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Highgate : Survival

What is happening to Highgate? Far from an achievement, this is a more like a huge step back.

What is happening to Highgate? Not so long ago, the US band was said to be one of the best newcomers in the Sludge genre. That was in 2008, and their eponymous debut blending Black, Ambient, Funeral and Sludge was as cold-hearted and vicious as a shark attack on an innocent topless surfer. But none of those promises ever led to a really good follow-up. Of course, each of their later releases had its moments, but as a whole, none of those last records managed to materialise the potential and, in the long run, they all failed to captivate me. Therefore, I was a bit anxious before listening to their 3rd album. And in the end, this material is even worse than what I had expected.

Let's make it straight: technically speaking, the album is as good as you can get in the genre. Everything is perfectly in place, so this could actually be a good starting point for anyone interested in discovering that kind of music without starting with the most obvious (and somewhat extreme) names. The artwork doesn't lie to you: it's as bleak as the music found inside. Except that the music ends up being quite boring, even generic in some parts. The worst side of this listening experience is probably the fact that more than once, you can actually feel that the band doesn't care at all; real artistic commitment seems to be absent here, the whole thing simply doesn't sound genuine.

This is quite sad and curious, considering that more than once you also get the feeling that this album could have been a massive blast after all, the riffs are sick and oppressive, but never punishing and certainly not inspired. Most of it even is so simplistic and repetitive that parts of the songs sound like the worst of what Drone/Doom has offered us in the recent years (like the last Bunkur album, for example). I really don't understand what Highgate were trying to do with this album; far from an achievement, it's a huge step back. I can only hope that they'll find the right track again on the next one if ever. It's a shame to see a band with such great potential still stagnating in the murky depths of the underground. But after all, perhaps this is exactly where they want to stay.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Mother Abyss
2. There Will Never Be Light Again
3. Nachwirkungen/Survival

Duration : Approx. 47 minutes

Visit the Highgate bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-05-16 by Laurent Lignon
A Dream Of Poe - The Wraith Uncrowned
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