Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Hell or Highwater "Begin Again"

This next review is of an album by a band called Hell or Highwater. The band’s debut album Begin Again was released a couple of years ago through the bands website and iTunes, but was just re-released this week (February 5, 2013) and can be found in stores.

The band is lead by lead vocalist Brandon Saller. Yes, some heavy music fans may recognize that name as being the drummer and clean vocalist of metalcore band Atreyu, but it would be wise to forget the name Atreyu when listening to this album. In fact, if you ever have the pleasure of meeting Brandon, don’t even mention the band name. Trust me I know from experience. Anyway, what we have on this album is not the overdone sounds of modern metalcore bands, but rather a straight up, in your face, hard rock album.

The band takes a small page out of modern alternative acts such as Foo Fighters while retaining enough of a classic 70’s-esque rock feel that a lot of bands lack. The outcome can be heard quite well in the albums opening track Gimme Love. This song is a fast paced rocker, with very upbeat melodies sung by Saller, an almost anthem of a chorus and an 80’s Judas Priest like guitar solo by guitarists Matt Pauling and Neal Tiemann. It sets the perfect mindset for the listener.

This upbeat nature follows in to the next song Hail Mary! While this song maintains an upbeat instrumental intro, this song is all business. After the opening riff, Brandon comes in with a slightly more aggressive melody, giving the song a slightly more serious feel too it.

The album continues with a well mix of emotions from song to song. Other upbeat, heavy fast paced songs on the album include Terrorized in the Night and Crash & Burn. The albums slower and much darker side can be heard on songs such as Tragedy, which is one of Saller’s best vocal performances on the album. Rocky Water’s Edge has a 90’s feel to it, in lieu on acts like Gin Blossoms, in the sense that despite the serious nature of the songs sound, it is still very relaxing to listen to, and probably is the nicest and most soothing song on the album because of this.

The album’s darkest peak would be the track Go Alone , featuring none other than Matthew “M. Shadows” Sanders on co-lead vocals. The song has a very outlaw feel to it, and understandably so considering the song is about “putting a gun to a man’s head, and pulling the trigger”, so said Brandon once before performing the song live.

When the Morning Comes is another stand-out track, which is very apparent by the songs country-like introduction to the song. Come Alive starts off as a slow song but turns in to a faster paced heavy gem that can compete with any modern rock song out there. The albums ends with another upbeat track that shouldn’t be taken lightly the appropriately titled We All Wanna Go Home. The song gives perfect closure on the album, not just by its lyrics, but by doing a good job at reminding its listener of what they just listened to. The song has a soothing feel like Rock Waters Edge and an anthem of a chorus like Gimme Love.

The re-released of the album comes with two newly recorded tracks. The Boxer and Pretty Penny. Both songs show that the band has plenty of more fantastic songs in their arsenal!


Find the Time to Breathe” – This song sums up the album perfectly because it combines just about every aspect of every song on the album. It starts off with a fast and heavy intro, then goes in to a dark and slower verse, which leads in to a heavy melodically well sung chorus. The song displays how the band as a whole can play a song as if they’ve been playing together for decades, while Brandon’s voice is at its best.



8 (Out of 10)


Track List:

Gimme Love
Hail Mary
Terrorized In the Night
Find the Time to Breathe
Rocky Waters Edge
Go Alone (feat. M. Shadows)
When the Morning Comes
Crash and Burn
Come Alive
We All Wanna Go Home
Tragedy (Remix)
The Boxer
Pretty Penny









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