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High Tide - Sea Shanties CD (album) cover


High Tide


Heavy Prog

3.87 | 251 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars This was a band so far ahead of their time that except for the tepid sixties studio production this album doesn’t really seem all that dated even today. Not your typical proto-prog band, but undoubtedly there are a couple of generations of heavy metal and psych rockers these guys managed to have an influence on nonetheless.

This has got to be the heaviest album I’ve ever heard that was recorded before about 1971. Not only that, this is one of the earliest albums I know of that prominently featured electric violin, and in a leading role no less. As heavy as MC5 but with the creative musical sensibilities of the best psychedelic bands of their day (The United States of America comes immediately to mind), High Tide just flat-out rock on this, their debut release.

The influence of Jim Morrison is apparent in Tony Hill’s vocals, or maybe that’s just what all acid-soused heavy rock singers sounded like back then. And clearly these guys were partaking of copious amounts of recreational stimulants judging from the out-of-control guitar improvisation and almost surly violin wailing that dominate the first couple of tracks. Drummer Roger Hadden seems completely unrestrained and drives at mach speed between rock and jazz rhythms effortlessly.

By the third track “Pushed, but not Forgotten” the band slows up just ever so slightly, but only for the first minute or so before launching into a series of thrashing bleats followed by mellow violin and more mumbling ala the Lizard King. This is the one track that easily confirms the band was attempting to piece together more than simply fuzz and poppies with this album.

“Walking Down their Outlook” is similar, but here Hill tries some weird shouting to offset the catatonic vocal dirges he has offered up to this point. The violin here manages to take on a bit of a folkish tone although it doesn’t give an inch in intensity. More of the same on “Missing Out” except that this one jams on for nearly ten minutes which is largely filled with pure improvisational jamming by Tony Hill and bassist Peter Pavli.

The closing “Nowhere” almost sounds like a proto-Cure tune once the opening blast of guitar fuzz fades a bit. Well, the Cure on acid that is.

The band would fold a year after this release and following their second studio album. Drummer Roger Hadden became a Syd Barrett-like casualty of a fragile psyche and too much acid and has spent the past thirty-seven years in a mental institution, while the rest of the band went on to other endeavors including stints with label-mates Hawkwind, Deep Fix and Third Ear Band. Violinist Simon House would also play on several David Bowie, Thomas Dolby and Mike Oldfield albums (among others), and House and Hill both managed to release albums under their own names as well. The two of them would reform the band as a duo in the late eighties and release another (much more mellow) album with digital drums tracks, but for the most part the spirit of High Tide died shortly after this and their second album released.

A true original that paved a new path in heavy metal of the progressive kind, way before most other metalheads had figured this stuff out. Four stars and recommended as a history lesson for all metal fans who’ve come along since.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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