Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Cometh The Storm… High On Fire Return With A Blast

After five long years since 2018’s Electric Messiah, GRAMMY-award winners and all-round heavy metal titans, High On Fire return with Cometh The Storm and in doing so, they welcome to the fold new drummer Coady Willis of Big Business, Melvins and Murder City Devils.

Willis joins the familiar duo of iconic Matt Pike and bass guru Jeff Matz on the band’s ninth studio album, recorded at God City in Salem Massachusetts with producer Kurt Ballou. The album is spearheaded by the track ‘Burning Down’, described as “A vigorous barrage which exemplifies the prowess [and] the unification of the three professional musicians.” The track is quintessential HOF, with a crunchy bass line wrapped in a fuzzy, groove-inducing guitar riff with thunderous war drums and Pike’s gravel-laden vocals that make it nearly impossible not to headbang along. (The track is so infectious, I had to return to it two or three times during my first spin of the record)

The title track ‘Cometh The Storm’ lets off the pace a little but retains the heaviness and maybe even doubles down on it, for a doom metal power anthem that can shake foundations and is worthy of the record baring its name front and centre.

The press release for the album explains how Bassist Jeff Matz joined Mutoid Man and travelled abroad to study Middle Eastern folk music and plucked string instrument, the bağlama, AKA the Saz. This shows through on the album in places, especially on the instrumental ‘Karanlık Yol’ with its unapologetically prominent Eastern feel from start to finish and use of traditional instruments, while completely different, it in no way feels out of place, the music composition is still spacey and complex that it fits right in on a HOF record.

It’s business as usual on ‘ Sol’s Golden Curse’ and ‘The Beating’ nothing serving as a masterclass in Matt Pike’s magnificent riff-writing ability. Other stand-out tracks are ‘Tough Guy’ which has enough chug to pull a truck up a mountain side and ‘Lighting Beard’ with its relentless riff attack that transitions into a finger-blistering solo.

It feels good to have new music from High On Fire, a band that, in my opinion at least, constantly puts out records of the highest quality and continues to evolve their brand and perfect their unique sound and I believe no amount of time between albums could damage their craft and creativity. That being said, I’ll close this review out with producer Kurt Ballou’s own words, as I think they sum up the record better than I can… “It’s interesting, whenever there’s a lineup change in a band. It can take a little while to rebuild. But it’s also an opportunity to reinvigorate the band and I think that’s what’s happened here.”

Cometh The Storm is available April 19th via MNRK Heavy.

Jay Taylor-Brown
Jay Taylor-Brown
Assistant Editor of RAMzine - Raised on Motown and Rock, now with a deep love for all things metal and heavy rock. Veteran gig goer, favorite bands include Slayer, Mastodon, Dopelord & Power Trip among many others. Explorer of subgenres, collector of whiskey.

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After five long years since 2018's Electric Messiah, GRAMMY-award winners and all-round heavy metal titans, High On Fire return with Cometh The Storm and in doing so, they welcome to the fold new drummer Coady Willis of Big Business, Melvins and Murder City Devils. Willis joins...Cometh The Storm... High On Fire Return With A Blast