High On Fire - Blessed Black Wings (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

High On Fire

Blessed Black Wings (2005)


High On Fire are heavy; very, very heavy. Call it whatever you want: stoner metal, black metal, grindcore...regardless, it will fuck the teeth out of your skull. The brutal threesome's latest effort, Blessed Black Wings (produced by the great Steve Albini), is a real assault on the senses, and also a bit more varied than their previous works. Where their past albums have chosen to stick with (more or less) one style throughout the whole album, this album adds in hints of classic hardcore, thrash and punk along with the usual, amazing "Sabbath-esque" heavy metal riff. It's utterly brutal and an amazing experiance from start to finish, already a contender for my favorite "heavy" album of the year.

Vocalist and guitarist Matt Pike is a real monster; he manages to serve up some of the heaviest riffs and some of the most intense vocals in modern music simultaneously. As with their previous releases, the almost poetic lyrics tell fantasy/hellish tales. I'm not entirely sure if there is a political message or not, but regardless, it's powerful stuff.

"Devilution" kicks the album off with an explosive thrash metal/hardcore anthem; comparisons can be made to Discharge at their heaviest. The song "Silverback" follows a similar path. "Annointing Of The Seer" is a killer punk/metal hybrid, and "Brother In The Wind" is the most metallic of the bunch, resembling Sabbath at their heaviest. The album closes with an epic instrumental "Sons Of Thunder."

This is some amazing stuff, and if you dig any of these kinds of music you should pick it up immediately. This kind of music has much more relation to classic hardcore punk than you'd think.