Band: High On Fire
Title: Electric Messiah
Release Date: 5 October 2018
Format reviewed: Digital Stream
Being for 20 years on the stage, High on Fire are well known to the stoner/sludge/doom/southern die hards. Formed only six months after the break up of Sleep by the guitarist Mike Patt, the band already delivered 8 full-length albums, with the persistent consistency of exploring the genre in which they are doing what they do best. A typical feature of their music has always been the speedier and thrashy rhythm and riffs, besides the muddy sound.
Now, three years after the release of “Luminiferous”, and some months after Sleep’s “The Sciences” comes “Electric Messiah” which continues the line which the band follows all these years. However, there is much more to be told.
“Electric Messiah” contains nine tracks, with variety of tempos. What I found is the compositions have become more aggressive, speedier and thrashy than doomy. There are plenty of real thrash there! This can be easily discovered in the typical rapid tracks – the opener “Spewn from the Earth”, the title track “Electric Messiah”(speeeed!), my absolute favourite – “God of Godless”, “Freebooter” (oh my!) and “The Witch and the Christ”. Five out of nine! Same can be told about the overall feeling and some of the patterns of the slower songs like “Sanctioned Annihilation” (so good!) and “Drowning Dog”(with a flashback to Running Wild?). So basically the real sludge goes to “Steps of the Ziggurat/House of Evil” and “The Pallid Mask”.
Having said the above, i must admit I enjoyed a lot the album. Simply because I didn’t expect so much energy flowing from it. Furthermore, the songs are very catchy and easily remembered, which additionally hit me while listening to the “Electric Messiah”. There is very good overall feeling which the whole package offers…if you disregard its weakest point – the sound. The sound which in my opinion has never been the real bright side of the band. Soundwise the present album continues the line mostly of “Luminiferous”, plus we can add the feeling from “Snakes for the Divine”, and even partly “Blessed Black Wings”. The drums sound bad in my opinion, or just not as I like them to sound. The voice goes too muddy on certain parts, although Mike singing is sticky and memorable. “Electric messiah” seems to be somehow overpolished on purpose into the sludgy/southern part, although being more into the…thrash part. The guitars are very delightful though, especially with all the great riffs and guitar patterns used.
“Electric Messiah” definitely a very solid record and it leaves a trace. The Sleep and High on Fire fans will appreciate it. I’m not sure about the stoner die hards. However, I do recommend it to a broader audience with tastes into faster and heavier genres. It could turn (quickly) into a favourite one. Now just push play to “God of Godless”. 7.5/10 Count Vlad
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