The band was formed in Montpellier, apparently inspired by everything between Whitesnake, ZZ Top, Motley Crue, Guns 'n Roses, The Scorpions, Deep Purple and Kiss. With all those names, obviously one question remains: how does HighWay cope with all these influences?
Well, from the very first tones of opener 'Brotherhood', the answer to that question is "excellent". What a stomper this song is. It immediately sets the tone for the entire album. With heavy rock, catchy chorus and flashing guitar solos, HighWay embody the definition of "good old fashioned rock music". The other songs follow that example. "Pole Dancing Song" breathes a southern atmosphere, Coyote Ugly kind of stuff, but with better music. "Wake Up" is somewhat slower but still a more than decent blues rock tune. Guest vocalist here is Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman, Journey ...).
From then on, the band constantly balances on the edges between blues and vintage hard rock. Besides, they perform it with great precision. These guys can handle their instruments, that's for sure. Furthermore, Benjamin Folch is an excellent vocalist. He can carry the blues just as easily as the rough edge of rock music. In 'Boogie Wave' he suddenly reminded me of Midnight Oil and shortly after I heard a James Hetfield comparison. But before you think HighWay is just another hard rock clone, these French dudes certainly mastered their trade.
I also like the backing vocals. Very often, the bassist and guitarist take their place behind a microphone. The result is great and adds a lot to the power and epic atmosphere of the whole thing. Yes, epic, this music sounds like it belongs on massive stages and in huge arenas. Songs like 'Psycho Lover' and 'Say Your Prayers' can easily set festivals on fire. The album closes with two nice surprises, the very odd sounding 'Chemical Trip' and the blues rocker 'Separate Ways'. So yes, great album but now I'm hungry to see this live...