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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
High Fighter Scars And Crosses Review

Release Date: June 10th 2016

Kyuss frontman John Garcia said it best when describing German 5 piece band High Fighter: "You looking for some heavy tunes, look no further, High Fighter brings it!!" The band have a lot going on when it comes to quality material, their debut album "Scars & Crosses" is a fantastic mix of doom and sludge with hints of blues and psychedelic and a strong groove oriented stoner rock vibe. It's varied, heavy and just plain rocks out!

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From the opening riff in "A Silver Heart", this band immediately caught my attention as there was something so hooky about their music that somehow encompassed a strong doom aspect along with a stoner rock style. It's a sort of Kyuss meets Kylesa in a way but with a well balanced mix of rock n' roll and groove tempo fused blues and sludge, there really isn't anything to not like here. It's raw and gutteral one minute and super melodic and riffy the next, bluesy and pschedelic in another moment while sometimes heading into really heavy, doomy parts here and there.

Vocalist Mona Miluski will probably be compared to Laura Pleasants from Kylesa on first hearing but to be honest, there's a stronger resemblance to John Garcia from Kyuss especially when she sings those really hooky parts. Occasionally giving a burst of more aggressive screaming vocals here and there, her strong melodic voice that matches the riff behind it blends perfectly well and gives the songs a cool vibe. "Darkest Days" is a perfect example of this, a stoner rock type track that breaks into a psychedelic blues part before ending with a screamer. "The Gatekeeper" has a really memorable riff that draws you in, that section in the track that just riffs out giving you a chance to just let it all hang out and lose your mind is one of the coolest moments on the album. Like Eyehategod guitarist Jimmy Bower once told me, "It's all about the riff man", and in this track it certainly is! "The title of "Blinders" perfectly captures the mindset of this high energy belter, it's faster tempo breaks away from the mould of the more doomier aspects of the album as it rattles along, only giving you a moment to catch your breath in between takes of it's energetic mood.

"Portrait Mind" is another great song that fuses doom elements and groovy stoner rock but with a stripped back melody. The guitar solo section is one of the highlights here as it collectively blends it all together while throwing a little guitar part on top before one of the heaviest riffs at the tail end of the song brings it to a halt. "Down To The Sky" takes things back a little bit with it's more spacey feel all the while a cool main riff leads the song through, "Gods" kinda reminds me of Corrosion Of Conformity with it's fuzzy opening riff which leads into a mid-tempo groove, again the vocals just oozes that very cool John Garcia type style which really works here. Midway through the song the band just completely rock out sitting on a spellbinder of a riff before the wah pedal generated guitar solo kicks in, it's certainly one of my favorite of the many great moments on this album.

The last track "Scars & Crosses" ends things with a much more faster tempo, a high energy rollercoaster with a meaty guitar riff that just grooves a hell of a lot, psychedelic bits and pieces and grungy, distorted guitar sounds that trail off to the end of the track. It's a vastly different song from the rest of the tracks but it's one that ends things brilliantly as it takes you to a different place yet again. High Fighter have one hell of a debut album here and those that love all of that niched styles of stoner rock, doom, sludge and bluesy riffs will absolutely love the songs on this full length collection of tracks.

A Silver Heart
Darkest Days
The Gatekeeper
Portrait Mind
Down to the Sky
Scars & Crosses

Review by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie