Higher Power - 27 Miles Underwater
Roadrunner Records
Alt-Metal, Post-Hardcore
11 songs (34:18)
Release year: 2020
Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Goat

Almost shameless in their nostalgic pillaging of 90s alt-rock styles, the UK-based Higher Power have a lot going for them not least a blaze of publicity thanks to recent press patronage. Yet it has to be said that their music is a great deal of fun, just on the metal side of the rock/metal divide mainly due to the thrashy guitar riffs which pop up now and then. The band kicks the album off with them on the stompy Seamless before opening into a melodic and cleanly-sung chorus that's even more effective when contrasted with the hardcore aggression later in the track. The overall effect is something like Candiria meeting Deftones, and if you share a liking for either then you're sure to enjoy this album as a whole. It's too well-crafted and enjoyable for you to be too cynical about some of the poppier choruses or how original any of this actually is, particularly once you've heard the slablike riffing of the Helmet-esque Shedding Skin or the more melodic hardcore Lost in Static.

Of course, 27 Miles Underwater is not at all original, particularly once you notice song titles like In The Meantime or Passenger are shared with better-known songs from Helmet and Deftones. And at their lowest, on said ballad In The Meantime, a similarity to Blink 182 is worryingly obvious. Producer Gil Norton also worked with the likes of Foo Fighters and JimmyEatWorld, and it's not hard to see Higher Power aiming for a similar commercial alt-rock crowd. Yet it's a rare blip on an album that is mostly heavier and more enjoyable, late-tracklisting standouts like Staring At the Sun showing their hardcore background well with a bit more speed and vim. Self-Rendered: Lost threatens some Alice In Chainsy moodiness before (disappointly) dropping it in favour of erupting into a more typical melodic stomper, and Low Season is especially infectious thanks to the commanding vocal performance of Jimmy Wizard (apparently his real name!) backed by the scissoring instruments.

The band are good at their instruments, particularly guitarists Louis Hardy and Max Harper, and very audible bassist Ethan Wilkinson isn't far behind. Higher Power (what a great band name, too!) will be getting plenty of radio play and high festival billing on the back of this, and deservedly so. Yet the next album will probably take them further down the commercial route, building on the poppy influences that 27 Miles Underwater at least seamlessly incorporates into the post-hardcore style. Not for everyone, perhaps, but those who remember the 90s as fondly as Higher Power clearly do will have a lot of fun with this.

Killing Songs :
Seamless, Lost in Static, Low Season, Staring At the Sun
Goat quoted 80 / 100
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