Fusing high-energy progressive rock with more anthemic elements and intense synth sounds, Australia’s HighView are keen to test the boundaries of the rock genre.
The Canberra rockers formed out of various tribute bands covering the likes of The Prodigy, Rage Against the Machine and Garbage. Vocalist Matt Faulkner had been working on songs for several years with the intention of forming a band around them and realised it in early 2017 with the release of debut EP Take Your Time, which led to an extensive tour around Australia.
They then got to work on a follow-up, which morphed what was one member’s personal project into five musicians working collaboratively as Ray Dickson (drums), Matt Kendrick (rhythm guitar), Chris Krajacic (lead guitar) and Jack Lovell (bass) took more prominent roles.
As Matt explains: “What drives us is the love for music and the craft of composing, producing and performing as well as the fulfilment of seeing our fans having a killer time at our shows and hearing their overwhelmingly positive reactions to our music. It’s clear that no matter what happens in our lives music will always be a part of who we are and what we do.”
Their resulting second EP Aftermind was released last month, on which Matt tells us: “We’ve been greatly humbled by the overwhelmingly positive response. The reviews have been great and the crowds seem to love the new material, having already snapped up half of the first pressing run of the CD! Anyone who hasn’t listened yet can expect a modern rock onslaught with big melodic guitars, powerful, driving rhythms, soaring vocal lines underscored with lush synths.”
It opens up with a little bubbling synth noise, background vocals and guitars then a big guitar lick that feeds into a fast-paced catchy opening verse that has you immediately hooked followed by a big singalong chorus. There’s a brief pause for breath after the second chorus, followed by a big high-pitched guitar solo before a final smash of the chorus. It’s a hugely impressive, immersive opening to the EP.
Contained begins more slowly, building to a jumpy guitar riff that feeds into a laid-back opening verse. A more intense chorus is dominated by impressively powerful vocals that ends on piercing high-pitched guitars, in a far more prog feeling track than the opener. Check it out below:
The pace drops down a little on title track Aftermind, with a chilled out opening verse of vocals over keys support and light drums then a low guitar line creeps in, soon joined by slightly heavier chords before dropping down into another laid-back verse.
But penultimate track We Can Start is potentially my highlight of the EP. Kicking off with a repeating synth backdrop, “woh-oh” vocals creep in and guitars gradually build in intensity towards a verse of engaging vocals with a big backdrop of synth and guitars in support. The vocals increase in intensity in the pre-chorus of “I don’t have much time, If you don’t hesitate, I won’t let you die, Anyway we go” building up to a powerful chorus. A brief pause gives way to a big high-pitched solo that flows into a final chorus.
The EP closes in an equally lively manner with the excellent Animal. A jumpy guitar lick opens up then explodes into life over booming guitar chords and cymbals, feeding into an energetic verse of vocals and low-tuned guitars. Repeats of “She’s becoming, you’re becoming”follow, over a cool bouncy guitar riff and high-pitched guitars, which continue to dominate alongside Matt’s powerful vocals. It’s a really powerful rocky conclusion to the EP. Check it out in the video below:
On the writing of the EP, Matt explains: “It focuses on themes surrounding self-doubt and the stress of balancing life between the things you want to do, such as performing in a band, and the things you have to do, such as working 9 to 5. The EP also focuses on how these pressures can affect those around you as well.”
The band’s intriguing sound is born out of its members’ wide range of influences, that stretch from hardcore and metal to experimental electronic, drawing particular inspiration from the likes of Foo Fighters, Dead Letter Circus and Breaking Benjamin.
Matt explains: “Our music is melodic without trading off energy; it is detailed without being convoluted and we always aim to make it accessible but not generic. Our songs have a massive rock sound that ranges from modern prog influenced to driving and urgent to huge stadium anthems. We always work in unique melodies on guitar and vocals and support it all with electronic layers to produce our sound. HighView is a forward-looking rock band and we are always striving to push the boundaries of this tried and tested genre.”
HighView are the first band that we’ve met from Canberra, so we asked Matt for his insight into the local scene. He told us: “We’re stoked to be your first! For many years, the music scene in Canberra, and the city in general, had a bit of an (undeserved) bad reputation with the rest of Australia. However, there has always been talented musicians creating fantastic music in the capital and, in the last 10 years or so, this appears to be reaching a critical mass. Timed with the birth of the ‘new music industry’ that’s taking advantage of streaming and other technologies, the Canberra scene is starting to overflow with talent making a name for themselves.
“In general, rock and metal in Australia seem to be going from strength to strength. Online radio station The Faction dedicated to heavy music has been established, Download Festival ran for the first time in Australia this year and Australian heavyweight bands like Cog, Superheist and Mammal are reuniting, touring and recording again. It’s great to see and exciting to be a part of.”
HighView will be touring in support of Aftermind, with plenty more content for fans to sink their teeth into while working on new sounds and planning for an even bigger and better 2019.
Matt adds: “We are dedicated to our fans and anyone who comes along for the ride will experience a band that puts their entertainment and enjoyment firmly in the front of their minds. Our goal is to give colour and excitement to our fan’s lives and we will do everything we can to achieve that.”