Vista - Hell Or Highwater

Artist: Hell Or Highwater

Album: Vista

Genre: Hard Rock

Review by Nicole Roberts

Brandon Saller of Atreyu drumming fame has come out swinging with a new album from his own rock outfit, Hell Or Highwater, and what he's offered us is Vista. The album, which is their second full length and their third release in total, is peak hard rock, and doesn't stray too far out of the confines of the genre.

The main hurdle they've had to overcome though (as they've had to overcome throughout their entire career) is that it's the bane of any vocalist who has as much success as Saller has had with Atreyu that people who are familiar with his distinctive vocals may have a hard time disconnecting this album from his work with the metalcore outfit. It's even hard when a lot of these songs wouldn't sound out of place on the more recent Atreyu albums like Congregation Of The Damned.

Getting into the actual album, it does start out ok with 'Colors'. The song isn't anything special, and for the first few tracks, the album does sound fairly generic and middle of the road, with some catchy or interesting parts, but nothing to really write home about.

'Lighter Than Air' is where it got intriguing to me. It's a more bluesy, moody track, and does stand out from the previous songs. It's interesting and different, very brooding and sensuous in parts. 'Blister' is another good one, with a chilled out verse that builds up to a pretty decent chorus. 'Don't Stop. Get Up.' is very easily the most difficult to separate from Atreyu as it certainly sounds incredibly familiar, but you quickly forget that when 'Dame' kicks in. It's a bit cliche in some parts, but in general, it's a great track, and lets the band really flex their creative muscles by doing something completely different than the rest of the album. 'Pieces' is the last track on the album that I really took an interest in, and is probably one of the most interesting songs to me on the entirety of the album, Something about it sounds familiar, but in general, it sounds refreshing and new.

The entire album isn't anything new or unexpected, but it is certainly a decent and consistent listen. There's nothing inherently wrong with Vista, but as a whole it isn't something that made me sit up and take notice. Granted, there are evidently a fair few strong tracks that carry the slack where the other songs stumble a little, but the strength of those few stand out songs doesn't quite make up for the pedestrian vibe of the weaker tracks. If you do enjoy a decent rock album, it may be worth picking it up just to see for yourself.

6 out of 10 stars.

Vista is out now.

Watch the video for 'I Want It All' below

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