HIGH TIDE
Metal Related / Proto-Metal / Hard Rock • United Kingdom

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High Tide was a preogressive rock band formed in 1969 by Tony Hill (guitar, keyboards, and vocals), Simon House (violin and keyboards), Pete Pavli (bass) and Roger Hadden (drums).

Their debut album "Sea Shanties" is generally considered important in the development of the heavy metal genre, and with its influences from hard rock, psychedelic rock, blues, folk and jazz, it has even been described as the first progressive metal album.
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More places to buy metal & HIGH TIDE music

HIGH TIDE Discography

HIGH TIDE albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.05 | 7 ratings
Sea Shanties
Proto-Metal 1969
.. Album Cover 3.07 | 2 ratings
High Tide
Proto-Metal 1970
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Interesting Times
Hard Rock 1986
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Precious Cargo
Hard Rock 1989
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Fierce Nature
Metal Related 1990
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ancient gates
Metal Related 1990
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Reason Of Success
Metal Related 1991

HIGH TIDE EPs & splits

HIGH TIDE live albums

HIGH TIDE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

HIGH TIDE boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Flood
Proto-Metal 1990
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Sea Shanties / High Tide
Proto-Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Open Season
Proto-Metal 2000

HIGH TIDE singles (0)

HIGH TIDE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

HIGH TIDE Reviews

HIGH TIDE Sea Shanties

Album · 1969 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
voila_la_scorie
The first progressive metal band? I was looking for early prog metal of the 80's when High Tide's name was mentioned with such a bold reference. Well, certainly it's credible that a form of prog metal issued from 1969 as both prog and metal were coalescing in their respective forms out of the nebulous cloud of experimental music of the psych days. I was interested and after a quick sampling on YouTube I ordered "Sea Shanties" from Amazon.

I was walking to the train station when the first chords of "Futilist's Lament" stormed into ears. Really gritty grungy distorted guitar, then the rhythm section, then a monstrously heavy second guitar? No, it was the violin! Yes, High Tide employed two lead instruments: the über-fuzzed guitar and a violin that was going to surprise me in the range of sounds it had contributed to this album. Right from the start there was this bombastic heavy guitar sound that quickly switched to Jimmy Page's violin bow on guitar to a more traditional albeit electric violin sound.

The vocals immediately left me wondering whether I would find that they work or that they were better off elsewhere. For the most part they sound like Jim Morison but at times the vocalist abruptly reaches for higher notes, which he can hit, but the transition comes off as a less than impressive karaoke performance. Nevertheless, the song thunders along with the violin making an impressive companion to the guitar. This is not King Crimson violin here but a different beast.

I rather like the guitar soloing which seems to combine and bridge leftover techniques from the late 60's with forthcoming approaches of the 70's. The solo repeats itself in places but just when you wonder if this is going to be a recycling loop of ideas, the main riff returns and the intro is repeated. After one more round of verse chorus the song comes to an abrupt close.

"Death Warmed Up" is a 9-minute plus instrumental, and you'd probably figure that with that much time there should be room to create different moods and changes of tempo. But no. This is nine minutes of heavy rock guitar and gritty violin soloing. Of course there's structure. Resembling early Deep Purple instrumentals, there's a main theme, solo section, repeat of the main theme, more soloing and a return to the main theme again. After that the number charges on with the same pounding pace and the guitar takes over mostly alternating between bursts of high notes and explosions of distortion. Though at times it's easy for my mind to wander, I come back to the music amazed that these guys just careen along like an overloaded steam train for over nine minutes without slowing down or resting.

We finally take a break from the wash of distortion with "Pushed, but not Forgotten," which sounds very Doorsy until the guitar distortion comes back on. The song's basic structure is soft-hard-soft-hard-soft. At this point I am better accepting the vocals. It's also worthy of mention the violin again as it adds some interesting sounds including what sounds like wah-wah guitar and some eerily pretty high notes.

"Walking Down Their Outlook" begins with most 60's-sounding performance of the album until the guitar and violin contribute a touch of Baroque. There are some heavy bombastic moments too but just when it seems this song is going to morph into another explosion of distortion it takes on yet another form, and then switches back to the 60's sound. The violin is given more solo room here in this song too. By the fourth listen I found myself liking this song more.

"Missing Out" sounds like a fuzzy Doors' blues number at first with violin. The vocals are more expressive here but sound like a tortured Jim Morison. At 9:41 you can guess there will be some significant song space devoted to soloing. But the vocal segments keep returning, so there's no super lengthy jam here although some of the soloing goes on a bit. Just before 8 minutes it looks like there's going to be a drum solo but the band only tease and wisely steer clear and instead add more noisome guitar and some violin that at times seems a bit at a loss for what to play.

"Nowhere" opens with an instrumental section. By now there's there's not much new here. The sound of the album has long been established. I do like some of the melody lines played played by the violin. These stand out for me. It gives the song a country feel which I normally wouldn't like but it works here.

The extended CD includes three additional tracks that were recorded for the album but wouldn't fit on and were thus culled, and two demos which are not remarkable. "The Great Universal Racket" might be exactly that to some. It is a long instrumental that jumps from style to style, including heavy doomy guitar, friendly rock guitar with wah-wah effects courtesy of the violin, heavy country rock, more Baroque mixed in heavy rock, an acid rock traditional Chinese segment, and several others. It reminds of Norwegian prog rockers, Wobbler's instrumental that only just establish a groove or riff and the move on. This plays like a medley, constantly changing tempo and rhythm. Many parts repeat, so whether you think this is genius or someone's taking the mickey is up to you. I still can't decide if it's brilliant or just sonic clutter.

"Dilemma" also goes through some changes including an almost Sabbath-esque metal section with some Blue Cheer mixed in, and some pseudo prog work. The vocal parts are slower and thankfully there's more energy put into the higher register singing adding variety. Then the vocals change to southern rock and Jim Morison is all but gone. It becomes another gritty rocker for guitar and violin. Good on its own but very much like the rest of the album.

The demos are next with a slightly shorter version of "Death Warmed Up" and also "Pushed, but not Forgotten". I find the album versions are better and I usually skip these.

"Time Gauge" is the last number and again more of what we've already heard: raunchy gritty guitar, violin, paces changes, steady supporting rhythm section, doses of distortion, mixed styles, classical suggestions, and so on. As a constantly changing instrumental, this is similar to "The Great Universal Racket" but a little sloppy here and there, or so I feel. Good in places but not a highlight.

I can't say the album will be a long-time favourite but there will be songs I'll come back to. To sum the album up neatly, I quote the Allmusic review from the Wkipedia page for "Sea Shanties":

"High Tide had the muscularity of a no-nonsense proto-metal band, but they also ventured into prog territory with changing time signatures and tempos, soft-hard dynamics, multi-part arrangements, and even some ornate faux-Baroque interludes."

HIGH TIDE Sea Shanties

Album · 1969 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
AtomicCrimsonRush
Light years ahead of their time, High Tide present the birth of prog metal.

The first sound that emanates from this colossal album is a grungy sludge guitar riff, very distorted and fuzzy. It almost sounds grunge and this is back in 1969! It begins with the lo-fi crunching psychedelic metal of 'Futilist's Lament'. The band announce that this is going to be a heavy psych prog experience. High Tide are Roger Hadden on drums, Tony Hill on guitar, vocals, Simon House on violin, piano, and Peter Pavli on bass. They are one of the loudest, heaviest bands of the late 60s and must have been a major influence to Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath and reminds me of Blue Cheer meets Hawkwind. The metal riffs are almost like Black Sabbath in places and the wah wah guitar reminds us we are in the psychedelic 60s. This is a sensational track that must be heard over and over with the amps on 11.

'Death Warmed Up' is a 9 minute hard rocking instrumental with blazing guitars and a manic violin that assassinates the grunge vibe to make way for a progressive heavy sound. The twin guitar lead break is spacey and locks in on a repetitive riff. It is rather lengthy for a loud, proud, and endowed band, but it works in a hypnotic sense, similar to the sonic jamming attack of Hawkwind.

'Pushed, But Not Forgotten' is a slow ballad with quiet violin and guitar and a gentle vocal. But only or about a minute. It breaks out into a loud guitar solo and a heavier beat with some excellent guitar riffs. Then it settles back to a serene atmosphere with restrained music lulling you off to sleep. But now we are on edge wondering when it will break out again. Sure enough the amps get turned up again and the distorted guitar cracks the peace in half with admirable ferocity.

'Walking Down Their Outlook' begins immediately with moderate vocals and steady beat. Then there is a wonderful guitar lick using scaled notes up the frets. The spacey section follows and ascends until another screaming guitar passage. The way the song breaks and changes constantly is quite an original approach given the date this was released. The section that begins at 2:40 is one of the great instrumental breaks, howling guitars, folk violins and keyboard augmentations. The cadence escalates into a hypno-groove with folk metal motorvating along on a strong beat. Then a minimalist violin takes over to finish the track. Wonderful heavy prog.

'Missing Out' is another lengthy 9 minute track, with very complex fugue motifs emblazoned over intricate guitar notes constantly played. The violin is always present slicing back and forth and the estranged vocals of Tony Hill. What a sensational sound High Tide are able to create with these instruments, almost like a metal version of Comus. At 3:50 there is a fantastic violin and lead guitar solo with instruments trading off to the wild percussion. The lyrics are hard to decipher but a lot of it sounds improvised such as "Oh, my soul is going down, and I'm ready." This finishes with an attacking drum solo and an extended outro.

'Nowhere' closes the album with a terrific violin and guitar solo at the start. The violin and guitar battle it out for supremacy for a while, neither winning the contest, and then the lead guitar takes over with prog time changes and is joined by a descending flurry of violin notes. It slows in tempo and Hill's low vocals return; "marking time and shutting out each warming smile, what shall be the go between they laugh and cry, effigies of souls are seen to come and go, moving through the mists of fear , they come to know." The dark lyrics fit in perfectly with the moody atmospheric music.

The conclusion is that this album is one of those rare treasures unearthed from the tomb of obscurity, hardly making an impact until now, and the listener will be enthralled that "Sea Shanties" finally has seen the light of day.

HIGH TIDE Sea Shanties

Album · 1969 · Proto-Metal
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High Tide's debut is a slog through two or three musical styles, and rather limited ones at that. Although this appears on many people's proto metal lists, the metal quotient is practically non-existent, and the music rather samey and limited in exploration or interest.

The opener, Futilist's Lament grabs the attention immediately, with its uber-fuzzed guitar riffing and Morrison-like vocals outlining a melody straight from The Doors.

The styling is pure heavy psych mixed with hard rock, and the metallic feel is only edgy. The drums drive and shift beat emphasis, leaving only the pulse for head banging purposes - but it works.

The solo is a weak affair, simple blues scales, then a really nice, hooky melody line, some fast and very messy bluff, back to the hook, back to the bluff - obviously there's been attention paid to the structuring, but the execution of the bluff is rather poor and unsatisfying.

There's rather too much bluff, and the song goes on about 30 seconds too long, before the swirling fuzz-fest of Death Warmed Up, a decidedly non-metallic piece, driven by a lead violin lending a really cool Celtic air to the extended, hook-laden intro. Hendrix citations abound, before another round of unnecessary guitar bluff, which makes this piece feel a lot too long.

I read somewhere that this is an example of Heavy Prog, but I have to say that there's no Prog here.

There is a monstrous Hawkwind-like riff, which tapers off too soon, but all in all, a very dull and unexciting piece. I got bored by 3:00, and it's 9 minutes long.

There is a change at 4:00, but it's to some Hendrixy style wah, and more of exactly the same quick bluff we heard at the beginning, out of key and totally unremarkable to the point of irritation.

I kept skipping, 20 seconds at a time, but the overall texture doesn't change - pointless waste of vinyl.

Pushed But Not Forgotten is a more laid back affair to begin with, Doorsy in flavour, but with the interest in the violin. The harmonies are jazzy, with plenty of 6ths, and the vocal melody swoops into interesting places - but then it's all spoilt when it suddenly gets heavy.

We return to the mellow music, and there are some interesting textures over the return to the first theme, but knowing that the heavy section will return in a horribly predictable fashion has already removed any interest for me.

The Doors flavour is maintained for the 4th song "Walking Down Their Outlook", but by now I'm tired of the formula of this hard rock album in prog clothing.

About a minute in, there's a lovely exposed moment, but generally, this is an expansion of the previous piece, with quiet sections in the melodic style, loud sections in a messy, bluffy style and that sums it up.

The metallic quotient is almost totally missing from the first song onwards, it should be noted.

The 4th song is an interesting take on heavy psych, but by now I'm too tired of the formula to enjoy it.

At 9:38, I don't feel I'm missing out if I skip it.

The album is rounded off with a song called Nowhere, which is a very apt title, as that is exactly where it seems to go.

Not impressed by this one at all, musically, and the metal content is miniscule.

So on two counts, I would not recommend it to anyone, let alone a metal fan.



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