High Tension – Purge
Released: June 15th, 2018
High Tension are:
Karina Utomo | Vocals
Mike Deslandes | Guitar
Lauren Hammel | Drums
Matt Weston | Bass
High Tension at this point should need no introduction. If you heard Bully or you’ve had the pleasure of seeing one of their live shows. You know who they are. Because this band is honestly one of the best bands in Australia. Does that sound bias? Probably. So it gives me great joy to be reviewing Purge their third album and the one I think will take this band far beyond Australia and into the world.
‘Red White Shame‘ opens the album with a subtle guitar chord. The guitar builds, as Karina Utomo’s vocal joins in. At the midway point, the song downs fifty cans of Redbull and explodes – imagine Utomo suffocating you as she drags you down into depths of her hell. You get the picture. It’s an impressive statement to open an album with. Follow up, ‘Ghost to Ghost‘ highlights their focus on atmospherics. Recalling such bands as Cult of Luna. The song is a sheer exercise in brutalising you as each element builds upon the hypnotic drumming of Lauren Hammel before crushing you to death in a smattering of atmospheric oppression. Heavy and beautiful.
The next track ‘Ular‘ forgoes the hypnotic slow dirge of the previous songs for an all-out onslaught. Ramping up the speed, it threatens to make your head fall off from sheer ferocity. Utomo’s vocals are once again the best part as she chokes you with her rage. Definitely, one to watch in the pit, because it’s absolutely fucking crushing. My personal favourite comes at the halfway point. Ignoring the heaviness of previous songs, ‘Surrender‘opens with a slowly ebbing electronic pulse, before Utomo gives one of her most painful vocal performances, the sadness simply oozing out into your ears and hopefully into your soul. Amazing.
Subsequently, ‘Veil‘ takes the theme of the previous track and ramps up the acoustics, recalling the ultimate white boy anthem ‘Wonderwall‘. Nah, I’m just fucking with you. In reality, it’s an enrapturing number geared towards ripping your face clean off – the crescendo ramps up the atmosphere and guitar work, placing it firmly on the soundtrack to end the world. ‘The Legacy‘ finds itself as the ultimate standout of the entire album. Recalling the urgency of bands like Converge can only ever be a good thing. Short and sweet, it features some impressive guitar work, while Utomo’s vocals eat you alive from the depths of sound spewing forth around her. The main guitar riff is not recommended for those with neck issues. Probably.
The album ends with ‘Rise‘ an all-encompassing song featuring all the highlights of the previous tracks. Utomo and her cohorts crush you one final time, the menacing guitar work is a particular highlight, whilst the male vocal joining Utomo gives it a nice contrast. This song is the perfect endnote to a great album.
Purge is a crowning achievement in atmospheric heaviness. It is without any hesitation the best thing High Tension have ever made. Watch this space, because Purge is going to take High Tension far beyond Australia and straight into the big leagues of the heavy music world.
High Tension – Purge tracklisting
1. Red White Shame
2. Ghost to Ghost
4. Bite the Leash (Burn)
7. The Stench
8. The Legacy