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Highland - Loyal to the Nightsky

Loyal to the Nightsky
by Marcos "Big Daddy" Garcia at 12 August 2017, 8:02 AM

In the movement of SWOBM, in the first half of the 90s, the greater part of North American Black Metal bands carried a clear influence from Thrash Metal and Death Metal from the 80s. ABSU, BLOODSTORM, AVERSE SEFIRA and some others carried these influences of their sound what makes we all think that bands from U.S.A. Black Metal School would be this way. But things changed, and bands with a rawer sound focused solely on Black Metal appeared. Now, a beginner comes from California with their first full-length. HIGHLAND is here to show their raw music with “Loyal to the Nightsky”.

The trio plays a raw and strong form of traditional Black Metal in the same vein of EMPEROR on their earlier days (maybe from “Wrath of the Tyrant” Demo and “Emperor” EP times), but without keyboards parts, so the melodic lines are entirely done by guitars. But they are pretty good, unleashing an amazing energy and a shocking personality. Yes, they are doing things in a different way, using the influences from the past to do something new and strong. The sound quality is good. It’s not outstanding, but it’s far away from being nasty of dirty. The sound is flowing raw and aggressive as those qualities from the past, but the care that Josh Franks on the mix and Jack Control on mastering the songs made the songs sounds heavy and abrasive, but in a good way that we can assimilate the trio’s musical work. The artwork created by Luciana Nedelea is really simple, but it shows the band’s personality.

All the songs from “Loyal to the Nightsky” are really good, but “Loyal to the Nightsky” and its nasty fast parts (with very good shrieked tunes on vocals), the bitter slowness of “Burning in Forgotten Times” (that shows an excellent work from bass guitar and drums), the brutal impact of the storm of riffs shown on “Cycle of the Eternal Wheel” and “Wallachian Night Terror”, the contrast of somber melodies and shocking harmonies of “Immortal Queen” (a song filled with excellent changes of rhythm), the oppressing riffs of “T.S.F.t.”, the crushing rhythmic work on “Set Aflame the Path to Zion”, and the intense duo of “Nocturnal Deathstrike” and “Rituals in the Twilight’s Darkness” are the albums finest moments.

With a work in that way, and with support from a great music label, no one will dare to be in their way.

Originality: 7
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Loyal to the Nightsky
2. Towards the Absolute
3. Burning in Forgotten Times
4. Cycle of the Eternal Wheel
5. Wallachian Night Terror
6. Abu Sindi
7. Immortal Queen
8. T.S.F.t.
9. Set Aflame the Path to Zion
10. Nocturnal Deathstrike
11. Rituals in the Twilight’s Darkness
Gevork Matevosyan - Vocals, Guitars
Narek Avetisian - Guitars
Michael Semerdjian - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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