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Blessed Black Wings

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Reviews

Average Rating
★★★★½
(51 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • Hmmm, where to start. As the first reviewer of the CD, I just want to say this album SLAYS. I don’t know how they do it, but this band really keeps getting better and better. They seem to build on themselves, evolve, progress, yet still manage to have this unmistakable sound that is High On Fire.
    I’m not the hugest metalhead in anyways whatsoever. My metal collection is pretty poor, but I am a rabid music fan in general, and definte fan of good heavy music.
    High on Fire somehow takes the elements of metal and rock and make the best of them without sounding cliched and old. What initally sparked me on this band was their HUGE groove that their songs have. It’s so hard to just sit there listening without banging your head with this massive groove they have.

    That said, this new album of theirs is a must buy for any fans of metal, and an eyeopener for all rock fans.
    The opening track starts off heavy and fast. A new side of this band. Good song, but for me, it all starts once song # 2 comes in, ‘Face of Oblivion’. Holy @#$@. When I first heard this song, my jaw dropped. Starts off sludgy, then ends up as an epic metal rock song. From there, the whole rest of the album is pretty much instant classic material.
    I believe that 2005 is gonna be a breakthrough yr for this band in the metal world. They deserve every praise they get and I’d love to see this band get the respect they deserve.
    As for the production of this album, it’s perfect. This time they got Steve Albini to record it, and he nails them down perfect. Compared to their last album ‘Surrounded By Thieves’, the sound is clearer, crisper, yet still retains a thick as hell sound that is so deadly. I think that this sound is perfect for this album, just as I think that the muddy and dusty sound on SBT was perfect for that album. You can really hear the intricate guitar work on this album that wouldn’t work as well with SBT production.
    If you are new to this band, I’d say this album is a great intro to this band. Keep in mind though, as one-sided as this band may be (their sole intent is to crush), each album is different from the next, and I can only wonder what their next album will sound like.

    Posted on December 2, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I got to see High on Fire about a month before they even released this and I hadn’t had any prep for what the new material was gonna sound like. They were the loudest and most technical bands I have ever seen perform (not what I expected), and when I saw Joe Preston playing bass I was even more confused. I was excited to see both of my favorite stoner rock musicians on the same stage, but what I heard wasn’t stoner. What I heard off completely transended any genre of metal known to me. Although it was incredibly massive, the groove that is heard on the two earlier cds is missing and it totally removed itself from my stoner metal category (which isn’t a bad thing). Now High on Fire is faster, heavier and more of a threat to the music world than ever. I still think they should have stuck with Billy Anderson for their engineer. I don’t really like the way Steve Albini records drums, but Dez Kensel can pretty much hold his own on any recording.

    Posted on December 2, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Album number three from this excellent stoner/doom/thrash outfit, building on their previous powerhouse outings of 2000’s ‘The Art of Self Defense’ and 2002’s ‘Surrounded by Thieves’ respectively. For the uninitiated, HOF play a noisy mix of Black Sabbath and Clutch, full of incredible riffs and thunderous drumming. Never one to refine their recordings, HOF has an almost punk-like quality to their approach to music if not the sound alone. Formed by ex-Sleep guitarist Matt Pike, HOF is one of those rare bands that nearly everyone of most metal genre can appreciate – no mean feat either. Yet, it’s easy to see why; ‘Blessed Black Wings’ literally destroys, folks. Plain and simply, it’s as heavy as a pregnant elephant wearing steel-toe construction boots. Opting for famed producer Steve Albini this time round (the band used Billy Anderson for both long-plays) the sound of BBW is just massive – opener ‘Devilution’ builds from a tribal call-to-arms thumping courtesy of drummer Des Kensel, with cymbals and snares being literally whacked out of it – does anyone hit the drums harder than this guy? The title track sounds as if it belongs on something from the 70’s, whilst album highlight ‘Anointing of Seer’ is the best track of its like it’s been my pleasure to hear. Guitar solos are riotous, distorted affairs, the bass playing of Joe Preston chugging in the background, giving you the impression that this album was recorded live and in one take. Already selling by the bucket-load (and rightly so too) you are going to hear a lot from High on Fire. Highly recommended.

    Posted on December 2, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Take Motorhead, “Reign in Blood” era Slayer, early Black Sabbath, and Sleep. Imagine all of them having sex, and try to conceive of what their offspring would sound like. High on Fire’s “Blessed Black Wings” is what you should come up with as an answer.

    This is Metal the way it was always meant to be played. Loud, heavy, and pissed off. You will find no modern clich├ęs, stereotypes, or even influences… because these guys know that most of the stuff passing as “Metal” these days is simply false. High on Fire function as a reminder to all who have lost the faith that Metal can still be as good as it was back in its glory days.

    Since their previous album “Surrounded by Thieves”, High on Fire have progressed slightly and they’ve taken a more metal-less stoner approach. They’re heavier, they’re louder, and I’d say they’re just simply better than ever before. They’ve certainly outdone themselves again, but I don’t think they’ve reached their peak quite yet.

    Some noteable tracks are Cometh Down Hessian, Blessed Black Wings, To Cross the Bridge, and Devilution.

    Pick this one up immediately.

    Posted on December 2, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Coming off the back-to-back triumphs of The Art of Self-Defense and Surrounded by Thieves, High on Fire have returned with a landmark of heavy music, one that may end up going down as their definitive work. On Blessed Black Wings, High On Fire remain as ruthlessly heavy and unapologetically gloomy as ever, but their sound has somehow managed to become even bigger and better than before. This power trio (emphasis on the word “power”) plays rampaging, roiling metal at its most primal and visceral, drawing influence from all the right places: Black Sabbath, Motorhead, and of course frontman Matt Pike’s old band Sleep. For this, their third album, High On Fire have teamed with indie uber-producer Steve Albini, and the move has paid off and then some, resulting in a sound that’s finally full enough to do justice to the band’s epic, apocalyptic vision.

    Behind the hell-hound vocals of Matt Pike, the band once again delivers a full-scale aural assault that’s as vast as it is ferocious. Pike’s strangulated guitar solos are pure freakin’ insanity, Des Kensel’s drum fills very neatly replicate the feeling of being hit upside the head, and Joe Preston’s bass riffs are downright atomic. More importantly though, Blessed Black Wings sees a further refinement of High On Fire’s already formidable songwriting abilities. While Pike & Co. most certainly haven’t abandoned the pummeling sonic stomp that characterized their previous two albums, Blessed Black Wings is probably their least monolithic, most fully-developed effort to date. Rampaging tracks like the opening Devilution and Cometh Down Messiah see the band veering closer to thrash-metal territory than ever before, with Pike cranking out distorted speed riffs and sounding eerily similar to Lemmy Kilmister on vocals. The title track segues from an ominous, martial-sounding intro into a few moments of relative quiet, then launches into a groove heavy enough to level a mid-sized city. Similarly, To Cross the Bridge starts with a tense, acoustic-tinged passage before descending into a hellish vortex of tortured shouts and twisted guitar work. Its title notwithstanding, the closing instrumental Sons of Thunder is almost ambient (for these guys anyway), driven mainly by the hypnotic, repetitive thump of the rhythm section.

    With this CD you also get a DVD feauring live renditions of five songs: Devilution, Speedwolf, Cometh Down Hessian, Brother in the Wind, and Nemesis. While the sound quality isn’t that great, it is nice to see these guys replicating the intense fury of their studio sound in a live setting. If (like me) you can’t see them live for whatever reason, this DVD treatment is probably the next best thing. In any case, Blessed Black Wings is the finest thing High On Fire have released so far, and all their albums are classics. And if you like these guys, be sure to pick up Sleep’s Dopesmoker as well.

    Posted on December 2, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now