ALBUM REVIEW: High On Fire – Cometh The Storm


Six years (where did that time go?) after their Grammy award-winning album Electric Messiah, comes High On Fire’s latest effort Cometh The Storm (MNRK heavy). Gone is the ferocious, Thrash-like assault of the last album, replacing it is their trademark sludgy, Stoner Metal, but with a broadened palette. Can this record live up to its revered predecessor?

In short, yes. The brutality is still there, but Electric Messiah’s hefty, breakneck speed has taken a backseat and the heavy groove, Coady Willis’ mesmeric drumming and Matt Pike’s Iommi-like riffs are centre stage. The Iommi riffs are key to the nihilistic, Black Sabbath meets Motorhead “Burning Down” – with its deliciously thick guitar and Pike’s snarling, Lemmy-style vocals. All three blast out the speakers on the raucous opening track “Lambsbread,” with a juggernaut melody and an entrancing, middle eastern style breakdown towards the end for added colour.

The aforementioned Middle Eastern flavour comes from bassist Jeff Matz’s learning about Middle Eastern folk and how to play the bağlama, a Turkish lute-like instrument. Both of these are in full flow in the otherworldly, ethereal-sounding instrumental “Karanlik” – which is Turkish for darkness, according to Google. This is a moment of calm amongst the swirling wall of noise, especially as the dark aura, menacing guitar, and captivating drumming of the title track precedes it and the bruising “Sol’s Golden Curse,” with its bone-shaking volume and visceral vocals, follows it.

The blistering pace is still here and thank god it is, as we have with the aggressive speed and frantic melody of “The Beating” to show for it. The muscular “Lightning Beard,” with its constantly chugging rhythm and sprightly solo, is another headbanger to break the speed limit to. The only real downside is the last track “Darker Fleece,” which has a decent groove but it takes its time getting there and is a bit of a slog.

That aside, High on Fire’s ninth album is a great display of their evergreen brand of Stoner Metal, with its gloriously burly guitar sound, thick riffs, gruff vocals, and centrepiece drumming.

Buy it now:
https://highonfire.ffm.to/comeththestorm

 

8 / 10
THOMAS THROWER