Unholy moly, High Tension have returned with a new album to remind us how to let loose and get heavy. Following up 2014 ARIA nominated “Death Beat”, BULLY (out July 10) brings more riffs, more passion and aggression (passgression? - Dibs on band name) and is aptly titled as after you’re done listening to the 12 tracks, that’s exactly how you feel. Bullied by the down-tuned fat and dirty guitar, sucked in and abused by the eerie vocals, and just flat out punished. With so much good stuff to listen to and write about in this album I’ll try to cover everything and encapsulate exactly why you need to go out and get this album (pro-tip; buy a cd/vinyl as they’re more fun, +57 life bonus points if you actually get to a physical store)
The first track and album namesake ‘Bully’ crushes from the outset, lots of fat heavy grooves and riffs really set a gritty tone for the album and ‘Guillotine’ pulls you in and spits you back out, building on more grooves only to have teaser track ‘Sports’ staccato guitar and drums and Karina Utomo’s vocals dance and rip all over the catchy undertones that haunt. The middle of the album pushes up into high gear (badum tsh!) with faster rhythms and ‘Iceman’ cramming the maximum amount of energy and mayhem into 1:17 of punishment.
Guest vocalist and recent national tour companion, King Parrots’ Matt Young tears it up on ‘Lapindo’ complimenting the best of what High Tension bring and pushing it to another level. Strong vocals throughout sit nicely with rumbling stripped back drums, the whole relentless 3:47min really showcasing the skill and talent amongst the chaos.
‘Take Control’ and ‘Mass Grave’ provide a few more chunky rhythms that creep in on the listener swinging from lead heavy breakdowns straight into full open throttled rock beats guaranteed to cause some serious neck whiplash.
‘Static Screens’ is another gem worth mentioning with a tapestry of dual layered brutal and evocative vocals, understated drums and guitar lines. The final songs on the album feel like genuine ballsy punk with a distinctive Melbourne taste. It’s a nice taste, like beers on Johnston St Collingwood after a smoke. You know there’s much more refined things you could be doing and listening to, but they’re also not as loud, fun and exciting and probably not as enjoyable.
Add Adalitas (Magic Dirt) guitar cameo and you realise how much awesomeness is piled into this album and that it compels a repeat listen. If things get better with age then hell awaits, because this album is a monster.
Written by Dave Undy
High Tension - Bully
Release Date: July 10