Dear Chester, I only realised a few days ago that it’s nearly been a year …
“This is the centre of my repressed rage.” Strong words from High Tension vocalist Karina Ultomo, but words that ring true.
The Melbourne quartet are back with their third studio album, the brutal Purge.
Angst, frustration, turmoil, shock and hate, all chewed up and spit out into a release that proves to be the band’s most extreme statement to date. The intensity of High Tension is growing with each album, Ultomo saying, “This was always the direction we were heading into.”
The release of Death Brat in 2013 saw High Tension nominated for an ARIA Award for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal album, while 2015’s Bully received huge acclaim and opened up massive touring opportunities for the band, supporting big names like Refused.
2018’s High Tension is a beast morphed by evolution. Purge is a reset of the High Tension blueprint with the addition of guitarist and songwriter Mike Deslandes and drummer Lauren Hammel, who joined after Bully was released.
Purge has got some pretty tormented subject matter—Utomo’s main focus on the album is the anti-communist purge in Indonesia in 1965 and 1966–during which hundreds of thousands of members of the communist party were slaughtered by the military and Muslim groups under the orders of General Suharto just prior to his seizing power of the country–and the intergenerational trauma that still permeates Indonesian society. “In the past I’ve touched on that theme, but on this album it’s referenced more tirelessly”.
The band’s DIY ethic is reinforced in Purge with Deslandes engineering and producing the album and bassist Matt Weston directing all the band’s videos, and new single Bite The Leash (Burn), out today, wraps up the band’s mantra, direction and creative talents in a parcel of grinding noise.