High Tension’s Karina Utomo on processing grief and trauma through metal
01.02.2021

High Tension’s Karina Utomo on processing grief and trauma through metal

Photo by Tracey Lee Hayes
WORDS BY AUGUST BILLY

The extreme metal vocalist is the latest guest on Beat’s Turning Heads podcast

Turning Heads episode 26 features an interview with Karina Utomo from Melbourne metal band High Tension. Utomo co-founded the band in 2012 with guitarist Ash Pegram, who she’d previously played with in Canberra band Young and Restless. Their first album, Death Beat, came out in 2013 via Cooking Vinyl Australia.

The band’s popularity grew with 2015’s Bully, landing a spot on the 2016 Laneway tour and establishing a large international following. Following Bully, Pegram was replaced by guitarist Mike Deslandes, while Lauren Hammel joined as the band’s new drummer (Utomo and bass player Matt Weston are the band’s two remaining original members.)

The band’s next album, Purge, arrived in mid-2018 and it was their heaviest to date. Utomo’s lyrics focus on the anti-communist purge in her home country of Indonesia, which occurred in 1965-66 and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of members of the communist party at the hands of the military and Muslim groups under the orders of General Suharto.

In the podcast, Karina speaks about the impacts of the coronavirus restrictions on the arts in Australia – both positive and negative – and the personal nature of the themes that informed Purge.

Check out the podcast episode below:

I will be back with another episode of Turning Heads next week. You can follow the podcast on SpotifyPodbean and through Apple.

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