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High Tide - Sea Shanties CD (album) cover


High Tide


Heavy Prog

3.86 | 229 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Light years ahead of their time, High Tide present the birth of prog metal.

The first sound that emanates from this colossal album is a grungy sludge guitar riff, very distorted and fuzzy. It almost sounds grunge and this is back in 1969! It begins with the lo-fi crunching psychedelic metal of 'Futilist's Lament'. The band announce that this is going to be a heavy psych prog experience. High Tide are Roger Hadden on drums, Tony Hill on guitar, vocals, Simon House on violin, piano, and Peter Pavli on bass. They are one of the loudest, heaviest bands of the late 60s and must have been a major influence to Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath and reminds me of Blue Cheer meets Hawkwind. The metal riffs are almost like Black Sabbath in places and the wah wah guitar reminds us we are in the psychedelic 60s. This is a sensational track that must be heard over and over with the amps on 11.

'Death Warmed Up' is a 9 minute hard rocking instrumental with blazing guitars and a manic violin that assassinates the grunge vibe to make way for a progressive heavy sound. The twin guitar lead break is spacey and locks in on a repetitive riff. It is rather lengthy for a loud, proud, and endowed band, but it works in a hypnotic sense, similar to the sonic jamming attack of Hawkwind.

'Pushed, But Not Forgotten' is a slow ballad with quiet violin and guitar and a gentle vocal. But only or about a minute. It breaks out into a loud guitar solo and a heavier beat with some excellent guitar riffs. Then it settles back to a serene atmosphere with restrained music lulling you off to sleep. But now we are on edge wondering when it will break out again. Sure enough the amps get turned up again and the distorted guitar cracks the peace in half with admirable ferocity.

'Walking Down Their Outlook' begins immediately with moderate vocals and steady beat. Then there is a wonderful guitar lick using scaled notes up the frets. The spacey section follows and ascends until another screaming guitar passage. The way the song breaks and changes constantly is quite an original approach given the date this was released. The section that begins at 2:40 is one of the great instrumental breaks, howling guitars, folk violins and keyboard augmentations. The cadence escalates into a hypno-groove with folk metal motorvating along on a strong beat. Then a minimalist violin takes over to finish the track. Wonderful heavy prog.

'Missing Out' is another lengthy 9 minute track, with very complex fugue motifs emblazoned over intricate guitar notes constantly played. The violin is always present slicing back and forth and the estranged vocals of Tony Hill. What a sensational sound High Tide are able to create with these instruments, almost like a metal version of Comus. At 3:50 there is a fantastic violin and lead guitar solo with instruments trading off to the wild percussion. The lyrics are hard to decipher but a lot of it sounds improvised such as "Oh, my soul is going down, and I'm ready." This finishes with an attacking drum solo and an extended outro.

'Nowhere' closes the album with a terrific violin and guitar solo at the start. The violin and guitar battle it out for supremacy for a while, neither winning the contest, and then the lead guitar takes over with prog time changes and is joined by a descending flurry of violin notes. It slows in tempo and Hill's low vocals return; "marking time and shutting out each warming smile, what shall be the go between they laugh and cry, effigies of souls are seen to come and go, moving through the mists of fear , they come to know." The dark lyrics fit in perfectly with the moody atmospheric music.

The conclusion is that this album is one of those rare treasures unearthed from the tomb of obscurity, hardly making an impact until now, and the listener will be enthralled that "Sea Shanties" finally has seen the light of day.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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