The entrance to Hades’ lair has opened. It was this album which served as the portal to such anti- utopian reality. Formed in 2014, the sludge metal band, High Fighter debuted their EP, The Goat Ritual. And following this, after a success of live shows, they released their first album, Scars & Crosses in 2016.
Now, with music heavier than ever, High Fighter is back to stain the stages of the metal scene and disfigure the thoughts of their fans. With 11 tracks, the band have offered, in their release of Champain, a tour through the corrupted depths which souls are forbidden to touch.
The opening, Before I Disappear, was a horror movie intro. It was dark, definitely so. The first impression anyone would form are the colours of black and nothing else. The vocals came forced. Verses of growls disrupted the air. There were no comprehension in this genre. It was a sort of singing that cannot be understood. With the scene vivid in my mind, I could actually imagine zombies playing this song together. Perhaps putting lyrics were in vain, but otherwise, the band have succeeded in setting their desired mood so violently.
What followed, Shine Equal Dark, had quickly aided to the abrupt cut of the previous track’s end. By this time, I knew I obviously was in a hellscape. Was it schizophrenic? Yes. For the faint-hearted? No. The vocals alone spoke a different sort of death. It was gore. It was a concert for headbanging and understanding nothing at all.
Interlight was merely a solemn transition to the next track, Dead gift. It was perhaps, a little melodic in comparison to the others so far. The solo was more animated. But still, it was an Inferno setting, no doubt. It literally screamed the exchange of your soul with the devils. I understood not a word, but I was confident that was what the vocalist was going for. What else would Dead Gift mean?
Another Cure had this isolated, depressed guitar tone which would make listeners think of the quote, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” The riff was the same. But the growls were more distinct. I was able to make out a few words. The solo was insane. It was a cry for escape. And by the ending, where sounds began to fade, perhaps you would think all the noise had died but no. No. Not yet. You were supposed to make one last deal with the serpent. The music returned, unannounced, only to die again.
Kozel was a distorted piece. The guitar riffs and solos were the center. It focused more on instruments. The drums were in a riot. Tailing this was I Will Not. The bass had more spotlight, and I found this variation almost a relief to the ears. But otherwise, the songs sound the same.
Another brief transition was Interdark. It was clearly the counterpart of the previous one. It brought another menacing darkness within itself and I could very well see my person alone in a godforsaken street with no signs of life. It was the apocalypse. When We Suffer (feat. Anton Lisovoj of Downfall of Gaia) came shortly. I was still walking in the same road. The only difference was the metallic quality of the foreword guitar.
Second to the final track, A Shrine, came with trespassing duo of drums and guitarworks. This sounded less of a confusion. It contained less shredding and proved somehow that the instrumentalists were not just for background noise.
At last, I have reached the final sacrifice, Champain. It was an consistent end. The drum outro was a good idea for headbangers. It left no other message than this barbaric and brutal place.
The album was a recruitment to the lower kingdoms. And I must admit, I have successfully succumbed into the pits of this scorching underworld. The vocalist was in chains, and the rest of the members were not quite sane either. It was a dose of the acrid taste of hell. The whole of the album sounded the same, and revolved around a single theme. It was simply put, a ritual divided into parts. I would recommend this piece for hardcore metal fans, and not for those who have soft ears, for they would absolutely get a headache within the first two measures. This is the music which tear your feelings, rip your flesh, and wreck each of your frail bones until you surrender to the ungodly realm. For the originality however, they sounded like the typical death metal bands whose names I forgot, but with the vocalist being a female, perhaps that was some credit. In summary, I would give the High Fighter album, Champain, a rate of 4.5 out of 10.
Review by Estefan Malgret.