Monday, June 8, 2015

High On Fire : "Luminiferous"

I have never been huge into these guys. they have been too meat and potatoes for me. I caught them back in 2004ish when Planesmistakenforstars opened for them, and was less than impressed. I  have grown to appreciate them more as their musicianship and song have grown over the years.The opener reminds me of "Leave No Cross Unturned" by Darkthrone. Matt Pike seems to be singing more than roars, but this is marginal. The song hammers like a freight train. There is more a sludge groove to the second that is more rock n roll n the same sense Clutch is rock n roll. Thick stoned distortion too up tempo to be doom. On their last album they reminded me of a mix of Motorhead and Venom, here it is more like old Mastodon with out any of the guitar tricks.

The song "the Sunless Years" blunders by with volume and fury, but is otherwise rather dull. There is more thundering overblown rock n roll being pounded out on "Slave the Hive". Some typical yet well played guitar solos crop and I am beginning to think their last album was better, as it had more sonic depth. What you hear is what you get . There are no surprises. A break down here and there, but more meat and potatoes. The rule cool riffs alone don't make a good song hits these guys hard. Though the chug to "the Falconist" works well with the almost Thin Lizzy like swagger of the vocals. At times I begin to wonder if this more streamlined and accessible song with an emphasis placed on the vocals is their stab at following in Mastodon's footsteps. What this band does best is fully realized on "The Dark Side of the Compass". The riff is big and driving, but it works well for the song to form around it. The chorus has grit, but also tangible melody. The drummer pulls all of this together with his best playing to date.

They pulls a surprisingly melodic song out of nowhere with "the Cave" that sounds like Neurosis playing an upbeat version of "Planet Caravan". They dynamics are just right. While some of their older fans might balk at this, there is no denying this is a good song. The album does seem like it is improving as it progresses. The drum come in with sweeping tom rolls on the title track. It drives ahead like newer Slayer and is heavy, but also one dimensional, with a ridiculous solo. They bring the album to an end with the more Sabbath like doom of "the Lethal Chamber", that finds it's way into a more Celtic Frost groove. I like the effects that show up on the vocals from time to time. They loose what is working when the song speeds up, but it's still listenable. I might stick around when I go see Pallbearer open up for them, but I'll give this album a 7.5 these guys are still a band I will only catch when they have openers I actually like, but they have show some improvement when it comes to writing actual songs.

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