High Spirits’ creator Chris Black has got to be up there as one of the hardest working people in rock or metal.
He seems to have boundless energy and a talent to match. As the only person involved in the whole recording project he plays all the instruments, sings, produces, engineers and everything in between, apart from mixing. That pleasure goes to one Dan Swano.
Chris Black also goes under the name of Professor Black where in October 2018 he crazily released THREE albums on the same day. Take that Guns ‘n’ Roses! You can read my reviews over at decibelgeek.com
He is also the vocalist for the band Aktor and plays drums, keyboards and bass and sings in the outfit Dawnbringer. Dawnbringer actually released Snake in March 2020 and clearly Black felt he had time on his hands to release Hard to Stop under the High Spirits banner.
The signature move of High Spirits is to hit you firmly in the solar plexus with enough energy to power a small town. It’s a sonic assault of epic proportions but not in a noisy way. It’s all got great rhythm and the riffing is second to none. Multi-layered and intense, the riffing is heartily supported by thumping drumming which on its own could do you some damage.
High Spirits could be pigeon-holed into the power metal category but they’re so much more than that. It may not have the soaring, screaming vocals but the intensity is so much deeper.
Most tracks follow the High Spirits battle plan until we hit “Voice in the Wind”. This is the nearest Black has ever come to AOR in my experience and it is an awesome track with a superb solo.
Hard to Stop is an absolute killer album, for which the phrase “iron fist in a velvet glove” has never been so fitting.
“But what about playing live?” I hear you cry. Well, Black has assembled a motley bunch of musicians from other bands such as Zuul who play this awesome music in a perfect way. I should know, I’ve witnessed it and it’s brilliant fun.
The album is out on 31 July 2020. Once you play it you’ll find it hard to stop. See what I did there?