“This,” vocalist Karina Utomo offers, “is the centre of my repressed rage.”
High Tension have announced their brutal new album Purge, out June 15 on Cooking Vinyl Australia. The band’s third album is a fierce piece of work, filled with the sound of frustration, fear, disgust, horror, hatred and – yes – rage, spewed up and moulded into the Melbourne quartet’s most extreme statement yet.
While tradition would suggest heavy acts only lose their intensity with each record, the opposite is true of High Tension. “This was always the direction we were heading into.” Says Utomo.
After forming in Melbourne in 2012, High Tension’s debut album, the following year’s Death Beat, was nominated for an ARIA Award for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal album, while its follow-up, 2015’s Bully, received widespread critical acclaim and saw the group hit the road in support of acts such as Refused. The High Tension of 2018, however, is a different beast to the one that released those records, thanks to the presence of guitarist and songwriter Mike Deslandes and drummer Lauren Hammel, who both joined after the release of Bully in 2015. (Co-founding bassist Matt Weston completes the line-up). In that regard, Utomo views Purge as a resetting of the High Tension blueprint.
“It was inevitable that we were going to produce a record unlike our previous work; with Lauren and Mike joining the band, our natural response was to reshape our sound.”