HIGH TIDE

Non-Metal / Proto-Metal / Heavy Psych • 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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Sea ShantiesSea Shanties
Remastered
Esoteric 2010
$11.22
$21.91 (used)
Sea Shanties/High TideSea Shanties/High Tide
Mason Records
$21.89
High TideHigh Tide
Remastered
Esoteric 2010
$14.85
$24.58 (used)
High TideHigh Tide
Eclectic Discs 2006
$14.98 (used)
The FloodThe Flood
World Wide Records
$39.99 (used)
Play Me Reggae by High Tide (2007-12-11)Play Me Reggae by High Tide (2007-12-11)
CD Baby
$34.32
$17.28 (used)
Open Season by High Tide (2001-04-23)Open Season by High Tide (2001-04-23)
Black Widow Records
$21.99
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HIGH TIDE Discography

HIGH TIDE albums / top albums

HIGH TIDE Sea Shanties album cover 3.87 | 12 ratings
Sea Shanties
Heavy Psych 1969
HIGH TIDE High Tide album cover 3.68 | 4 ratings
High Tide
Proto-Metal 1970
HIGH TIDE Interesting Times album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Interesting Times
Non-Metal 1986
HIGH TIDE Precious Cargo album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Precious Cargo
Non-Metal 1989
HIGH TIDE A Fierce Nature album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Fierce Nature
Non-Metal 1990
HIGH TIDE Ancient gates album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ancient gates
Non-Metal 1990
HIGH TIDE The Reason Of Success album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Reason Of Success
Non-Metal 1991

HIGH TIDE EPs & splits

HIGH TIDE live albums

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

HIGH TIDE re-issues & compilations

HIGH TIDE The Flood album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Flood
Proto-Metal 1990
HIGH TIDE Sea Shanties / High Tide album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Sea Shanties / High Tide
Heavy Psych 1994
HIGH TIDE Open Season album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Open Season
Proto-Metal 2000

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

HIGH TIDE Reviews

HIGH TIDE High Tide

Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
The TIDE comes in, the TIDE goes out. Such is the lesson of the UK’s most promising prog rock band of 1969 with the phenomenal “Sea Shanties” where the heavy prog band HIGH TIDE that consisted of Tony Hill (electric & acoustic guitars, organ, vocals), Simon House (electric violin, organ, piano), Peter Pavli (bass) and Roger Hadden (drums, piano, pipe organ) lived up to their moniker and delivered a stunning display of musical fusion that delivered an intense interplay of early heavy metal, progressive rock and psychedelia with jazzy chords that focused on the folky of Simon House’s violin screeches that traded off with Tony Hill’s hard rock bombast and weirdly designed guitar solos. Debuting in the year 1969, HIGH TIDE was one of the premier prog rock bands that developed a unique style from the getgo that sounded utterly like no other, mostly due to the ample use of violin as a primary instrument in the context of a rock band.

However, all TIDEs must recede and that’s exactly what happened with the sophomore release which was unexcitingly simply titled HIGH TIDE. The quartet tamped down the guitar heft of the debut and instead replaced it with an artier mix that included more piano, organ and acoustic guitar however the main combo pack punch of the guitar and violin were still in firm command of the musical processions. HIGH TIDE’s second eponymous album originally consisted of a mere three tracks that was just shy of the 33 minute mark with each drifting past the 8 minute mark. While “Sea Shanties” delivered scorching proto-metal performances wrapped in progressive rock compositions, this self-titled debut takes a few cues from Tony Hill’s previous psychedelic rock band The Misunderstood and lightens things up on this one in which the organ added the proper psych atmospheres to give this second coming a much spacier feel but make no mistake about it, Tony Hill still delivers some stellar guitar workouts as does Simon Hill on the violin. Overall the album focuses less on hairpin turns and progressive time signature frenzies and engages in long sprawling jam sessions most evident on the opening “Blankman Cries Again.”

The opening track signifies an immediate stylistic shift from the debut as the compositions are more accessible. The violin has more of a folky sound and at the jazzier times evokes a sense of the future sounds of Jean-Luc Ponty in the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The album is primarily string based with the guitar, bass and violin all sharing more less equal turf as Hill’s guitar dominion of the debut had clearly waned. While it could be argued that the three string sections along with the drums and organ touches deliver a more balanced approach to HIGH TIDE’s unique sound, in the end it sounds a little lightweight in the shadow of the debut’s sheer perfection. “The Joke” while exhibiting the classic HIGH TIDE touches also presents verses that sound a lot like early King Crimson which finds the band incorporating influences from the great KC that dropped their debut bombshell on the world and not so subtly announced that progressive rock was in town and was taking over the music scene for a while. Tony Hill’s vocals are quite distinct but at times he’s a dead ringer for Greg Lake’s slower singing style.

I find the third and longest track “Saneonimous” to be the most interesting and the one closest to the debut’s decked out progressive rock freneticism. While the track engages in the jamming sessions of the previous tracks, it’s allowed a bit more freedom in changing up the dynamics as well as tempo changes and more time signature shifts and at nearly 15 minutes long manages to remain engaging helped greatly by the instantly addictive melody and Tony Hill’s vocal style that fits perfectly in between the squealing violin runs and guitar and bass. Roger Hadden also deserves plaudits for a stellar percussive performance that manages to punctuate the busy polyrhythmic counterpoints of the strings. The atmospheric contributions often take a back seat but do add an artier mood during quieter passages.

As with “Sea Shanties,” the second HIGH TIDE album also has a much better remastered release than the original album. Not only is the production sharply improved but it includes a monstrous essential bonus track in the form of the near 16 minute “The Great Universal Protection Racket” which equals anything else on this album and while the remaining three bonus tracks that include two alt versions of “The Joke” and “Blankman” along with the short “Ice Age” are of lesser value, they are not throwaway tracks either. While the TIDE was HIGH on “Sea Shanties,” the sad truth was that all TIDEs must recede and therefore the second coming of this unique band was more like a LOW TIDE in comparison to the startling brilliant debut. While this second album may not be as immediate in its presentation and initially disappointing, many subsequent listens have substantially raised my opinion of it. It delivers an excellent mix of intricately designed prog rock only with the guitar heft of the debut tamped down. Unfortunately this marked the end of HIGH TIDE as Tony Hill, Peter Pavli and Roger Hadden moved on to work with Rustic Hinge as well as other acts. The band would reform in 1990 and release more albums but would never catch the magic of the early years. While the debut is superior, this is still an excellent release.

HIGH TIDE High Tide

Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal
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Warthur
High Tide's second album feels like a bit of a step down from Sea Shanties. With the flowering of the progressive rock movement, the band seem to deliberately tone down the heavier side of their music in order to present a more sensitive and artsier image, and in doing so accomplish only the watering down of their material's power. Simon House's violin is still an important presence in the music and on the whole the jams here are pleasant enough, but there aren't any passages which leap out and grab me by the throat in the same way the best portions of Sea Shanties did.

HIGH TIDE Sea Shanties

Album · 1969 · Heavy Psych
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Warthur
About as heavy as an album could get in 1969 without being full-on proto-metal, High Tide's secret weapon on Sea Shanties are the nuanced violin performances by Simon House, who prog fans might have heard on albums by Third Ear Band or Hawkwind. This touch of gentle class amid the band's Atomic Rooster-meets-Hendrix whirlwind of acid-drenched fuzz creates an intoxicating mixture, like House is a lone violinist on the deck of a ship in the middle of a violent storm. The album structure might be simple - two comparatively shorter songs sandwiching a longer epic on each side - but the songs are engaging and vibrant and the longer pieces (Death Warmed Up and Missing Out) are incredible proto-prog offerings.

The album's been rather overlooked by prog historians, which is a shame because it's an intriguing point where the hardest of hard rock, the heaviest of heavy psych and the proggiest of proto-prog met up and created a truly unique sound.

HIGH TIDE Sea Shanties

Album · 1969 · Heavy Psych
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siLLy puPPy
Music history is fickle as there is no rhyme or reason as to why one band will become the hugest thing since sliced bread and another of equal talent is left to fester in the dusty obscurity bins. HIGH TIDE is the perfect example with their debut album SEA SHANTIES which was released the very same month as the extraordinary and hugely popular “In The Court Of The Crimson King” by none other than the legendary King Crimson. HIGH TIDE was pretty much a contemporary to the great KC in not only musical ambitiousness and stylistic extremities but also hails from the very same London scene that was seeing the clock run out on the 60s and ushering in the sobering new reality of the idealisms of peace and free love ceding into pure darkened disillusionment. While the band has received some kudos from the critics over the ensuing decades, HIGH TIDE has unfortunately remained off the radar of the average heavy rock meets prog rock world.

This band was put together by one of the most creatively energetic guitarists of the entire 60s, Tony Hill. After he saw a bit of cult status success with the psychedelic USAmerican rock band The Misunderstood which formed in California in 1963 he moved back to London in 66 (along with his USAmerican bandmates). They would hang around for another three years (although there was a deportation episode for the USAmerican members) and despite well deserved attention from John Peel never really took off into the psychedelic limelight. Square away in early1969 after The Misunderstood ceased to be, Hill formed HIGH TIDE and managed to release the first release SEA SHANTIES out on Liberty Records in October mostly due to a connection with Apple Records that got them noticed fairly quickly. After a few gigs with the Groundhogs, Edgar Broughton Band and Sweet Slag, the band quickly gained attention for their unique amalgamation of psychedelic folk, heavy driving hard rock guitar riffs and most of all the totally sizzling hot violin abuse of Simon House who sounded as if Paganini time traveled to join a psychedelic porto-metal band in the 20th century. He would become better known after he joined Hawkwind as well as albums with David Bowie, Thomas Dolby and countless others.

SEA SHANTIES truly remains the heaviest album that the 60s had to offer. HIGH TIDE took the ponderosity of the fuzzed out heaviness of Blue Cheer, Cream and Hendrix and turned everything up a few notches. “Futilist’s Lament” begins the album with a fuzzed-out heft that’s strong enough to blow the doors down as the guitar riffs are on high tempo matched with an equal fury of Peter Pavli’s bass and Roger Hadden’s drum abuse. Hill simply sounds like he has lightning up his ass with his frenetic fingers whizzing up and down the guitar scales. “Death Warmed Up” is equally heavy only sans Hill’s Jim Morrison inspired poetic prose and dead ringer as a singer vocals. This nine minute rocker is the perhaps the most frenetic rocker of all 1969 only matched by the single track “Communication Breakdown” by Led Zeppelin, only with ripping intense trade off’s between Hill’s guitar gymnastics and House’s virtuosic violin prowess that egg each other in some sort of insider’s competition or maybe just a pact with the devil. Their over-the-top jamming style exudes an atmosphere with equally compelling Eastern European scales that add ing a flair for the exotica.

Hardly a one trick pony, SEA SHANTIES dazzles with its diverse elements as it deviates from two distinctly different heavy rockers to the King Crimson sounding “Pushed, But Not Forgotten” pretty much following Crimson’s own approach of alternating heavier and lighter tracks. This one reminds a lot of KC’s “I Talk To The Wind” and sounds like something that really could have been on the Crimson album that came out the very same month only HIGH TIDE weren’t content to merely record a ballad but rather bust into heavier segments complete with the fuzzed out blues inspired solos and off-the-chart violin sweeps so sizzling hot that i’m waiting to hear a string or two break! “Walking Down Their Outlook” brings back the Jim Morrison vocal style only backed up by complex progressive rock time signature changes, alternating passages all peppered with ambitious dynamics and interesting compositional chord changes. “Missing Out” perhaps the most tied to traditional blues rock may be the least challenging but displays how HIGH TIDE can blow away the competition by taking a simple catchy blues melody and adding progressive touches along with a violin part that sounds like a soundtrack to a demented Irish jig rehearsal. “Nowhere” displays the remarkable playful interchange between Hill and House as they trade off their virtuosic string skills around a groovy bass line punctuated by jazzy drumming workouts.

It is of my humble opinion and perhaps adventurous tastes that i feel HIGH TIDE put out a veritable masterpiece equal in scope to KC’s beloved “In The Court” and in many ways upped them at their own game. Perhaps at first the Morrison vocal comparisons are a little too starkly derivative and the cacophonous nature of the restless guitar and violin vying for domination can be a little disorienting but after several spins this grower imbues an indelible charm that has me craving repeated listens as the unique approach of SEA SHANTIES has a morphinic effect that keeps the off-kilter ear worms digging deeper. Of all the woefully underlooked nuggets of gold let loose at the tail end of the 60s with a bang, none pleases me more than HIGH TIDE’s debut album that successful fits the bill of that transitory period like no other as it captures the psychedelic zeitgeist of the hippie era just a couple years removed while unapologetically looking towards the future and in the process unifying two trends simultaneously, those two being the progressive rock explosion as heard by their contemporaries King Crimson as well as prognosticating the inevitable big bang of heavy rock turned metal slightly before Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple really took off. SEA SHANTIES is a bona fide masterpiece in my book.

While the original album track list is worth the price of admission alone, i highly recommend the 2010 remastered Esoteric edition with bonus tracks. This contains three bonus tracks that were unreleased but from the same sessions as well as two demos. The demos are ok but not essential but the bonus tracks are well worth the extra effort to track this edition down. The most important of these bonus tracks is the extremely heavy and progressive behemoth “The Great Universal Protection Racket” clocking in at over 11 minutes and was a much loved highlight of their early live shows. This is a track so heavy and so complex in its style that it actually makes “21st Century Schizoid Man” seem a little tame in comparison. It is basically a sprawling composition that contains periods of heavy metal guitar riffing, schizophrenic proggy guitar licks, bluesy segments with all of the band members performing extremely tight unison between the instruments as they navigate through complex time signature workouts run amok. The track meanders through several different guitar riff styles but each one makes a reprise and even includes violin led segments as well. I actually love this track more than any of the other tracks on the album! The other two bonus tracks are also excellent but not as OMG amazing as the first one. “Dilemma” revisits territory heard on “Walking Down Their Outlook” and “Time Gauges” is another instrumental workout of complex prog laden freneticism trading off with mellow chilled out violin led melodic passages.

HIGH TIDE Sea Shanties

Album · 1969 · Heavy Psych
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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."

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