2013 delivered the classic-minded metal goods in its first month. The new Manilla Road song rips, and Holy Grail's sophomore record, Ride the Void, improves on that band's debut in every way. But January's finest gem is "Midnight Sun," the first demo track from High Spirits's untitled second record.

High Spirit - Midnight Sun

For the uninformed, High Spirits is Chris Black's less well-known solo project. While Dawnbringer continues to reap critical acclaim with two excellent releases from Profound Lore, High Spirits' 2011 debut, Another Night remains in self-released obscurity (our review). A shame; as much as i love the two Dawnbringer records, Another Night trumps them both in my book. I still listen to "Full Power" often on drives to work.

If "Midnight Sun" is any indication, the followup will be as good as "Another Night," if not better. Black's obsessions remain: Scorpions riffs, vocal overdubs, positive lyrics and big singl-aong choruses. Of course, the song could use some spit-and-polish—it's a demo! Black's vocals sound all too fucking human, and the guitar tone deserves more meat on its bones. Still, everything a great classic metal song needs is present. The song's obvious highlight, the a-cappella break at 3:12, makes me want to spark a bic and sing.

High Spirits promise more new material soon. May it all rock this hard.

-Joseph Schafer


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