“Till Death And After” is the second album from Italian speed metal group HI-GH. This record features a number of distinctive styles and sounds, though it is firmly rooted in the punkish speedy works of bands like Venom and Motorhead. In contrast to those two groups, however, the sound is quite a bit cleaner. The guitar tone is much crisper and easier to hear. This makes the simplistic riffs all the more effective, as you aren’t struggling to decipher what is going on. Likewise, the surprisingly proficient soloing is amplified by the clarity of the guitar playing. The comparison to Venom is most apt in the vocal approach, as HI-GH’s singer grunts and growls his way through the record. He does display the ability to hit some truly wicked high-pitched screams, but spends most of his time utilizing a lower range that doesn’t present too much variety in pitch. The rest of the band makes up for that by using plenty of melodic licks alongside their great riffs.
The highlight on this album is the ill-titled “Sex Machine”. At over 6 minutes, it is the longest song on the record, but it also has the most twists and turns. It opens with an atmospheric intro before ascending to the classic speed metal that dominates much of the record. The chorus takes a different approach as it is the first true “sing along” type song the band has done on the album. It won’t even take until the end of the first chorus for you to figure this one out. Additionally, this song has an added energy about it, making “Sex Machine” feel much more spontaneous than anything else on the record. This track also displays how awesome distorted bass is, as there is a short interlude after the second chorus. Other songs, such as the short, punky “Your Bloody Face” similarly show off the bassist’s skills.
Even though the majority of this album features speed-tinged riffing, HI-GH is actually at their best when they lock into more rocking grooves. These are particularly prevalent when there is a harmonized guitar section (one great example is “Born Under Evil Defence”). These moments are pure feelgood metal, which other bands like Enforcer and Skull Fist also embrace. Though few and far between, it is sections like that make “Till Death And After” an even more worthy release. Regardless, HI-GH’s base sound is pretty compelling, and definitely 44 minutes well spent!
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"Born Under Evil Defence"
4.0/5 or 80%.
Written by Scott