Hey, how’s everyone feeling on this delightful February afternoon? Continuing to work my way through some of last year’s (or earlier) releases I didn’t get a chance to write about last year (or earlier)…
Hamburg-based High Fighter has been around for quite a few years now — some of you may recall that I had written about their 2014 debut EP and 2016 debut LP here; now let’s check out their second full-length and first-ever live album!
High Fighter – Champain (Argonauta Records, 26 July 2019)
High Fighter – Live at WDR Rockpalast (Argonauta Records, 26 November 2021)
Previously when we discussed this group I recall characterizing them as mostly stoner-rock with some bluesy vocals and some harsh vocals. On 2019’s follow-up release, this has remained the general structure. Many of the tracks are led-in by clean, reverby guitars and the band as a whole certainly gives off quite a bit of blues swagger, while constantly demonstrating the ability to shift on a dime (or auf einem Groschen if you prefer) into bludgeoningly heavy doom riffs, featuring death/black vocals seething and dripping with vitriol. Spirited and energetic throughout, but perhaps nowhere quite as much as in the closing track which is also the title track — setting the blues-rock clean vocals against some of the album’s harshest venom-spewing snarls, some psychedelic/spacey guitar moments, and culminating in the full band dropping megaton staccato hits in unison.
But then — lacking the ability to set out into the world to showcase this material properly, as has been a common sufferance for most bands over these past couple of years — the band instead opted to perform without an audience, in perhaps the most COVID-safe environment possible: a desolate industrial wasteland (see the photos below for context), and then release the resultant recording to folks worldwide who otherwise couldn’t have experienced the band in all its live glory. Featuring material spanning all of their first three releases, and therefore functioning just as nicely as a career-so-far retrospective as it does as a live record, High Fighter‘s Live at WDR Rockpalast has a sound as expansive as its venue appears to have been.
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