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.