ALBUM REVIEW: Cometh The Storm – High On Fire

This post was originally published on this site

Celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, Grammy winning stoner metal legends HIGH ON FIRE need no introduction. One of the most ferocious and potent acts in the global metal scene and led by SLEEP’s Matt Pike, it has been just over half a decade since they released their award-winning album Electric Messiah. Since then, the world has changed dramatically, shifted in ways no one would expect, however the band’s approach to writing uncompromisingly heavy music hasn’t. On their ninth album, Cometh The Storm, the band unleash a bombastic array of sludgy riffs, squealing guitar solos and crushingly heavy barrages of drums that could shake the roots of mountains. 

Cometh The Storm is first and foremost 11 tracks of scorching hellfire and burning brimstone. It feels like it was forged in the fires of Mount Doom itself, such is its evil and imposing sound. There is something more precise and hard-hitting about this album compared to its predecessor. This could be boiled down to the addition of percussionist Coady Willis (MELVINS, BIG BUSINESS and MURDER CITY DEVILS), who has injected a new burst of energy into the band, whilst Pike explores some of the nostalgic sounds of the early HIGH ON FIRE albums but with a fresh modern perspective.

While HIGH ON FIRE’s sound has been modded, morphed, and evolved over the years, Cometh The Storm is predominately a return to their driving riff and sludgy origins. It has an old school vibe and pulls no punches, wasting no time in getting to the meaty riffs that hit you like a prize-fighting punch. Bearing that in mind, in the intervening years before this album’s creation, bassist Jeff Matz travelled abroad to study and learn the techniques of Middle Eastern folk music and the bağlama (or saz) – a traditional plucked string instrument. 

The most overt influence of this musical tourism is on the track Karanlık Yol, but there are moments throughout Cometh The Storm where traditional HIGH ON FIRE sludge meets Middle Eastern folk. The folk influence adds a new layer to HIGH ON FIRE’s sound, proving that after 25 years the band aren’t afraid to experiment and offer up something new alongside their traditional bombardment of riffs.

For the most part though, this is a powerfully finessed metal album. There’s no faffing about; HIGH ON FIRE get straight to the point and deliver riff after riff after riff. From frantic and thrashy to slow and doom-laden, there’s not really any dull moments on this record. Keeping you on your toes at every turn, it does also have that underground metal feel. These are songs more suited to a grimy, spit and sawdust metal bar than a giant arena stage. The intensity is palpable with every passing second. It’s not an album for the weak as this is 11 songs of pure skull-crushing, face-melting heavy metal. 

Opening up the album with a ruthlessly thrashy riff is Lambsbread. The intensity is laid out from the start, and as the song progresses it feels like the earth is shaking with Pike’s brash and bolshy riffs. Followed up by Burning Down, which is a classic Pike riff, the nostalgia for the past is dialled up and incorporated into this modern incarnation of HIGH ON FIRE. Trismegistus follows a similar formula but with a bit more shredding, which side swipes you out of the blue as you get so absorbed in the gut-punching groove. Cometh The Storm is a sludge anthem; slow, heavy and driving, you can feel it opening up cracks in the sky. Middle Eastern interlude track Karanlık Yol gives you a brief break before the first battering and disorientating chords of Sol’s Golden Curse decimate your ear drums. 

The second half of the album opens up with The Beating, which is aptly named of course. It’s a fast, frantic and bludgeoning track that ups the pace and ferocity of the album, and it leads perfectly into Tough Guy which lowers the tempo but makes the riffs feel like super heavyweight punches to your body – safe to say the tough guy lays a beatdown on you in this track. Lightning Beard concludes this monstrously bruising trio of tracks with riffs similar to those of The Beating. Hunting Shadows feels more like a MASTODON track with its catchy vocal melody and constantly moving guitar melodies. Closing with the monolithic sludge track Darker Fleece, the album comes to an end in doom-laden fashion. With walls of sound, it delivers your final blow before leaving you bloodied and bruised. 

Cometh The Storm will undoubtedly appeal to new and die hard fans of HIGH ON FIRE. There’s something in here to satiate all appetites. The band have released yet another strong and dominating album that proves why they’re in the upper echelons of global metal. 

Rating: 9/10

Cometh The Storm - High On Fire

Cometh The Storm is set for release on April 19th via MNRK Heavy. 

Like HIGH ON FIRE on Facebook. 

The post ALBUM REVIEW: Cometh The Storm – High On Fire appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.

You May Also Like