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HIGH TIDE

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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High Tide biography
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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Sea ShantiesSea Shanties
Import · Remastered
ESOTERIC 2010
Audio CD$9.35
$9.35 (used)
High TideHigh Tide
Import
Eclectic Discs 2006
Audio CD$12.42
$19.67 (used)
High TideHigh Tide
Import · Remastered
ESOTERIC 2010
Audio CD$8.63
$6.73 (used)
Play Me ReggaePlay Me Reggae
CD Baby 2007
Audio CD$8.89
$0.09 (used)
Sea Shanties/High TideSea Shanties/High Tide
Import
Mason Records
Audio CD$21.90
Sea ShantiesSea Shanties
Import
Eclectic Discs 2006
Audio CD$44.97
$19.99 (used)
Open SeasonOpen Season
Import
Black Widow 2013
Audio CD$35.77
$33.22 (used)
Play Me Reggae by High Tide (2007-12-11)Play Me Reggae by High Tide (2007-12-11)
CD Baby
Audio CD$51.64
Versatility by High TideVersatility by High Tide
Import
Audio CD$102.14
Sea Shanties by High Tide (1994-08-22)Sea Shanties by High Tide (1994-08-22)
Liberty
Audio CD$295.70
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HIGH TIDE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.78 | 190 ratings
Sea Shanties
1969
3.72 | 134 ratings
High Tide
1970
3.87 | 25 ratings
Precious Cargo [Live Jam 1970]
1989
2.64 | 17 ratings
Interesting Times
1989
1.96 | 17 ratings
A Fierce Nature
1990
3.56 | 16 ratings
Ancient Gates
1990
3.11 | 8 ratings
The Reason Of Success
1992

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)

3.61 | 18 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
3.78 | 190 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
3.78 | 190 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
3.78 | 190 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
3.78 | 190 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
3.78 | 190 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
3.72 | 134 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.

 High Tide by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.72 | 134 ratings

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High Tide
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A truly singular British outfit formed during 1969 who fused the shrieking tones of Simon House's electric violin with a crushingly-heavy rhythm section, High Tide can genuinely be called pioneers. One of the first truely heavy groups, the quartet of future Hawkwind violinist House, guitarist-and-vocalist Tony Hill, drummer Roger Hadden and bassist Peter Pavli produced some of the most primal and powerful music of the progressive rock era. Perhaps due to both the aggressive nature of their sound and the prevalent musical styles of the late- sixties, High Tide would struggle to find an audience, yet despite eventually splitting after less than two years together they did find the time to produce two exciting studio albums, with 1969's debut 'Sea Shanties' followed by 1970's eponymous follow-up. Both albums were issued by Liberty and marked High Tide out as a talented group with a distinct sound, though time has seen 'Sea Shanties' take most of the accolades with its starker, darker and heavier overall style perhaps seeming fresher first time around. By the time of 'High Tide', various folk ingredients had crept into the group's sound, though all three of the album's tracks still feature plenty of raw bluster, with Simon House and Tony Hill getting particularly wild on the epic, fourteen-and-a-half minute bruiser 'Saneonimous'. Although the lesser of the two, 'High Tide' still features its fair share of gritty moments, and all three extended tracks feature some breathtaking instrumental interplay. However, seeing as this was the heady days of the late 1960's, people just simply didn't know what to make of of this brash and aggressive new outfit, and after a fast start their once promising career stalled. Early pace-setters, even for progressive rock, High Tide would sadly become unable to continue, the deteriorating health of founding member Roger Hadden and the lack of commercial success leading to their decision to split during the latter half of 1970. Eyebrows were firmly raised, however, when nineteen years after splitting, two of the original members - Tony Hill and Simon House - formed a new version of High Tide, issuing the unimpressive 1989 'comeback' album 'Interesting Times' on cassette-only. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013
 Sea Shanties by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.78 | 190 ratings

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Sea Shanties
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I honestly do not know. Is this really, really good or is it simply interesting as a document from 1969? I do not know. What I do know is that it is an extremely heavy and noisy affair, predating Sabbath and even, in some respects, out-weighs them in some respects. This is heavier and noisier than Sabbath ever was but it lacks something more important: quality.

The album is good. It's a heavy, jam-oriented record and I guess unmatched in 1969. Who were these guys? It's demented, deranged and utterly heavy stuff. A hellish concoction of noise and volume. Still, I do not think it's all that good. Classic? In some ways, maybe. Worth having? Maybe, if you want your collection of hard rock/metal to br complete. Why not? Personally I find it interesting and quite amusing but that's it. Hats off, though, to you guys, for producing one of the heaviest albums ever made.

 Sea Shanties by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.78 | 190 ratings

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Sea Shanties
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Sea Shanties ROCKS !! Take the distortion even if not the wah-wah of Jimi Hendrix, melodies which have probably influenced the Gentle Giant to come, a distorted violin in the standard lineup as would be later used by Curved Air and a very hard rock, harder than anything on the first Uriah Heep or Deep Purple albums. It's acid but far from psychedelia, light years out of the west coast acid bands of the period. In one word: seminal.

Many people speaks of this band as proto prog-metal, but both prog and metal were actually words with no sense in music as Sea Shanties was released in 1969, the year of Woodstock, about two years before In The Court Of Crimson King which is by most considered the first progressive album of the history.

I think that this album is seminal not only for progressive metal. Yes, it's very hard, but there are unusual signatures: listen to Death Warmed Up and tell me how many different signatures it has. There are acid dissonances but with nothing in common with things like blues revival or British psych. When it becomes repetitive it can be thought as a precursor of Krautrock, too.

And the amazing thing is that this band doesn't go too out of the actual boundaries. People used to the epoch's rock would surely classify the High Tide as one of the bands of these times. It's only today that we can spot how many ideas in the music, the songwriting, the solos and the sound have been reused by more lucky and famous bands.

It's dated, of course. The production is surely everything but excellent and the high guitar distortion doesn't help, but this adds to this album a sort of "live" taste. And what about a song like "Pushed But Not Forgotten?" The slow intro is between King Crimson and Gentle Giant while the rock explosive following it, has the feeling of the early Wishbone Ash mixed up with the darkness of bands like Black Widow and the unusual chord passages of the early Family.

In common with the prog to come there are reminds to classical music (mainly Bach) and the tasteful guitar jamming. There's no mellotron (or is it one on the third track?, but there's a true violin which performs an excellent riff on "Missing Out" and works sometimes like the Wishbone Ash's second guitar, sometimes like a keyboard (and effectively the violinist was also a keyboardist).

The closing track, "Nowhere", crosses many subgenres and what matters more, is the one more in advance on its time.

An excellent album which is also a very important document about the origins of prog.

 Sea Shanties by HIGH TIDE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.78 | 190 ratings

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Sea Shanties
High Tide Heavy Prog

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Imagine mixng early Sabbath with a less complex version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and add a strong late sixties psych vibe. Mix it all together and you end up with High Tide, one of the lesser known bands (but highly respected amongst a small group of followers for being ahead of their time) of the late sixties and early seventies UK underground rock scene.

Whilst Sea Shanties is clearly of its time it stands up pretty well, being regarded as a proto- metal album due to Tony Hill's dense and heavy riffing. Whilst it doesn't really sound like the Mahavishnu Orchestra I was reminded of them due to the unusual, for the time at least, inclusion of violin in the line-up played by Simon House, which shares equal footing with Hill's heavy guitar work. Though less complex it's played with similar gusto as Jerry Goodman's playing (Mahavishnu Orchestra) and there are some truly exhilarating moments on display here, notably the long instrumental workout on Death Warmed Up. This is when the band is at their best with the nine minute Missing Out being another highlight.

Though the production is dated due to the strength and originality of much of the material it clears this hurdle easily. There's the occasional lapse into mediocrity such as album closer Nowhere which makes it less than essential. Nevertheless, High Tide deserves credit for an innovative release and should be at least heard by anyone with even the slightest interest in late 60's UK rock music. 3 stars.

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