Highgate    

Survival

Total Rust 2013

The Kentucky's backwoods miscreants, Highgate, return with their third album of oppressive, menacing doom.  Mother Abyss begins with slithering sonic textures, dark and horrifying. Then it ruptures into full blown monoliths of sound, crushing and suffocating.  Sludgy, dragging riffs and methodically pounding drums plod away.  Once they are united with the deathly vocal scratchings I am reminded of Winter's Into Darkness.  The pace quickens slightly for some mammoth walls of riffs that wash over you like a tidal wave.  Throbbing noise emanates from the opening of There Will Never Be Light Again creating a sense of anxiety and fear.  Sparse, spiritual doom notes flow from my speakers as the song gains a slight degree of momentum.  A near melodic phrasing takes hold of the song as it lurches in a rhythmic motion.  Hints of nostalgia hit the song as it reaches its increasingly tense conclusion before it finally falters and collapses at the end.  The final of the three tracks is the 20+ minute epic of massive, bone-shattering proportions called Nachwirkungen/Survival.  Meaty, vibrating riffs of Cyclopean proportion bludgeon your mind into pulp while the vocals drag across your flesh like jagged volcanic rock.  This track is a truly single-minded battering ram of doom riffage.  The guitars start to churn up more sludgy doom destruction as the song continues onward.  Highgate takes a similar approach as Winter's Into Darkness but incorporates a more traditional and sludge doom style into the music and also infuses the songwriting with some funeral doom pacing.  This is nothing groundbreaking, but it is something that is effectively oppressive and suffocating.