I have been familiar with High Spirits for a few years but it wasn’t until I did a spot of research did I discover that it’s all the work of one Chris Black who plays all instruments and sings. Clever chap. He then asks his long-term mates to join him when he needs to go out gigging. That makes me wonder which he prefers, gigging or creating?
Anyway, since the beginning in 2009, he found a winning formula and has stuck to it all the way up to and including this 3rd full-length album, Motivator. This latest effort, once again on High Roller Records, has all the constituent parts expected from this ongoing project.
Chris Black is clearly an accomplished musician who builds his songs clearly and precisely, from the rampaging rhythm section to the (seemingly) twin lead guitars to the powerful vocals. All this backed up by infectious vocal harmonies.
Firstly to the rhythm section which is the real driving force behind this album, shown none more so than in “Do You Wanna Be Famous” where the bass sound almost reaches Lemmy-esque bossing proportions.
The guitaring only adds to the power and depth of each song and quality crisp solos are scattered all over the album. Now, with such a clean guitar sound you need a vocal to match and Mr. Black definitely has that particular gift. As smooth as silk and as toned as Arnie in the 70’s the vocals fit perfectly like the final piece of a beautiful jigsaw.
To critique each song individually would really defeat the object of this album which is simply to stand and deliver a high quality, well-crafted punch to the face.
At some point I normally find myself comparing one band to another, I can usually spot a similarity, but in this case, I’m struggling. It’s not in the power metal category but has all the power which bands like DragonForce possess and it isn’t on the softer side either. I can safely say I haven’t come across a “band” sounding quite like them, which is of huge appeal.
If like me, you are familiar with High Spirits since the beginning, nothing on this album will particularly surprise you but that matters not a jot. What you get is high energy power rock at its precise best and although some may feel that the songs do not reach the heady heights of their early days you are still guaranteed to feel like you’ve been caught in a sonic boom but have come out the other side with a huge grin on your face and your fist raised to the sky.