High N' Heavy - Warrior Queen [Interview / Album Review] (Electric Valley Records)+

High N' Heavy - Warrior Queen [Interview / Album Review] (Electric Valley Records)+

Electric Valley Records artists High N’ Heavy are what many categorize as “Stoner” rock or even the growing umbrella of Doom Metal. Whatever genre you decide to call them, they maintain a classic vintage sound that is a reminder of the essential root sound of rock. Today we take a look at High N’ Heavy’s new album Warrior Queen and have a brief morning coffee discussion with their guitarist, John Steele.

MHW: Thanks for taking a few moments to speak with us. So tell us a little about yourselves. How was High N’ Heavy formed?

Steele: We formed in late 2014. 3 of us had been playing together in different bands for a while. Our singer Kris I’d known forever and we always talked about forming a band, so the timing worked out.

MHW: What type of influences do you guys bring to your songwriting?

Steele: We’ve been inspired by the filthy rock of the 70’s like AC/DC and Motorhead, and that’s remained at the core, but there’s a lot of Sabbath, Rainbow, and early Iron Maiden.

MHW: As far as lyrics, what is Kris's inspiration (assuming he does the lyrics)?

High N’ Heavy is Kris Fortin (Vocals), John Steele (Guitar/Keys), Mike Dudley (Bass) and Nick Perrone (Drums)

High N’ Heavy is Kris Fortin (Vocals), John Steele (Guitar/Keys), Mike Dudley (Bass) and Nick Perrone (Drums)

Steele: It’s usually 50/50 as far as lyrics between Kris and I. This album it was more me as the inspiration really flowed in that area.

But they usually stem from books we’re reading, or even a video game. Lydia, which Kris wrote, and Shield Maiden, which I wrote, are both inspired by Skyrim. And at the time I was reading the Elric book series, so there’s a lot of inspiration throughout this album stemming from that.

Most all of our songs center around Kriss character Rockman Moonchild Willowtree.

MHW: What other bands have you played with on stage? Brag away!

Steele: The coolest band we’ve shared a stage with was probably Mothership. Like in a personal sense. We showed up to the gig and they were outside smoking a joint. Invited us right into the circle, and were just stoked to be where they were. Not to say they didn’t rip, but the way they carried themselves spoke a lot more as we were the opener. Tthe other bands they were touring with were kind of dicks. (laughs)

We’ve always been a little more focused on writing than getting out there, but we intend to change that in the future.

Getting signed lit a fire…

MHW wanted to say thanks again to John Steele and High N’ Heavy for taking the time to talk to us!

Warrior Queen

Warrior Queen starts out with the bluesy track “Grown Tired”. The guitars are nice and fuzzy with a nice vintage riff. Fortin’s vocals are passionate with a hint of gravel. Towards the end it picks up in a very Sabbath-esqe style, taking this introduction of the album out on a good note and ready for “Shield Maiden”. A completely different track as far as the style. It’s a bit more of just classic rock. The elements of the pipe organ and fuzzy distortions mixed perfectly with a nice loud percussion giving it’s all, you are taken to a very classic and simpler time in rock music.

Catapult” is more of a punk type of track which, to be honest, caught me off guard, but was very nicely done. You can hear Fortin giving his all on this track and it’s refreshing to hear a classic riff that’s been done a million times over, but is still fun to listen to.

HN’H bring it back the Sabbathy style with tracks “Lands Afar” and “Lydia”. Both hard hitting tracks that are in similar vintage fashion to “Shield Maiden”. “To The Skies” is another jamming type of track paying homage to “the herb”. It’s the final track that goes out the same door it came in. “The Smell Of Decay/Wings Of Claw” is very bluesy much like the first track until around the 4 minute mark which picks up and gets very intense going out on a very high note.

Warrior Queen is a great addition to any Doom/Stoner Metal record collection as I can imagine how well this sounds on the black slug.

The Verdict

I was taken aback a little with this effort from High N’ Heavy. Steele and Dudley have a great blend of fuzz and distortions backed by Perones intense percussion work. With Fortin’s vocals tying the whole thing together with his distinct and unique vocal style makes Warrior Queen a fun album to listen to. The particular rooted style of Doom Metal that HN’H offers is very classic. The album art and analog sound presented sets the theme as well as giving that renaissance undertone Steele spoke of. People that are more into Black Doom and more modern forms of Sludge and Doom Metal may be a little turned off by this, but any fan of Sabbath, Windhand, and like sounding bands with a lot of fuzz will get a lot of enjoyment out of Warrior Queen.

Warrior Queen is available on Bandcamp. Help support High N Heavy by purchasing the album directly!

Warrior Queen is available on Bandcamp. Help support High N Heavy by purchasing the album directly!

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