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High Tide - Sea Shanties CD (album) cover


High Tide


Heavy Prog

3.87 | 251 ratings

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Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
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.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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