HIGH COMMAND “Eclipse of the Dual Moons”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Sharpen your swords and gird your loins for battle, for the siege of Secartha is about to begin!

I was just getting ready to put together my Top 10 list for 2022 and HIGH COMMAND comes barreling in at the last minute to blow my list apart. Where this record will place on the list, I don’t yet know, but it’s gonna be there, of that you can be sure. This is a monumental epic of thrash metal and high fantasy both. In fact, thrash and fantasy have never been better combined than on “Eclipse of the Dual Moons”.

How big is the story here? Well, how many CD’s/albums do you own that have their own MAP included? With the one included here, we discover places like the “Forest of Confusion”, the “Seven Hills of Onyx” and of course, the mighty stronghold of Secartha. There is a bloody and dark tale being told here, full of treachery and necromancy. For fantasy fans, it has echoes of the “Malazan” and “Osten Ard” series. And nothing screams out for an epic thrash metal soundtrack more than a clash of warriors and the living dead!

It’s a great story if you’re into that, as I am, but even if you never picked up an epic fantasy in your life, the metal is going to kick your ass to the curb. HIGH COMMAND have put a ton of thought into their songwriting and have come up with a sound like the best of early SLAYER and METALLICA colliding with the sword-singing 80’s power metal of OMEN, ATTACKER and even early FATES WARNING! The tracks rage, but in an intelligent way. They know how to use the power of THE CHUG...that mid-paced kind of thrash is prevalent here. There’s lots of shout-outs to the kind of chugging thrash METALLICA used on “Seek And Destroy” and “The Four Horseman”. But when HIGH COMMAND turn on the speed, you better have pain-killers ready because your neck will be sore as hell. I offer up tracks like “Imposing Hammers of Cold Sorcery” and “Chamber of Agony” as proof...both have great chugging groove that ends with spine-snapping speed-ups.

It’s tough to explain how layered and well structured this is. “Fortified By Bloodshed” has some cool creepy organ work that perfectly merges with the main riff. “Chamber of Agony” injects some almost cinematic atmosphere into its epic merger of OLD power metal and thrash. The vocals are harsh and angry but you can follow the story, which is full of black magic and bloodshed. The album is capped off with the 11 minute plus “Spires of Secartha”. This cut is an absolute model of how to do a massive thrash song and never be boring. It speeds up at just the right moments...even the mournful acoustic flourish at the end is well done and fitting to the story.

Get the picture? HIGH COMMAND is on a different level with “Eclipse of the Dual Moons”, right down to the haunting cover art and that detailed map. I just wish the lyrics weren’t so microscopic because my eyes were put to the test trying to read them. Yes indeed, thrash warriors, thy doom awaits thee in Secartha!