffage on next track, ‘Sports’ delivers more of that punk sound adored similarly on previous album’s single ‘High Risk, High Rewards’. ‘Killed by Life’ rolls into a melodic beat but nonetheless punk splurge, something which continues on ‘Iceman’, attacking ferociously, relentlessly. King Parrot’s, Matt Young adds his shriek to next track, ‘Lapinod’, combining seamlessly with Utomo’s demonic release.

The whispering elongated intro to ‘Take Control’ provides brief respite before winding into a psychotic haze. More punchier tracks ‘Hell Repeat’ and ‘Mass Grave’ highlight the band’s punk groove though remain engulfed with that wailing vocal that just makes the listener want to piss off the neighbours and play at the highest volume possible. Utomo out does herself on ‘Static Screens’, a cacophonous surge of screams as she strips paint off the wall.

Concluding with ‘What’s Left’, the band combining, the sultry rock voice of ex-Magic Dirt and now successful solo artist, Adalita into the mix. High Tension have delivered with their follow up album in spades. Where Death Beat showcased the band as an eclectic mix of genre’s, Bully highlights itself as a more rounded album still containing all those patent licks but more mature in song development. One of Australia’s finest live acts are building an impressive catalogue to showcase. A must buy!

high tension tour
Bully track listing;

  1. Guillotine
  2. Sports
  3. Killed By Life
  4. Iceman
  5. Lapindo
  6. Hell, Repeat
  7. Take Control
  8. Mass Grave
  9. Static Screens
  10. Lucky Country (Pt. 2)
  11. What’s Left

Pick up sweet pre-order deals and bundles here –> http://www.hightension.com.au/store/

Rating 9/10

Cheers @Plugga73

About Plugga73 (370 Articles)
Writing, reviewing, interviewing, exploring new and old heavy music. From punk to grunge to hardcore to death metal to thrash and everything in between. I've been writing in the music industry now for several years including the websites LOUD, SF Media, Tone Deaf, The Metal Review and AMNplify. I'll be the one talking about bands from the 90s all the time..... Hit me up on twitter @Plugga73

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