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HIGH TIDE

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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High Tide biography
Founded in 1969 - Split in 1970 - Reformed briefly in 1986, and again with a new line-up from 1989-1990

One of the most important underground hard rock band from Britain and also a very influential group , although they never managed to achieve much commercial success. Their sound in their two historical album can be linked to BLUE CHEER or STEPPENWOLF (but with lengthy improvisations in some tracks) and is sometimes mentioned as one of the first example of Heavy Metal music and even Prog Metal.

The Original line-up was a quartet consisting of a superb singing guitarist , A violinist sometimes playing KBs and a good rhythm section. After the second album's release , their drummer left for health reason , and HIGH TIDE did not release another album for some 18 years although they still recorded aopparently fairly regularly with an unstable permanent line-up with Tomlin, Theaker , House and Pavli coming and going almost at will, the only mainstay being Tony Hill. Starting in 88, they will release seven records in a span of three yearts , very confused affairs with tracks from all those lost years appearing on different records and no clear recording dates given. Apparently they played together until 1990 , and their latest release is yet another mixed-bag of tracks from all eras released on Black Widow label in 98, but with recording dates at last clearly mentioned .

HIGH TIDE is a highly influential underground band likely to please all Prog Metal fans looking for roots of their beloved music style.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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HIGH TIDE discography


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HIGH TIDE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 230 ratings
Sea Shanties
1969
3.76 | 170 ratings
High Tide
1970
2.67 | 20 ratings
Interesting Times
1986
3.72 | 31 ratings
Precious Cargo
1989
1.95 | 19 ratings
A Fierce Nature
1990
3.51 | 17 ratings
Ancient Gates
1990
3.11 | 8 ratings
The Reason Of Success
1991

HIGH TIDE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HIGH TIDE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HIGH TIDE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 20 ratings
The Flood
1990
3.19 | 9 ratings
Open Season
2000

HIGH TIDE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

HIGH TIDE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sea Shanties by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.86 | 230 ratings

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Sea Shanties
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

4 stars HIGH TIDE were a very 'eavy, very 'umble Psychedelic Rock band from England. They released eight albums over the course of four decades, although it's their ironically-titled debut "Sea Shanties" (1969) that's by far their best-known album. The album represents one of the earliest progenitors of the Heavy Metal sound and High Tide are often compared with the American Acid Rock band Blue Cheer. High Tide followed up the powerhouse "Sea Shanties" album with a self-titled album in 1970 and then took a very long hiatus before making a comeback with a new line-up in the late-1980's with an incredible run of six back to back albums in a row:- "Interesting Times" (1986); "Precious Cargo" (1989); "The Flood" (1990); "Fierce Nature" (1990); "Ancient Gates" (1990); and "The Reason of Success" (1991). And so, without further ado, let's give "Sea Shanties" a listen before the tide comes in.

HERE IS A WEATHER WARNING:- There's a storming gale of VERY HEAVY Psychedelic Rock on the way which is expected to reach Force 10 on the Beaufort Scale. Occasional gusts of very high decibels are expected! The opening blitzkrieg of storming Hard Rock and Heavy Metal thunder is titled "Futilist's Lament", and it would indeed be futile to lament the loss of sleep throughout this window-rattling sonic blast. This thunderous assault on the eardrums won't just keep you awake, it'll probably wake up the neighbours too and have them angrily banging on your door. There's no peace for the wicked (or the good) either with the next song "Death Warmed Up" as the non-stop artillery barrage of sound continues. This storming "Sea Shanty" is an unrelenting 9-minute-long pressure wave that's LOUD enough to wake the dead, never mind the neighbours, and it's probably the only time you'll ever hear a violin played on a heavy Psychedelic Rock/Metal album. Yes, really! A violin! Although you've never heard a violin played quite like this before. This even goes beyond the incredible power of Darryl Way's manic violin-playing in Curved Air. Yes, it really IS that awesome! Is this stunning album Psychedelic Rock or is it Heavy Metal? Who knows? Maybe it's some amazing new hybrid such as Psychedelic Metal. Either way, it's a remarkable album of unbridled raw power and energy. Phew! There's a bit of a breather now but not for long with "Pushed, But Not Forgotten". The song opens deceptively gently, but there's another storming outburst of Heavy Metal thunder and lightning on the way. It's not quite the storming hurricane of the first two powerful numbers, because this third song contains some gentler melodic passages, and it sounds all the better for it too. After all, thunderbolt and lightning can be very very frightening (according to Queen). This song is more like a warm gentle breeze with occasional outbursts of Heavy Metal thunder raining down, so keep an umbrella handy.

The enigmatically-titled "Walking Down Their Outlook" doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but who says LSD-influenced wild and crazy Psychedelic Rock has to make any sense anyway!? One thing's for sure though, it's another burst of raw Psychedelic Metal mayhem, featuring an absolutely maniacal violin player running rampant throughout. Who would have believed a delicate violin could ever sound so incredibly LOUD! Not Stradivari or Vivaldi, that's for sure! There's no let-up in the incredible pace of this album, so be prepared for more fireworks with "Missing Out", another 9-minute-long, non-stop fusillade of Heavy Metal cannon fire. This sonic blast explodes into life like a psychedelic shell burst bathed in glowing iridescent rainbow colours. There's more musical madness and mayhem on the way with "Nowhere", and nowhere will you find any gentle romantic ballads on this album. It's another wild and frenzied psychedelic violin ride aboard the crazy train, which brings the album to a magnificent conclusion in a storming blaze of pounding and percussive glory.

High Tide's "Sea Shanties" rides high on a great tsunami wave of thunderous raw energy and power. "Sea Shanties" they are NOT! This is a rolling wave of storming Heavy Metal thunder from beginning to end. Batten down the hatches and hold on tight because it's going to be a wild and windy ride. There's an unstoppable High Tide on its way with a Force 10 gale blowing in on this supersonic blast from the past. Come hell or high water, you won't want to miss out on the storming ballroom blitz of High Tide!

 High Tide by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.76 | 170 ratings

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High Tide
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The TIDE comes in, the TIDE goes out. Such is the lesson of the UK's most promising prog rock band of 1969 with the phenomenal "Sea Shanties" where the heavy prog band HIGH TIDE that consisted of Tony Hill (electric & acoustic guitars, organ, vocals), Simon House (electric violin, organ, piano), Peter Pavli (bass) and Roger Hadden (drums, piano, pipe organ) lived up to their moniker and delivered a stunning display of musical fusion that delivered an intense interplay of early heavy metal, progressive rock and psychedelia with jazzy chords that focused on the folky of Simon House's violin screeches that traded off with Tony Hill's hard rock bombast and weirdly designed guitar solos. Debuting in the year 1969, HIGH TIDE was one of the premier prog rock bands that developed a unique style from the getgo that sounded utterly like no other, mostly due to the ample use of violin as a primary instrument in the context of a rock band.

However, all TIDEs must recede and that's exactly what happened with the sophomore release which was unexcitingly simply titled HIGH TIDE. The quartet tamped down the guitar heft of the debut and instead replaced it with an artier mix that included more piano, organ and acoustic guitar however the main combo pack punch of the guitar and violin were still in firm command of the musical processions. HIGH TIDE's second eponymous album originally consisted of a mere three tracks that was just shy of the 33 minute mark with each drifting past the 8 minute mark. While "Sea Shanties" delivered scorching proto-metal performances wrapped in progressive rock compositions, this self-titled debut takes a few cues from Tony Hill's previous psychedelic rock band The Misunderstood and lightens things up on this one in which the organ added the proper psych atmospheres to give this second coming a much spacier feel but make no mistake about it, Tony Hill still delivers some stellar guitar workouts as does Simon Hill on the violin. Overall the album focuses less on hairpin turns and progressive time signature frenzies and engages in long sprawling jam sessions most evident on the opening "Blankman Cries Again."

The opening track signifies an immediate stylistic shift from the debut as the compositions are more accessible. The violin has more of a folky sound and at the jazzier times evokes a sense of the future sounds of Jean-Luc Ponty in the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The album is primarily string based with the guitar, bass and violin all sharing more less equal turf as Hill's guitar dominion of the debut had clearly waned. While it could be argued that the three string sections along with the drums and organ touches deliver a more balanced approach to HIGH TIDE's unique sound, in the end it sounds a little lightweight in the shadow of the debut's sheer perfection. "The Joke" while exhibiting the classic HIGH TIDE touches also presents verses that sound a lot like early King Crimson which finds the band incorporating influences from the great KC that dropped their debut bombshell on the world and not so subtly announced that progressive rock was in town and was taking over the music scene for a while. Tony Hill's vocals are quite distinct but at times he's a dead ringer for Greg Lake's slower singing style.

I find the third and longest track "Saneonimous" to be the most interesting and the one closest to the debut's decked out progressive rock freneticism. While the track engages in the jamming sessions of the previous tracks, it's allowed a bit more freedom in changing up the dynamics as well as tempo changes and more time signature shifts and at nearly 15 minutes long manages to remain engaging helped greatly by the instantly addictive melody and Tony Hill's vocal style that fits perfectly in between the squealing violin runs and guitar and bass. Roger Hadden also deserves plaudits for a stellar percussive performance that manages to punctuate the busy polyrhythmic counterpoints of the strings. The atmospheric contributions often take a back seat but do add an artier mood during quieter passages.

As with "Sea Shanties," the second HIGH TIDE album also has a much better remastered release than the original album. Not only is the production sharply improved but it includes a monstrous essential bonus track in the form of the near 16 minute "The Great Universal Protection Racket" which equals anything else on this album and while the remaining three bonus tracks that include two alt versions of "The Joke" and "Blankman" along with the short "Ice Age" are of lesser value, they are not throwaway tracks either. While the TIDE was HIGH on "Sea Shanties," the sad truth was that all TIDEs must recede and therefore the second coming of this unique band was more like a LOW TIDE in comparison to the startling brilliant debut. While this second album may not be as immediate in its presentation and initially disappointing, many subsequent listens have substantially raised my opinion of it. It delivers an excellent mix of intricately designed prog rock only with the guitar heft of the debut tamped down. Unfortunately this marked the end of HIGH TIDE as Tony Hill, Peter Pavli and Roger Hadden moved on to work with Rustic Hinge as well as other acts. The band would reform in 1990 and release more albums but would never catch the magic of the early years. While the debut is superior, this is still an excellent release.

 High Tide by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.76 | 170 ratings

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High Tide
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Late Sixties British hard rockers High Tide dropped a much-praised debut `Sea Shanties' in 1969 that has come to be regarded as an early example of heavy metal, and a ballsy attack of grinding guitars and battery of drums it proved to be! Much less appreciated is their self-titled follow-up from a year later, but if anything it actually adds more variety and has a refreshing rough-around-the-edges and shambling dirty quality that reminds of what some of the more adventurous German bands of the era would offer. `High Tide' grafts violin (courtesy of future Hawkwind and Third Ear Band member Simon House), alongside little touches of organ, piano and more acoustic guitar flavours this time around, and the LP offers fleeting moments of folk, raga-rock and acid elements woven to the relentless mud-thick sludgy guitars.

Scratchy electric violin intertwines around tricky twisting electric guitar runs throughout opener `Blankman Cries Again'. There's nothing in the way of the punishing obvious riffing of the first album here, instead it's replaced by a plodding slab-like stoniness and overwhelming heaviness that has more in common with Amon Duul 2's defining classic albums, with a wild freedom permeating the whole track. Guitarist Tony Hill's vocals don't hold the same Jim Morrison/Doors-like purr of the debut here, instead they have a more wasted lethargic groan with just a pinch of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour in brief moments.

There's teases of a classier violin sound in the introduction of `The Joke' but it's quickly all crunching drums and serrated guitar slivers, and a dustier raga-rock hypnotic hold takes a firm grip. Almost resembling a more ambitious Message, a more reckless Frumpy or a drowsier Pink Floyd, it culminates in a warmer embracing folk-flecked acoustic finale with very spirited and lightly swooning violin.

The ragged and wild second side `Saneonimous' is packed to the gills with a wonderfully grating and searing tone to the violin, sweetly murmuring bass and snarling acid-rock electric guitar wailing. The piece is constantly anchored by reprising themes and a slurred vocal refrain in between bouts of near-jazzy improvised jamming, making for a cool closer that somehow perfectly balances nicely shambling and energetic abrasiveness - all part of its charm!

Particular listeners will find some of the pieces overlong and repetitive, yet others will perhaps grumble that the disc is only thirty-two minutes long, but the production helps the music avoid being overly clean and helps it retain a grit, and there's a delicious acid-fried toughness that makes it easy to place the album alongside plenty of Krautrock discs. `High Tide' may not enjoy the belated reputation that the debut holds, but there's still much to recommend about it.

Four stars.

 Sea Shanties by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.86 | 230 ratings

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Sea Shanties
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Music history is fickle as there is no rhyme or reason as to why one band will become the hugest thing since sliced bread and another of equal talent is left to fester in the dusty obscurity bins. HIGH TIDE is the perfect example with their debut album SEA SHANTIES which was released the very same month as the extraordinary and hugely popular "In The Court Of The Crimson King" by none other than the legendary King Crimson. HIGH TIDE was pretty much a contemporary to the great KC in not only musical ambitiousness and stylistic extremities but also hails from the very same London scene that was seeing the clock run out on the 60s and ushering in the sobering new reality of the idealisms of peace and free love ceding into pure darkened disillusionment. While the band has received some kudos from the critics over the ensuing decades, HIGH TIDE has unfortunately remained off the radar of the average heavy rock meets prog rock world.

This band was put together by one of the most creatively energetic guitarists of the entire 60s, Tony Hill. After he saw a bit of cult status success with the psychedelic USAmerican rock band The Misunderstood which formed in California in 1963 he moved back to London in 66 (along with his USAmerican bandmates). They would hang around for another three years (although there was a deportation episode for the USAmerican members) and despite well deserved attention from John Peel never really took off into the psychedelic limelight. Square away in early1969 after The Misunderstood ceased to be, Hill formed HIGH TIDE and managed to release the first release SEA SHANTIES out on Liberty Records in October mostly due to a connection with Apple Records that got them noticed fairly quickly. After a few gigs with the Groundhogs, Edgar Broughton Band and Sweet Slag, the band quickly gained attention for their unique amalgamation of psychedelic folk, heavy driving hard rock guitar riffs and most of all the totally sizzling hot violin abuse of Simon House who sounded as if Paganini time traveled to join a psychedelic porto-metal band in the 20th century. He would become better known after he joined Hawkwind as well as albums with David Bowie, Thomas Dolby and countless others.

SEA SHANTIES truly remains the heaviest album that the 60s had to offer. HIGH TIDE took the ponderosity of the fuzzed out heaviness of Blue Cheer, Cream and Hendrix and turned everything up a few notches. "Futilist's Lament" begins the album with a fuzzed-out heft that's strong enough to blow the doors down as the guitar riffs are on high tempo matched with an equal fury of Peter Pavli's bass and Roger Hadden's drum abuse. Hill simply sounds like he has lightning up his ass with his frenetic fingers whizzing up and down the guitar scales. "Death Warmed Up" is equally heavy only sans Hill's Jim Morrison inspired poetic prose and dead ringer as a singer vocals. This nine minute rocker is the perhaps the most frenetic rocker of all 1969 only matched by the single track "Communication Breakdown" by Led Zeppelin, only with ripping intense trade off's between Hill's guitar gymnastics and House's virtuosic violin prowess that egg each other in some sort of insider's competition or maybe just a pact with the devil. Their over-the-top jamming style exudes an atmosphere with equally compelling Eastern European scales that add ing a flair for the exotica.

Hardly a one trick pony, SEA SHANTIES dazzles with its diverse elements as it deviates from two distinctly different heavy rockers to the King Crimson sounding "Pushed, But Not Forgotten" pretty much following Crimson's own approach of alternating heavier and lighter tracks. This one reminds a lot of KC's "I Talk To The Wind" and sounds like something that really could have been on the Crimson album that came out the very same month only HIGH TIDE weren't content to merely record a ballad but rather bust into heavier segments complete with the fuzzed out blues inspired solos and off-the-chart violin sweeps so sizzling hot that i'm waiting to hear a string or two break! "Walking Down Their Outlook" brings back the Jim Morrison vocal style only backed up by complex progressive rock time signature changes, alternating passages all peppered with ambitious dynamics and interesting compositional chord changes. "Missing Out" perhaps the most tied to traditional blues rock may be the least challenging but displays how HIGH TIDE can blow away the competition by taking a simple catchy blues melody and adding progressive touches along with a violin part that sounds like a soundtrack to a demented Irish jig rehearsal. "Nowhere" displays the remarkable playful interchange between Hill and House as they trade off their virtuosic string skills around a groovy bass line punctuated by jazzy drumming workouts.

It is of my humble opinion and perhaps adventurous tastes that i feel HIGH TIDE put out a veritable masterpiece equal in scope to KC's beloved "In The Court" and in many ways upped them at their own game. Perhaps at first the Morrison vocal comparisons are a little too starkly derivative and the cacophonous nature of the restless guitar and violin vying for domination can be a little disorienting but after several spins this grower imbues an indelible charm that has me craving repeated listens as the unique approach of SEA SHANTIES has a morphinic effect that keeps the off-kilter ear worms digging deeper. Of all the woefully underlooked nuggets of gold let loose at the tail end of the 60s with a bang, none pleases me more than HIGH TIDE's debut album that successful fits the bill of that transitory period like no other as it captures the psychedelic zeitgeist of the hippie era just a couple years removed while unapologetically looking towards the future and in the process unifying two trends simultaneously, those two being the progressive rock explosion as heard by their contemporaries King Crimson as well as prognosticating the inevitable big bang of heavy rock turned metal slightly before Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple really took off. SEA SHANTIES is a bona fide masterpiece in my book.

While the original album track list is worth the price of admission alone, i highly recommend the 2010 remastered Esoteric edition with bonus tracks. This contains three bonus tracks that were unreleased but from the same sessions as well as two demos. The demos are ok but not essential but the bonus tracks are well worth the extra effort to track this edition down. The most important of these bonus tracks is the extremely heavy and progressive behemoth "The Great Universal Protection Racket" clocking in at over 11 minutes and was a much loved highlight of their early live shows. This is a track so heavy and so complex in its style that it actually makes "21st Century Schizoid Man" seem a little tame in comparison. It is basically a sprawling composition that contains periods of heavy metal guitar riffing, schizophrenic proggy guitar licks, bluesy segments with all of the band members performing extremely tight unison between the instruments as they navigate through complex time signature workouts run amok. The track meanders through several different guitar riff styles but each one makes a reprise and even includes violin led segments as well. I actually love this track more than any of the other tracks on the album! The other two bonus tracks are also excellent but not as OMG amazing as the first one. "Dilemma" revisits territory heard on "Walking Down Their Outlook" and "Time Gauges" is another instrumental workout of complex prog laden freneticism trading off with mellow chilled out violin led melodic passages.

 Sea Shanties by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.86 | 230 ratings

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Sea Shanties
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by progrockethan

4 stars This album was the debut of High Tide, an influential and interesting, underground progressive rock/heavy metal band. The band consisted of Tony Hill (guitar and vocals), Simon House (violin), Peter Pavli (bass), and Roger Hadden (drums). Little is known about the band since they were obscure and unknown. On eBay, the original first pressing vinyl of Sea Shanties is $150, which shows how obscure they were. While they weren't very successful, they were certainly influential and ahead of their time.

With song titles like, "Futilist Lament", "Pushed and Not Forgotten", and "Death Warmed Up", this album sounds and looks like a heavy metal album. With dark lyrics like, "Kill your dreams of darkness now." and heavily distorted guitar and screaming violin, this album is trippy, and heavy.

One of the first albums to employ the use of an electric violin in a rock/metal album. Simon House is an amazing violinist and one of the best parts of the album is the back and forth between the violin and guitar. The heavily distorted and loud screeching guitar almost seems to be "dueling" with the high, screaming, violin. While there are certainly heavy metal elements found in the album there are also progressive rock elements. There are many time signature changes, experimentation, extended soloing/jamming, unique lyrical content, and long songs (with only one song under 5 minutes). Tony Hill's vocal delivery was described by Allmusic reviewer, Wilson Neate, as "doomy Jim Morrison-like". As a guitarist, I am impressed with Hill's playing. His effect filled tone, his classical influence, his long, fast solos, and his rhythm is a key part of the album. The all around musicianship on this album is incredible.

I would rate this album 4 out of 5 stars. The song structure is unique, the extended jams are incredible, the dueling between the violin and violin give a unique sound. While it is challenging to little hard to listen to it at first, after some time the album will hopefully grow on you.

 Sea Shanties by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.86 | 230 ratings

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Sea Shanties
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by Igor91

3 stars High Tide's "Sea Shanties" sparked my interest after reading some reviews of it here on PA. So, I bought the CD without listening to the whole album on the internet first, like I usually do before I buy a physical copy of music. I hate to say it, but I am regretting it. Not that "Sea Shanties" is bad, it's just not as good as I expected. Believe me, I tried to appreciate this album, listening to it several times over. Sometimes albums will grow on me after multiple listens, but not this one. Yes, it is kind of a cross between the Doors and Blue Cheer/Black Sabbath heaviness, with a violin added in for good measure. Unfortunately, it is really sloppily played and most of the songs just don't gel at all. There is also a sameness to the album, very little variation song to song. On the song "Pushed, But Not Forgotten," the violin screeches out of tune in a couple of parts, that has the same effect as fingernails on a chalkboard. Yikes! That's not to say that it's all bad. The first two tracks, "Futilist's Lament," and "Death Warmed Up" are pretty good, but nothing spectacular either. The album has it's moments, but, all in all, a mediocre effort. I'm still baffled why it is ranked so highly on PA, but, to each their own, right? Anyway, I give it 3 stars for a bit of originality, but nothing that really deserves any special attention.
 Sea Shanties by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.86 | 230 ratings

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Sea Shanties
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by GabboProg

5 stars I listened to this album two years ago and i fell in love, in this album there are dark and hard sonorities in a particular and aggressive style but there are sweet moments supported with the House's violin. 6 tracks of extreme tension instrumental thanks to the Hill's guitar that keeps you on the ball throughout the disc expetially in Death Warmed Up and Futilist's Lament. An other big moment in the album is Missing Out that is most studied compared to the other but is very spontaneous. I think that this album is a masterpiece and the second (High Tide) too, I still listen to it often with pleasure. Recommended
 Sea Shanties by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.86 | 230 ratings

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Sea Shanties
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The first progressive metal band? I was looking for early prog metal of the 80's when High Tide's name was mentioned with such a bold reference. Well, certainly it's credible that a form of prog metal issued from 1969 as both prog and metal were coalescing in their respective forms out of the nebulous cloud of experimental music of the psychedelic years. I was interested and after a quick sampling on YouTube I ordered "Sea Shanties" from Amazon.

I was walking to the train station when the first chords of "Futilist's Lament" stormed into ears. Really gritty grungy distorted guitar, then the rhythm section, then a monstrously heavy second guitar? No, it was the violin! Yes, High Tide employed two lead instruments: the 'ber-fuzzed guitar and a violin that was going to surprise me in the range of sounds it had contributed to this album. Right from the start there was this bombastic heavy guitar sound that quickly switched to Jimmy Page's violin bow on guitar to a more traditional albeit electric violin sound.

The vocals immediately left me wondering whether I would find that they work or that they were better off elsewhere. For the most part they sound like Jim Morison but at times the vocalist abruptly reaches for higher notes, which he can hit, but the transition comes off as a less than impressive karaoke performance. Nevertheless, the song thunders along with the violin making an impressive companion to the guitar. This is not King Crimson violin here but a different beast.

I rather like the guitar soloing which seems to combine and bridge leftover techniques from the late 60's with forthcoming approaches of the 70's. The solo repeats itself in places but just when you wonder if this is going to be a recycling loop of ideas, the main riff returns and the intro is repeated. After one more round of verse chorus the song comes to an abrupt close.

"Death Warmed Up" is a 9-minute plus instrumental, and you'd probably figure that with that much time there should be room to create different moods and changes of tempo. But no. This is nine minutes of heavy rock guitar and gritty violin soloing. Of course there's structure. Resembling early Deep Purple instrumentals, there's a main theme, solo section, repeat of the main theme, more soloing and a return to the main theme again. After that the number charges on with the same pounding pace and the guitar takes over mostly alternating between bursts of high notes and explosions of distortion. Though at times it's easy for my mind to wander, I come back to the music amazed that these guys just careen along like an overloaded steam train for over nine minutes without slowing down or resting.

We finally take a break from the wash of distortion with "Pushed, but not Forgotten," which sounds very Doorsy until the guitar distortion comes back on. The song's basic structure is soft-hard-soft-hard-soft. At this point I am better accepting the vocals. It's also worthy of mention the violin again as it adds some interesting sounds including what sounds like wah-wah guitar and some eerily pretty high notes.

"Walking Down Their Outlook" begins with most 60's-sounding performance of the album until the guitar and violin contribute a touch of Baroque. There are some heavy bombastic moments too but just when it seems this song is going to morph into another explosion of distortion it takes on yet another form, and then switches back to the 60's sound. The violin is given more solo room here in this song too. By the fourth listen I found myself liking this song more.

"Missing Out" sounds like a fuzzy Doors' blues number at first with violin. The vocals are more expressive here but sound like a tortured Jim Morison. With 9:41 of time you can guess there will be some significant song space devoted to soloing. But the vocal segments keep returning, so there's no super lengthy jam here although some of the soloing goes on a bit. Just before 8 minutes it looks like there's going to be a drum solo but the band only tease and wisely steer clear and instead add more noisome guitar and some violin that at times seems a bit at a loss for what to play.

"Nowhere" opens with an instrumental section. By now there's there's not much new here. The sound of the album has long been established. I do like some of the melody lines played played by the violin. These stand out for me. It gives the song a country feel which I normally wouldn't like but it works here.

The extended CD includes three additional tracks that were recorded for the album but wouldn't fit on and were thus culled, and two demos which are not remarkable. "The Great Universal Racket" might be exactly that to some. It is a long instrumental that jumps from style to style, including heavy doomy guitar, friendly rock guitar with wah-wah effects courtesy of the violin, heavy country rock, more Baroque mixed in heavy rock, an acid rock traditional Chinese segment, and several others. It reminds of Norwegian prog rockers, Wobbler's instrumental that only just establish a groove or riff and the move on. This plays like a medley, constantly changing tempo and rhythm. Many parts repeat, so whether you think this is genius or someone's taking the mickey is up to you. I still can't decide if it's brilliant or just sonic clutter.

"Dilemma" also goes through some changes including an almost Sabbath-esque metal section with some Blue Cheer mixed in, and some pseudo prog work. The vocal parts are slower and thankfully there's more energy put into the higher register singing adding variety. Then the vocals change to southern rock and Jim Morison is all but gone. It becomes another gritty rocker for guitar and violin. Good on its own but very much like the rest of the album.

The demos are next with a slightly shorter version of "Death Warmed Up" and also "Pushed, but not Forgotten". I find the album versions are better and I usually skip these.

"Time Gauge" is the last number and again more of what we've already heard: raunchy gritty guitar, violin, paces changes, steady supporting rhythm section, doses of distortion, mixed styles, classical suggestions, and so on. As a constantly changing instrumental, this is similar to "The Great Universal Racket" but a little sloppy here and there, or so I feel. Good in places but not a highlight.

I can't say the album will be a long-time favourite but there will be songs I'll come back to. To sum the album up neatly, I quote the Allmusic review from the Wikipedia page for "Sea Shanties":

"High Tide had the muscularity of a no-nonsense proto-metal band, but they also ventured into prog territory with changing time signatures and tempos, soft-hard dynamics, multi-part arrangements, and even some ornate faux-Baroque interludes."

 Sea Shanties by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.86 | 230 ratings

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Sea Shanties
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by SpecialKindOfHell

4 stars Into Deliciously Dirty Waters

If only every band's first album were as good as this. Coming off of a short stint playing with David Bowie and Bowie's gal Hermione in the avant-garde "cabaret" act / folk band Turquoise (later Feathers), guitarist and singer Tony Hill started High Tide, a very heavy UK band that created two great LPs over a short few years together, Sea Shanties being their first. Hill was previously of the highly-regarded Misunderstood from 1963 to 1968, a band who set a new standard for the light show in rock shows in the UK. He recruited Peter Pavli on bass guitar, Roger Hadden on drums, and Simon House on violin. The band was among the early practitioners of the violin-in-a-rock-band novelty, It's A Beautiful Day doing it in the Bay Area in the US around the same time. For High Tide though it fits in quite perfectly and doesn't feel forced. They were most likely quite inspired by The Velvet Underground's electric viola, and Eric Burden's electric violin in his 1967-era band as there are some sonic similarities.

Hill's guitar is deliciously dirty and powerfully messy, and is the absolute highlight of the record. He has a grand sense of timing, interpolating wah-wah guitar fills and repeated melody lines played in unison with House's violin in between huge amp-melting power chords. In some sections the electric violin sounds like Jimmy Page's bowed, distorted guitar in "Dazed and Confused" issued the same year. High Tide shares Led Zeppelin's and Uriah Heep's heaviness, but is not blues-rooted. Instead they forge ahead in a raw garage rock fashion where prog-like lines of melody exist with just enough intricacy to show you they can play their instruments well, and just enough dirtiness to make sure you know they aren't taking that proficiency too seriously.

In some passages one thinks of them as a slightly heavier incarnation of genius LA rockers Spirit. The entire first side is packed with a heavy punch, with "Futilist's Lament" and "Death Warmed Up" being standouts. "Missing Out" on the second side gets a bit monotonous in its pounding, but that's being picky. Violinist House, aged 20 at the time he joined the band, described it as "?quite complicated structures but there was a lot of jamming going on." The album's artwork is by Paul Whitehead, the noted British artist who worked with Charisma Records and Genesis among others. The appropriately deviant mass of creatures on the outer sleeve's mostly black and white design leads into a colorful gatefold where a sailing ship labeled "Peace" rides a wave into orbit.

Although not too much has been written about the band, it has been referred to as very Doors-like, as Hill's vocals do sound quite a bit like Morrison, deep and murky with a meloncholic appeal (Listen to Peel's favorite "Walking Down Their Outlook" and also "Pushed, But Not Forgotten"). The surreal and dark lyrics will appeal to Doors fans as well. However, the record never becomes a mere sound-alike and High Tide establishes itself quite convincingly as their own unique noisy selves on this LP. The title may at first seem to be off putting, but you'll find this music has little to do with actual sea shanties, or folk music (In fact the AllMusic.com description of the LP is dead wrong in labeling it as "pop-rock-folk"). They emerged just shortly before Black Sabbath, and contribute a good deal to the establishment of heavy metal to come, and the stoner rock later of Dead Meadow and Comets On Fire.

A second record was issued in 1970, but as a third was being created drummer Hadden's mental state among other things precipitated the end for them. "Basically, it was money. A bit of untogetherness getting gigs and the record company wasn't too helpful", as House described it in a 1974 Melody Maker interview, "Plus there were some very strange people in the band. It was?a very strange scene. They were all brilliant musicians, but a bit unstable." House went on to play with The Third Ear Band, and then space-rock masters Hawkwind. Tony Hill founded power trio Fiction in the oughts, continuing the sonic legacy.

 High Tide by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.76 | 170 ratings

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High Tide
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This British quartet was one of Heavy Prog's more interesting and pioneering bands. Please note that it's a genre I'm not very much friends with. But despite I didn't enjoy this album much, there were special things that help HIGH TIDE to stand out from the masses of Zeppelin/Purple followers. Most notably it's the electric violin of Simon House, who later appeared in the ever-changing line-up of HAWKWIND (e.g. the excellent Hall of the Mountain Grill). Also the compositions are relatively progressive within the sub-genre's early years, I suppose. Here there are only three of them. The front man is Tony Hill who reminds me of Jimi Hendrix, both as a guitarist (not that virtuoso, of course) and as a vocalist with a stiff and stuffy expression. Luckily the vocals are not very dominant. The dark-toned music is based on the guitar/violin interplay with folkish psychedelic flavour.

'Blankman Cries Again' (8:28) is rather boring to me even if it has a lot of heavy power. It feels too long. Also the final track 'Saneonimous' (14:30) left me cold. I enjoyed 'The Joke' (9:29) the best; especially on that track House's violin gets more space, and there are stronger contrasts whereas the two other tracks feel quite monotonous in their heaviness. The debut Sea Shanties (1969) didn't have keyboards at all as far as I know; here they enrich the sound but I wish there were more organ and piano (even if three members play organ, they don't get very notable status). Not my cup of tea exactly, but definitely worth checking out for all Heavy prog fans.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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