High Spirits- You Are Here (Hells Headbangers)

Chris Black is back.
Release Date: 
12 May 2014 - 11:30pm

Good ol' Chris Black. No one can accuse him of being a slouch. Between Dawnbringer, High Spirits and close to a dozen other projects he's involved in, you'd wonder where he finds the time to come up with his patented take on ye olde metal. Fortunately enough though, he somehow does find the time and we have been lucky enough to have been granted a second High Spirits album.

For those not in the know, High Spirits could be called Chris Black's solo project, he handles all of the writing and is the sole official member. It is something of a sister project to his other main muse, Dawnbringer. Whereas Dawnbringer has it's feet firmly planted in early traditional metal, High Spirits takes that sonic framework and adds a whole bunch of 70s' hard rock and punk influences. The result is a very welcoming and earthy sound that goes great with a drink in your hand.

Much like Dawnbringer, the production on You Are Here has a very raw and old school feel that almost boarders on demo quality at times. However, unlike Dawnbringer which has a cosmopolitan mix of influences and uses songs as a means to accentuate different aspects of those influences, High Spirits sticks to a uniform structure. That is, punky barre chords either strummed or chugged with classic metal leads thrown over the top, all mixed with the love em or hate em vocals of Chris Black.

While the music itself is inoffensive, your enjoyment of this album is really going to come down to how much you're a fan of the aforementioned Mr Black. Vocally, he is very much a one trick pony but he knows how to put his limited voice to good use, especially on songs like the eponymous title track High Spirits. Other highlights are the more out and out rock swagger of I Need Your Love, One Thousand Nights and Can you Hear Me. But honestly, the album never dips or rises beyond a certain level of quality.

This is not a rock album that would get played in one of those god awful alt-night clubs, this is a rock album for you and your crusty mates to sit around and drink beers to. If you're a person inclined to complain that things aren't like the good ol' days, chances are you're a Chris Black fan and chances are you'll enjoy this album.