I may have mentioned this theory here before but I have one about the structure of the perfect album and, without getting too much into the whole breakdown, the basic components to start is that you need that banger of opener to grab new listeners’ attention right away. Maybe it’s the new anthem or that hit single (Or lead single in general) that’s been floating around for a bit but whatever it is, it needs to to trigger that instant familiarity and reel the ears in. But it’s the second track that’s actually the most important one because that’s the one that needs to make sure those hooks stay put so maybe it’s the heaviest, the most diverse…the most everything, really.
In the case of Halo, the latest from Sweden’s Eastern High, they take that theory but apply it to each and every track on their sophomore effort to deliver easily one of the most incredible feats of heaviness in 2021. As far as sophomore opuses go, Halo is practically legendary with thrills, chills, and heapings of heavenly Heavy sounds to bring fans a record that is engaging, entertaining, enthralling, enticing and all the other “en” adjectives. With all the exhilarating feels that made early Thrash ragers so compelling combined with Katatonia and Paradise Lost-style Doom and gloom mixed with modern marvels like Gojira who continually manage to take all that and elevate it to humongous new levels of epic excellence, Eastern High bring a new brand of Metal to the table that’s sure to set the bar for years to come.
“Erosion Of Hearts” and “Emperor” are the one-two punch in question here with the former coming off like the sounds of a brewing storm heralding a bonafide event akin to an act of God while the latter expands on that opening offering to give glimpses of the sonic majesty Eastern High so mightily yield. “Notorious Enemy” is a worldly shredder driven by Johan Svensson and Niklas Cvetkovski’s piercing guitar lines and Christian Lindström’s staccato percussive attacks which underscore Ola Svensson’s powerful vocal performance that walks a fine line between a sweeping clean delivery and this grating rage-filled almost growl.
“Journey” is just that coming at listeners like a lumbering brute with Svensson and Cvetkovski’s guitars here sounding particularly biting as they build a wall of sound that’s fortified by the steady forward motion of Lindström’s drums and Fredrik Rosdahl’s bass. “Morning Star” dwells in the depths with Rosdahl’s bass accenting a solid sonic foundation with Svensson’s deep baritone switching between broad passages, swooning choruses, and one nasty growl bringing to mind early Amorphis at times while “Dystopia” is a gargantuan Gothic Rawker that’s eerie yet enchanting, mixing In Flames with Katatonia with the way Cvetkovski and Svensson’s guitars intertwine and interact to create a spiraling tower of riveting riffs.
“Halo” hovers in the heavens with the way Svensson chants out its’ divine chorus to elevate everything and pitching a pretty sweet and serene scenario all around surrounded by one helluva sonic bludgeoning from the rest of the band and then “Ashes To Ashes” is a poignant piano-laden finisher that’s every bit as epic as what came before.
Halo lands on July 30th! Keep your peepers peeled to this location here to see when you can pre-order yours! For the latest on Eastern High, follow the trail of social media pages when you head here, here, or here.