High On Fire
Blessed Black Wings
/relapse; 2005/






I’m not the biggest fan of metal.  ‘So what the fuck are you doing reviewing my High On Fire?’ you say.  Well, see, it’s practically just Barbara and I on this here website and she’s in one of her Morr music moods so now I’ve got to review the heavy stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, I dig Isis (not really metal), and I fucking love Jesu (not metal at all) so it’s not like I haven’t been exposed to the stuff.  Mastodon are another decent metal band that comes to mind, their latest effort Leviathan blew me into my closet upon first listen.  So now we have High On Fire.  I’ve always had respect for these guys.  I didn’t enjoy Surrounded By Thieves as much as some other people I know did.  I mean, it was a good record and all, but especially for someone like me, who’s not really into the genre in the first place, we need our metal a little different, something that really separates it from the pack.  If nothing else High On Fire have been consistent, and Blessed Black Wings does not disappoint.  This thing’ll blow your fucking head off.

And guess what—it was produced by Steve Albini.  But isn’t he concerned with aggro-tin-industrial metal?  Hah.  I guess.  But he does an excellent job for the most part here.  My only complaint is that the band does sound a taaad bit tin-y here and the vocals are a little too low in the mix.  Other than that things remain gloriously heavy.  Actually, Blessed Black Wings kind of reminded me of the reasons why I should like metal in the first place.  There’s nothing like hearing the out-of-the-gates opening death run of “Cometh Down Hessian” morph into a chugging, skyscraper collapsing rampage.  When Matt Pike reaches those throat shredding climaxes I feel as if God is yelling at me.  The albums title track is a gauntlet of metal doom, but not really one of the better tracks because the vocal melody (or, non-melody) is a bit annoying.

Hands down though, my favorite track on Blessed Black Wings is “Brother in the Wind” cause you can actually hear Pike’s vocals a bit more and they are pretty scary.  Also the instruments sound a tad heavier here, but that’s possibly due to the fact that it’s one of the albums most melodic songs so the ‘barely staying together’ vibe of the melody really crushes you.  Not to mention it has an Earth melting wicked solo.  If you like the metal, this year you would like to purchase this CD.

- Andrew Iliadis

/december 2005/