Slinking in on a dredging low humming bassline, Bully stares you down from hooded eyes as the menacing line “Show you how it is, show you how it’s done bitch” riles your blood and squares your shoulders, reading for windmilling. Vocalist Karina Utomo kicks you high in the teeth with a set of pipes that can scrape the gutter in a growl and then reach the roof in an almighty screech in as quick as it takes you to let go of that breath you’ve been holding in. The album takes you down swiftly, second song ’Guillotine’ swarms in on the carcass left over by the opener, with third track ‘Sports’ rearing its head quickly after, guitar bits biting at the heels and drum beats sounding like they’re marching you to the cliff’s edge.
‘Killed By Life’ with its bridging chants and cleaner vocals is probably this album’s closest relation to the tracks off first album Death Beat, except where there was creative uncertainty and potential there is now ferocious, unapologetic aggression. It is in no way a down point in the album, more like a quick rest stop before the one minute and seventeen second head smash that is following track ‘Iceman’. ‘Take Control’ proves the bands talents to build mood rather than just generating fast thrash tracks, with the heaviness of the song coming equally from the weight given to the opening low vocals and sparing guitar as well as to its high pitched squall of a chorus.
Coming from the clean cut debut of 2013’s Death Beat, High Tension’s second album is a predator on the hunt, an intimidating cacophony of structured noise, mosh-inspiring riffage and brooding belligerence. It’s a lurking goliath of an album that reveals a maturing in High Tension’s sound that I didn’t anticipate but wholly welcome.