American black metal is alive and pulsating, my friends. From Colorado’s Helleborus to Georgia’s Vimur, Minnesota’s Obsequiae to New Mexico’s Predatory Light, and all in between, fantastic new acts are popping up all over our great nation. But as if to say, “Hey, don’t forget about our musically diverse shores, either,” another brilliant new band has come along to vie for the attention of black metal lovers everywhere – and from all places, the sun-drenched hills of Los Angeles, California, no less.
Comprised of three lads all possessing Armenian parentage, L.A.’s Highland have thrust themselves upon the national black metal scene with the recent independent release of their debut full-length, Loyal to the Nightsky, and let me tell you truly, this is one album that you do not want to sleep on. Although Loyal to the Nightsky is considered the band’s “debut full-length”, the members of Highland have been jamming together for over a decade, and as a result, Loyal to the Nightsky is an album that comes off as impressive, immaculately composed, and fully matured, even despite its D.I.Y. pedigree.
Chock full of classically-90’s-Swedish-styled American black metal, Loyal to the Nightsky launches off the pad with the title-track “Loyal to the Nightsky”. However, moving along further into this hour-long foray of furious ferocity, one comes to discover that Highland is more than just blistering black metal and blastbeats. Tracks such as “Towards the Absolute”, with its thrash tendencies, and the beautifully crafted morosity of my favorite cuts, “Burning in Forgotten Times” and “Immortal Queen”, show the listener that Highland’s influential pool is indeed deeper than your average black metal bangers. Rest assured, though, there are still plenty of barbarously scathing black anthems on this magnum opus, too, and if that’s what you’re looking for, then don’t forget to check out tracks like “Cycle of the Eternal Wheel”, “T.S.F.T.”, or “Set Aflame the Path to Zion”, as these should certainly get your blood flowing.
Highland’s Loyal to the Nightsky is available now on CD and vinyl through the band’s Bandcamp page, which you can access by clicking the link below, so go now and get listening!
Highland Bandcamp link: https://highlandmetal.bandcamp.com/album/loyal-to-the-nightsky
Highland Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/highland666/
FFO: Dark Funeral, Marduk, Mist of Misery, Vimur
Genre: Black Metal
Album Lineup: Gevork Matovosyan (vocals, guitars), Narek Avetisian (guitars), Michael Semerdjian (drums)
Loyal to the Nightsky Track Listing:
- “Loyal to the Nightsky” (5:57)
- “Towards the Absolute” (4:58)
- “Burning in Forgotten Times” (5:31)
- “Cycle of the Eternal Wheel” (4:35)
- “Wallachian Night Terror” (2:08)
- “Abu Sindi” (3:46)
- “Immortal Queen” (7:02)
- “T.S.F.T.” (5:49)
- “Set Aflame the Path to Zion” (3:28)
- “Nocturnal Deathstrike” (6:31)
- “Rituals in the Twilights Darkness” (8:25)
Release Date: May 15th, 2017