Elevation’s “Hell or High Water”

“It’s hard for a band backed by so much emotion and dedication to music to go by unnoticed.” – Sarra Sedghi

Sarra Sedghi

out of 10

Hell or High Water
June 7, 2011
Retrofire Records

It’s easy to tell that Atlanta-based ELEVATION packed an incredible amount of energy and dedication into their newest record, Hell or High Water, a follow up to 2007’s Strangelove. Nearly every track is saturated with fast tempos, guitar riffs, and dedication, which makes ELEVATION’s excitement about Hell or High Water and the passion they put into it very clear. And while ELEVATION does a good job with Hell or High Water, I have to admit that it doesn’t exactly stand out from anything I’ve previously heard.

As I mentioned earlier, Hell or High Water mainly consists of fast-paced, guitar-heavy tracks that are at times difficult to distinguish from one another. “Still Alive” is the optimistic, catchy track that makes an appearance on every pop-punk album. “The Hardest Part,” “Doxology,” and “Exit” steady the flow of the album and save Hell or High Water from being one of those generic modern rock albums that don’t know when to push the brakes. Some variations to the overall style of the album, such as the opening to “Sands of Time,” are great embellishments; others, such as the sirens in “Borderline” and “Death Valley’s” oddest lyric – “Did I tell you about the time I was stared in the face by 1400 grizzly bears?” – throw the listener off a bit.

Originality aside, the members of ELEVATION prove to be great at their designated specialties and Hell or High Water is done well. Nathan Smith has a voice that can please listeners whether they hear it from down the street or on the radio. Their enthusiasm towards music is equally displayed through both Hell or High Water and the band’s feats that include playing for coalition forces in the Middle East and independently producing their latest album in a studio they built themselves. I do believe that ELEVATION has a fair chance at becoming more widley known – it’s hard for a band backed by so much emotion and dedication to music to go by unnoticed.