HIGH SPIRITS – Motivator (2016)
“Motivator” is the new album from Chicago-based HIGH SPIRITS, the own project of Chris “The Professor” Black known for being part of several bands such as Pharaoh, including several former band mates and friends. High Spirits sounds more like they hail from Newcastle, England, than the Windy City…
The High Spirits sound captures the magic of the classic ’80s NWOBHM style but also elements of other seminal hard rock bands like Thin Lizzy, Riot and UFO. At the heart of his songwriting is the unapologetic simplicity of catchy melodies, muscular riffs and unaffected vocals.
“Motivator” hits hard and fast with big hooks and memorable melody lines, but it also ends quickly, lasting just under 30 minutes. There is no wasted effort here.
The album opens, after the brief intro “Up and Overture”, with the driving rhythms of “Flying High”. Charging drums and crisp riffage blend with Black’s straight forward vocals and perfectly placed nuances to make the song shine.
This is followed by “Into the Night” with its galloping bass line and spiraling fretwork.
“Reach for the Glory” is one of the album’s many highlights, with its Maiden-esque guitar harmonies, infectious chorus, and beefy rhythms. Conversely, “Do You Wanna Be Famous?” with its spiky bass line and optimistic bounce, takes a look at those bands who want all the fame without the effort.
The pace slows for the shuffling roll of “Haunted by Love” and its almost melodic rock feel. The tempo picks back up on “Down the Endless Road” which has some of the album’s most tasty guitar moments.
“Take Me Home” cops a bit of Maiden’s Running Free swagger on the verses, but the chorus owes more to classic Saxon. The album closes out with the chug and rumbler “Thank You”, an ode to the fans and supporters that keep High Spirits soaring.
“Motivator” is created with all the elements from the classic metal signature / classic hard rock with High Spirits recreating the magic from the very late Seventies / first half of the Eighties.
The music it is at once addictive and accessible. The band has even created a logo that recalls this gloried past.
In an age when even EPs are running close to 40 minutes, Chris Black arrives with his High Spirits project and drops a glorious 30 minute slab of hard rocking, gob-stopping joy.
Yeah, sometimes less is more and “Motivator” works greatly.
1 – Up and Overture
2 – Flying High
3 – This Is the Night
4 – Reach for the Glory
5 – Do You Wanna Be Famous
6 – Haunted by Love
7 – Down the Endless Road
8 – Take Me Home
9 – Thank You
Chris Black – Vocals, All instruments
Bob Scott – Bass
Ian Sugierski – Drums
Scott Hoffman – Guitars
Mike Bushur – Guitars
BUY IT !