Highgate – Black Frost Fallout Reissue …   Leave a comment

Total Rust Recordings have been busy lately releasing some killer sludge and doom and this is no exception. A re-release of Highgate’s ‘Black Frost Fallout’ only this time with bonus tracks including 2 tracks from their self-titled demo, 2 live tracks and one unreleased gem. The ‘Black Frost Fallout’ tracks are some of the bands best work so they deserved to be re-released anyway but with all the bonus material, it pushes this CD into the realms of an essential purchase for all fans of blackened doom and sludge-metal. Of course like all great bands in this genre, they carry on with the tradition set by the likes of Electric Wizard, Burning Witch, Warhorse, Toadliquor and Noothgrush but they do it with a real sense of originality by adding surprising moments of bursts of speed, ominous drones and black metal.

The disc begins with the title track which is a hellish, hollering sludge-tastic doom track filled with mountains of crushing riffs, blackened ambience and searing, burning leads. It is extremely emotionally charged piece of sludge that uses the twin guitar set-up of Jamie Porter and Greg Brown to its ultimate level of brutality and menacing dynamics. The following ‘Sermon Of The Apocalypse’ is like Khanate having a drunken jam with ‘Burning Witch’ – this track is downright ugly and is made even more so by the nightmarish screams that are featured in the track. There is also a sense of melody in the piece and even though, the melody is severely twisted and sick, it has a hypnotic quality to it but it is not for the squeamish.

‘Burial Light’ is easily on of the best tracks the band has ever done, a monumental bluesy sludge track that features one of the most classic doom riffs ever created. You have to wait till a couple of minutes in before the riff first appears but from then on, it is an incredibly infectious and hypnotic dose of doom-metal. They re-invent the same riff a few times throughout the track but it remains just as catchy in every variation they unleashed to the listener. ‘Burial Light’ is a track you wont be able to get out of your head for a long time to come.

‘The Wolf’ is the last track from the original Black Frost Fallout demo and is very different from the other 3 tracks from that demo. The blend of southern-rock soaked doomy sludge and crusty blackened ambience is enough to make you feel sick and the demented vocals don’t ease the pain too much either. ‘G.H.H’ is up next and it serves as an interlude between the original Black Frost Fallout tracks and 2 tracks from the bands 2005 demo. This track is a dud, sorry guys but the mix of a loop of spoken-word samples and church-organ is more irritating than anything else, it is atmospheric and full points for that but it always makes want to skip straight to the 2005 demo version of ‘Sermon Of The Apocalypse.’ On paper having the same song twice and so close together on the disc may seem strange and it is. Basically it is the same track but just under-produced, rawer and slightly slower. Being such a classic track means I still sit through it with every spin of the album as you can’t have too much of a good thing but some people might find it overkill. Another track full of samples follows called ‘The Sea Of Perdition’ but unlike ‘G.H.H’ this one is far more enjoyable. Not too much to say about it though except its evil and atmospheric.

The album winds down with two live tracks, ‘Untitled, Second Movement’ and a live version of this albums title track. Both tracks come from the hard to find ‘Live Ritual’ CD-R. The sound here is filthy and as about as raw as you can get. It is not the most pleasant of live recordings but it showcases Highgate’s disturbing sludgy tonality to perfection. If you have never heard this band, you might want to pick up a copy of their ‘Shrines To The Warhead’ album before forking out the $$$ for this one. This is a made-for-the-fans kind of deal but it is still a very good release in its own right. Highgate are a band for the hardcore sludge fanatic and not for the timid listener but in my opinion, they are one of the most underrated bands on the planet of doom at the moment. This has got me really looking forward to their next full-length release…….8/10

Band’s Official Blog
Highgate @ Myspace
Total Rust Recordings

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Posted May 27, 2011 by doommantia in Highgate

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