HIGHGATE, Black Frost Fallout (2009, They Used Dark Forces)
Can’t help but think of Carcass’ Tools of the Trade EP when looking at this cover. But this image is starker: a skull in the middle surrounded by, uh, 2 x 4s, or wood-chopping wedges, or some sort of spike, or who knows what. It’s like a bleak industrial rendition of a sunflower. Like a sunflower planted in ash that only grows at night and is watered with piss. And since “black frost fallout” sounds like something related to “nuclear winter,” I’m starting to get the picture: these guys probably don’t sound like Edguy.
Highgate definitely does not sound like Edguy. Theirs is a labored, dry, harrowing brand of sludge (with black metal elements) that isn’t at all appealing, but probably isn’t meant to be. It’s ugly music for when you want exactly that, and it’s no fun at all. It’s also rather dull; making it through even the first five minutes of this compilation was a chore, but a friar does what a friar’s gotta do. Even when they bust out into black metal-esque speed (and vocals), as on “The Wolf,” it’s like Eyehategod playing Ildjarn songs. Not good. They really need to do something about this guitar sound too. It’s so tight, compact and dry, they lose all heaviness, or unearthliness, or any other sort of vibe they might have been going for.
— Friar Wagner