Highgate
Black Frost Fallout

Here’s some of that sweet hot fire I glimpsed while reviewing Highgate’s sophomore album Shrines to the Warhead. This collection of demo and live tracks compiles the band’s 2005 and 2006 demos along with an unreleased track and two live recordings. Normally this type of material dump is only interesting to established fans but Black Frost Fallout is a bit different simply because the raw black/doom combination here is very much unlike the material on their full lengths. Unfortunately, the production is spotty and after the first handful of songs there just isn’t much to note.

The first four tracks come from the band’s 2006 demo. Here the band tempers their suffocating drone with blasts of black metal and shifting doom. “Black Frost Fallout” begins with trudging doom that ruptures with an explosion of blasting black metal riffing. “Sermon of the Apocalypse” keeps the tempo slow and focuses on one dominant riff, but they smartly keep it short, coming in at under 4 minutes. “Burial Light”, probably the best track on the disc, rocks waves of undulating sludge with searing black metal vocals and smart variations of the riff that decays in waves of burnt out drone. “The Wolf” brings the black metal front and center, blasting away in a haze of Kentucky weed.

Unfortunately, after this the disc goes downhill. “GHH” is a short, sample laden ambient number and the production on the 2005 version of “Sermon of the Apocalypse” is muddy. Another short track of sample n’ drone is followed by two live tracks, “Untitled Second Movement” and the aforementioned “Black Frost Fallout”. The recording of the live tracks isn’t great nor terrible, but good enough to give an idea of their live sound.

It’s a mixed bag, which seems par for the course for this kind of release. The demo material is different enough from what the band is currently doing to make it worthwhile for fans. Outside of that, there’s not much to recommend unless you’ve burned out your Wolvhammer and Coffinworm records and need another fix of blackened sludge before Wolvhammer’s newest comes out next month.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chuck Kucher
September 28th, 2011

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