Album Review: High Priests – “Spinning”

high priests - spinning

Hi.  Do you like noise rock?  Sure, we all do…but it’s so hard to find time in today’s get-up-and-go lifestyle to find that healthy blend of dissonance and melody, you know?  That why I always turn to Chicago, and to the noise boys of High Priests, who in debut Spinning have crafted a solid rocking package of tunes that hit a level of rattle and hum while paying homage and staying firmly in the pocket of the noise their home turf have produced.  

Birthed from current and former members of The Brokedowns, Wide Angles and Post Child, Spinning adheres to the angular and discordant rock of bands like Jesus Lizard but with a real emphasis on meaty riffs that have been pushing more recent bands like Cellos and Less Art into the light.  Power chords start and stop, jitter and scrape on tracks like opener “Control” and early highlight “Night Train” which gets a huge boost thanks to the drumming prowess of Mustafa Daka.  In fact, if there’s a MVP to be had here it’s Daka, or a combination of Daka and engineer Joe Gac, who gives the drums a HUGE sound that reverberates around the guitars and bass.  The main riff of “Ululu” feels like you’re being pounded on the skull while the guitars slink around your neck.

Sonically the whole album is a beast.  Rather just a cascading sheet of sound, High Priests ensure each track has enough dynamics to let the riffs really catch hold and then breathe around Daka’s drum kit.  Both Mikey Alesi (guitars) and Justin Gutierrez (bass) lock completely into the stuttering groove and lay a thick slab or rock down: penultimate track “Drop of a Pin” shows the band perfectly expanding outside their confines to generate a frantic excitement that feels way more epic than its three minute runtime would suggest.  There’s not a weak moment on Spinning, and the 30 minutes sprawls by so quick you want to immediately start it again.

high priests band
High Priests

Without once wearing out its welcome Spinning is a blistering slab of granite that shows a tremendous amount of potential for High Priests.  Just try not to get hit by those pulverizing drums and you’ll be fine.


Spinning is available March 23 on Triple Eye Industries.  For more information on High Priests, check out their Facebook page.

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