When the name High Spirits is mentioned, your mind doesn’t instantly jump to ‘eavy fuckin’ metal. Yet, the band has been rocking since their inception in 2009, anchored by vocalist Chris Black. Professor Black has been leading the reigns ever since and is the main songwriter of the band and does all the recordings on his own.
“It has grown beyond a hobby for me. Sometimes it’s a slow process writing. I tend to overthink a lot.”
Live he brings in a band of miscreants from acts such as High Roller Records heavy metal rockers Züül and crusty thrashers Wastelander.
“I wanted to work with friends I could trust with the same sense of musical direction. I very much consider us a band.”
For both his studio and live output, the goal is simple.
“It’s a magic spell, it’s gonna charge your life, so don’t be scared, when you see the flash of light.”
In the age of songs about denim jeans, rocking on (through the night) and our master, Satan, High Spirits is here to bring you up into the sky and let you know that, “Hey, you can come up here.” The name may sound uplifting but I assure you, the lyrics are not. They are without a doubt some of the most heart-wrenching, tear-jerking lyrics and each release, including the handful of demos, Another Night (2011), debut full-length, 2013 EP (2013) and the upcoming You Are Here (2014) delve into the personal.
“I take my lyrical inspiration from a number of things, A little bit from me, a little bit form you and a little bit from the guy standing next to you at the gig,” explains Black.
The new album certainly shows a more melancholic side of High Spirits, although mum’s the word on where that melancholy stems from. Music, of course, is the name of the game.
“The pool of influences is so vast I could give you 100 bands and still keep coming up with more.”
Tracks, like “One Thousand Nights” and “Gone to Pieces,” will really coax some emotion out of you, while others, like “Can You Hear Me” and the rerecorded “High Spirits,” will lift you higher than you could imagine and never let you fall. This is driving, classic heavy metal with clean vocals and technical proficiency: there are no retro-revivalist, wannabe ‘80s rockers here. Instead, it’s metal done right without any pathetic stabs at cred. It’s much the MO for his other projects on the go, including Pharaoh (power metal), Dawnbringer (blackened metal), MetalUSAfer and Aktor (both classic metal) and, at one time, the defenders of the filth, Superchrist. Each is in varying stages of activity.
“Superchrist was a great band. We didn’t want to change the line-up, but from what we had, nothing was coming from it…. The guys from Circle and I had kept in touch after they heard Dawnbringer. We continued to talk till it got to the point that we wanted to work together on some tracks and that’s how Aktor came about… We will hopefully be hearing an Aktor full-length this year or next.”
No matter. Despite his prolific output, High Spirits is a one-of-a-kind band. Perfect hooks, empowering vocals and all around Friday night rock n roll soundtrack. This is one of the few bands doing this style out there now who’s doing it right. Once you hear them, you’ll go full power.
Buy High Spirits You Are Here from Hell Headbangers on Tuesday, May 13. You can check it out at highspiritsmetal.bandcamp.com.
By Dan Neild