I’ve been a huge fan of High On Fire since I first heard “Surrounded by Thieves”… they’re entire catalog is practically it’s own book in the bible of heaviness. With this album they took the sharpened sound of “Blessed Black Wings” and added some special touches to really make this album they’re best to date… Des Kensel is probably, with Dale Crover, my favorite drummer btw and as usual brings the THUNDAH!!!!
The almighty HIGH ON FIRE reemerge from the shadows to conquer the masses with their signature brand of brazen metal. Produced and recorded by Jack Endino (NIRVANA, SOUNDGARDEN), Death Is This Communion is High On Fire’s ultimate sonic masterpiece. Matt Pike’s unmistakable guitar playing and throaty war cry lead the charge, while Des Kensel’s massive drumming takes on a new life and pushes the beast onward more urgently than ever. From the rampaging Rumors of War and Fury Whip, through the hypnotic riffs of Ethereal and the album’s title track, Death Is This Communion is HIGH ON FIRE’s masterwork.
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High on Fire’s consistency in releasing great metal puts them up there with the best of them. They are now doing what Metallica did in the 80s. Releasing great album after great album and this is no exception. This records pounds!
HOF is one of the best metal bands out there today and are true to metal and to themselves. You will not regret buying any of their cd’s.
“Death Is This Communion” is nothing new from High on Fire. It does not forge a new direction, it does not reinvent the wheel, it does not outdo past albums…but it doesn’t need to. I am pleased to say it is Blessed Black Wings Pt. 2 – equally powerful, equalling thundering and gripping. It slays. Simple.
For those unaware of the HoF sound- they fuse the powerful dirges of Sleep and Sabbath, the rampaging onslaughts of Slayer and stunning guitar heroics from Matt Pike, truly one of the best leads in metal today. For “Death Is This Communion” the band brought in some new flavours to the mix, such as bursts of 12 string guitars and some middle-eastern instruments to give a more international feel. This works very well, especially when juxtaposed with crushing metal, such as with one of the album’s highlights “Waste of Tiamat” and the short excerpt “Khanrad’s Wall”.
This is not to say HoF have branched out and beyond their sound. Having such a unique sound in the first place, it would have been difficult, and potentially ruining to attempt a dramatic shift. The classic HoF tones are there in full glory. Opener “Fury Whip” immediately recalls the raging “Devilution”, and the title track’s monolithic doom harkens to the bands origins. “Turk” is the standout track for me as it combines everything great about the band, and sees Pike experimenting with a little bit more melody with his vocals.
For fans of past releases this should not disappoint. Every box is checked for the HoF fan. For those new to the band I would suggest starting with “Blessed Black Wings”, as it is the band’s most accessible, and often most inspired work.
I think most people mis-understand HOF. If youre into complex time changes, overly-progressive song structures, intricate dueling guitar leads, and slick detailed production, this isnt the place to find any of it. Theres no time for any of that, theres a war on, and this is what it sounds like, the sound of battle, bones breaking and blood spilling. Pure, metallic brutality! and all from a 3 piece, no less.
Whiskey soaked war cries ride furious battle-drums; wild, woolly, barbaric guitar playing that cuts like a broad-sword; fevered METAL lyrics relay accounts of epic Holy-wars, seances to invoke ancient evils, human sacrifices to monstrous demons, and extinguished races from lost civilizations. dont misunderstand, this isnt D&D geek stuff, there are more than threads of truth running through the songs, but I dont pretend to speak for the band.
I wouldnt call this “Doom”, or “Thrash” but I suppose its somewhere in-between. Lyrically, it definitely references the worlds-end plenty, but musically, its too fast to be Doom, it does resemble Speed/Thrash metal, but its too dirty, too detuned and savage to be called that. Wholly original, the band once described it, though i may be mis-quoting, as “Warrior Metal”. But I hate comparisons and labels because they dont do justice, and High On Fire deserve much respect because their sound/style is completely original, and thats not something most bands can say these days.
In a metal world full of “Black Metal” miscreants, mascara wearing “Emo” goth-posers, copy-cat Death Metal bands, and trendy metal revivalists/recyclists, High On Fire sweep through the entire plain like vengeful, blood-thirsty destroyers to obliterate the imposters and blasphemers. Simply said, they sound like absolutely no one else, and ‘EFFIN’ ROCKK!!!
In HOF tradition, topping each previous release, i would say this is their most advanced work, the only gripe i have is that the guitars arent quite as loud and heavy. Gone is the happy medium they found on Blessed Black Wings, but dont listen to anyone who says theyve sold out, youre still not going to hear this on the radio, or see it on MTV. And the production is still raw and dirty. The difference I hear, is dynamics. There are some cool instrumentals that break up the savagery a little, and also the songwriting is stronger. “Rumors Of War” is probably their most hook-ie song so far, and at the same time, as raw and brutal as anything theyve ever done. “Death Is This Communion” is a slow, doomy tune about the summoning of some creature from the bottom of the sea/hell, ala H.P. Lovecraft. “Fury Whip” sports one of their best riffs ever, and the list goes on. The whole album, beginning to end is top notch.
If you dig High On Fire already, or if youre new to their music (and youre not one of those people who only likes a band because no one has heard of them yet) then youll love this.
You know you can trust me : )