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High Tide - High Tide CD (album) cover

HIGH TIDE

High Tide

 

Heavy Prog

3.72 | 108 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Raff
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This album would deserve more than 4 stars if it were a bit longer. As it is, even none of the three tracks is shorter than 8 minutes, the longest clocking in at almost 15 minutes, it is hardly more than a glorified EP. However, the sound quality is miles ahead of their debut, the highly-rated "Sea Shanties"; the compositions are also more accomplished, relying less on the rawer, wall-of-sound effects of the former album and more on clarity and complexity of sound textures. The overall effect is dark and intense but also elegantly intriguing, with a vaguely oriental tinge.

The album opens with "Blankman Cries Again", which provides a link with the previous record's heavier, darker sound. The band's trademark interplay between violin and guitar is still there, though along more sophisticated, clearer lines. The aggressive electricity of the debut is toned down, as in "The Joke", featuring an acoustic coda in which the sound of Simon House's violin assumes an almost lyrical quality. The album's closer, the epic "Saneonymous", starts with a magnificent, virtuosic dialogue between guitar and violin, underpinned by pounding, intricate bass lines, before Tony Hill's evocative voice kicks in - wistful and romantic; then it's time for an extended, distorted guitar solo, which stops almost abruptly and changes into another vocal interlude, accompanied by some beautiful violin playing.

Though the four musicians are all very accomplished, the violin is still the undisputed protagonist of the band's sound: Simon House gets too easily overlooked (in favour of more famous musicians such as Eddie Jobson or David Cross) when discussing prog violinist - which is a pity, as both High Tide albums show what a superb musician he is.

The album's stunning cover artwork is pure '70s, in a way describing the musical content perfectly: a riot of colours and crazy shapes on a black background. Call it proto-prog, art-rock or proto-prog-metal, this great record may fall short of a true masterpiece, but it is nonetheless almost essential listening to any dedicated prog fan. Very highly recommended.

Raff | 4/5 |

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