Reviewed by Meghan Player

There are some pretty exciting things happening in terms of punk and hardcore on the local scene at the moment. The likes of Gay Paris and Born Lion have well and truly shaken things up across the country – pulling us out of existential flunk of mediocre, often predictable releases. Thankfully, the buck doesn’t stop with these killer bands, instead, the scene is beginning to flourish once again with frankly, some ball-tearing, high-octane, no bullshit punk that we’ve been sorely missing.

Enter Melbourne four-piece, High Tension.

On the back of their past musical/band endeavours [see: Young & Restless, The Nation Blue], the band have torn down their past experiences, and re-built something that is nothing short of raw, aggressive perfection with debut album, ‘Death Beat’.

Opener ‘Blaze Up‘ almost rips the skin from your bones as it pounds its way through your speakers. The driving beat coupled with the chunky guitars make the perfect entrance – all before frontwoman, Karina Utomo cuts right into the blistering sound scape with her shredding vocals. And goddamn, can this lady growl.

Latest single/video, and ode to the bands hometown, ‘Collingwood‘ is a definite 1-2 punch in the face. It’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics and close-to-home familiarity make the track an absolute knock-out – not to mention the ridiculously rad video that has accompanied its release. [FYI – that ones definitely NSFW].

It’s four tracks in and you’re already bordering on physical exhaustion [mainly from throwing yourself around your lounge room, flailing limbs included], but the sheer, brutal melody of ‘High Risk, High Rewards‘ pulls you back into the foreboding abyss of High Tensions core. It’s from this moment that you realise you’re well and truly fucked. This album has grabbed your attention by the neck, and it’s not letting go until its had its final say.

Without U.S.‘ offers a slight breather of moody melody, before it launches into some dirty, sludgey goodness, whilst ‘Mountain Of Dead‘ is a hard-hitter, no mistake. Title track [‘Death Beat‘] and ‘Are You Safe‘ round out the album in a blur of punishing, explosive noise – finally letting you crawl your way back, blinking into the light.

Without a doubt, ‘Death Beat’ is a beyond incredible debut. Each track is more punishing than the last, and all wrapped up into neat 35 minute package. The melodies are tight, the breakdowns are heavy and you’d be lucky to be spared a black-eye in a mosh pit with these guys at the helm.

If there is one band you need to look out for in 2014, it’s High Tension. These guys are dangerous as fuck, and I couldn’t love/fear them any more than I do right now.


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