Album Review: High Tension - Purge
Artist: High Tension
Release Date: 15 June 2018
Review by Tomina Vincent
As a band who's very first album was nominated for an ARIA, High Tension have been not only a mainstay in the Australian music scene, but also one of the artists at the forefront of the modern heavy renaissance. Incorporating elements of old-school metal, technical guitars and a ferocious vocalist, High Tension are as compelling as they are unique. They have taken an interesting turn with their latest offering. While it's common for bands to mellow out with each new release, they have done the exact opposite, and delivered a deliciously emotional and abrasive record that I was absolutely engulfed by.
Purge opens with the brutal and fuzzy "Red White Shame". This is a song about hatred and revenge, and the lyrics are candid and raw. It is immediately apparent this is a completely new and different record than its predecessor, Bully. High Tension mean business. The album proceeds much in the same fashion, overflowing with dark and often brutally vivid poetry. The band explores themes like rebellion, rage, war, and bereavement. "The Veil" is a glimmer of hope in the blackness of this intensely corrosive landscape, speaking of the power of cleansing the soul.
The title track "Purge" is a wake-up call to the masses - a hymn begging for an uprising and condemning the glorification of needless violence and war. The epic closer "The Stench" is a fierce cry out against brainwashing and control, the painful realisation that 'we've let the wolves through the doors'. Production wise, the record is cohesive and lo-fi. The songs can be a little repetitive in structure and sound, but make for a great body of work that is stylistically strong and confident.
Purge is a difficult listen. Not only because its so abrasive, filled with static, anger and grueling lyrics, but because it strikes a cord on strings most of us either fear, or dread strumming. And reviewing these songs feels like an invasion of privacy, because you truly need to experience this material on your own, and in solitude, because this is a record that demands to be taken seriously. There is a lot here to headbang to, but Purge is a monument to the dark worlds both within and outside of us, and once you venture inside this record, you are not safe. The title of this album is a perfect fit - once you finish listening to Purge, you will feel cleansed, tired, and most importantly, inspired.
8 out of 10.
Purge is out tomorrow on Cooking Vinyl Australia. Order HERE.