High on Fire Won a Grammy for “Electric Messiah”

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

high on fire dressed to kill

I don’t imagine this is breaking news at this point. My social media feed crapped its digital pants last night when High on Fire picked up a Grammy award for “Electric Messiah” and the rest of the heavy blogosphere already has its thinkpieces out there. I’m not really interested in adding to that. Pretending the Grammys care about metal or any other heavy music is like pretending metal or any other heavy music cares about the Grammys. It’s just two different worlds. But — and I said as much on the already-noted social medias this morning — if High on Fire make more money playing shows now and that can help Matt Pike with what are no doubt significant medical bills, then sure. Whatever gets High on Fire to keep doing what they do is a win for everybody. The rest is as irrelevant as the better part of the music industry it represents.

But basically here it is for posterity, the PR wire news about High on Fire‘s Grammy. Well earned, certainly:

high on fire grammy

HIGH ON FIRE WINS GRAMMY FOR BEST METAL PERFORMANCE

High On Fire took home the GRAMMY for “Best Metal Performance” last night at the 61st annual Grammy awards ceremony in Los Angeles, the music industry’s only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement.

This was the band’s first nomination and first win. HIGH ON FIRE was nominated for “Electric Messiah,” the title track off their 2018 album of the same name. The band, now as winners, join the ranks of past winners such as Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Metallica and Slayer.

“We never really needed an award for doing what we love,” says frontman Matt Pike. “Twenty-one years later, we finally got this. Thank you to the Academy.” Pike went on to thank producer Kurt Ballou among others. Bassist Jeff Matz sent out a heartfelt shoutout to long-time manager and friend Nick John who passed away last year and who was an instrumental figure in the band’s success.

High On Fire will be performing at 2019 Psycho Las Vegas taking place August 16-18, 2019 in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resort. Tickets are on sale now, click here for more info.

HIGH ON FIRE features Matt Pike (guitar, vocals), Des Kensel (drums) and Jeff Matz (bass).

https://www.facebook.com/highonfire
https://www.instagram.com/highonfireband/
www.highonfire.net
https://twitter.com/eoneheavy
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High on Fire, “Electric Messiah” official lyric video

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High on Fire Cancel Tour Due to Health Issues

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

high on fire

Hey, look. Everybody wants a healthy Matt Pike. We all saw the thing with his toe, and the internet’s response to it, frankly was kind of shitty. “Check out Pike’s fucked up amputated toe! So metal!.” Yeah, okay dude, but the fact is the guy is a human being, not a fucking cartoon character, and obviously health issues should be more than your dipshit clickbait. End of story.

Get well soon, Matt Pike. Hope to see you marauding again in no time. But health first.

Toke and Year of the Cobra were set to open this tour, and accordingly, both bands ordered a butt-load of merch that they’re kind of stuck with now. If you’ve got some cash, both acts are worthy of it. I don’t usually post direct merch links and tell you to buy, but these are exceptional circumstances:

Toke merch: https://tokenc.bandcamp.com/merch

Year of the Cobra merch: https://yearofthecobra.bigcartel.com/

Here’s the announcement from High on Fire‘s label, E1 Music, via the PR wire:

high on fire tour cancel

HIGH ON FIRE CANCELS “ELECTRIC MESSIAH TOUR 2019” DUE TO MEDICAL EMERGENCY

High On Fire will not participate in the 2019 “Electric Messiah Tour.” Fans can refund their tickets through the point of purchase.

Frontman Matt Pike has provided a statement:

“Dear Friends and fans,

To my brothers, my crew, and anyone else this affects. I do apologize for the inconvenience of this cancellation. I feel as though I’m explaining lightning striking twice. I wanted nothing more in the world to play these songs live, nor ever cancel something I say I’m gonna do.”

“I am a warrior for our art, and have endured some painful things to what we do. The timing and repeating nature of this is my nightmare and almost impossible. Nevertheless, to save yet another toe, my big one, I have been grounded by circumstances out of my control. I will have more of a medical report to come but right now I’m at great risk of losing it, and/or a bigger portion of my foot due to Diabetes. Which I have been managing very well.”

“It just shows how this disease can affect our lives. Please forgive me, and if you know anything about me, you know this is not like me. We will be back!”

Affected dates:
High on Fire Jan/Feb. tour:
Jan. 10 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
Jan. 11- Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
Jan. 12 – Richmond, VA – Broadberry
Jan. 13 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
Jan. 15 – Philadelphia, PA – TLA
Jan. 16 – Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw
Jan. 18 – Boston, MA – The Sinclair
Jan. 19 – Montreal, QC – Fairmount
Jan. 20 – Toronto, ON – Opera House
Jan. 22 – Chicago, IL – Metro
Jan. 23 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway
Jan. 25 – Denver, CO – Oriental
Jan. 26 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
Jan. 27 – St. Louis, MO – Delmar Hall
Jan. 29 – Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Bar and Grill
Jan. 30 – Austin, TX-Barracuda
Jan. 31 – Houston, TX – White Oak
Feb. 1 – New Orleans, LA – House Of Blues

HIGH ON FIRE features Matt Pike (guitar, vocals), Des Kensel (drums) and Jeff Matz (bass).

https://www.facebook.com/highonfire
https://www.instagram.com/highonfireband/
www.highonfire.net
https://twitter.com/eoneheavy
https://www.facebook.com/eOneHeavy

High on Fire, Live at Psycho Las Vegas 2018

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The Obelisk Presents: THE TOP 30 ALBUMS OF 2018

Posted in Features on December 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the-top-30-of-2018

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2018 to that, please do.

It just wouldn’t be a year if it wasn’t completely overwhelming, right?

2018 has certainly met that standard and then some. The swath of output, whether it’s a new generation adopting and adapting established methods or out and out reinventing the stylistic wheel and then pushing it uphill on a seemingly endless barrage of tours, has been staggering, and it’s still happening. There’s a little more than a week to go in the year. You think a band isn’t putting something out today? Of course they are. It’s every day. It’s all the time.

But this year wasn’t just about quantity either. I think one of my biggest struggles in writing about albums in 2018 — and with the last Quarterly Review and various premieres and video posts that were basically album reviews in disguise, let’s estimate we’re somewhere past 300 records reviewed one way or another — was in conveying just how killer so much of the stuff coming through was. How many times can you say the word “awesome?” Well, I’m sure we’ll see it a few more times before this list is over, so there you go.

I say something like this every time I do a list, but please keep in mind these are my picks and I’m one person. But I am a person. I know there’s the whole internet-anonymity thing, but I assure you, I’m a human being (more of a cave troll, really) typing these words. I’m all for everyone sharing their own picks in the comments, and all for passionate advocating, but please, let’s keep it civil and respectful. These things can spiral out of control quickly, but let’s remember that we’re all human beings and worth of basic courtesy, even if some of us are dead wrong about a good many things. You should definitely punch nazis, though.

Thanks in advance for reading. Here we go:

[UPDATE: You’ll notice the inclusion of an ’18a.’ I had Stoned Jesus in my notes as number 18 initially and they got dropped as I was adjusting things along the way. I’ve added them back in, but it didn’t seem fair to bump everyone else down after the post had already been published. That was the best I could come up with for a solution. If you’re pissed about one more killer record being added, please feel free to email me and tell me all about it.]

30. The Skull, The Endless Road Turns Dark

The Skull The Endless Road Turns Dark

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Sept. 12.

Chicago’s The Skull had no small task before them in following up their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) — let alone living up to their pedigree — but their second album demonstrated a creative growth that sacrificed nothing of memorability when it came to songs like “Breathing Underwater” and “All that Remains (Is True).” They got down to work and got the job done, which is what a working band does. 2018 was by any measure a fantastic year for doom, and The Skull were a big part of why.

29. Foghound, Awaken to Destroy

foghound awaken to destroy

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Nov. 21.

The Dec. 2017 murder of Rev. Jim Forrester was tragic. No other way to say it. Foghound, who were in the midst of making Awaken to Destroy at the time, put together an album that not only features Forrester‘s last recorded performance, but pays respect to his memory while the wound is still raw and manages to kick ass all the while. It’s a record that can’t ever be divorced from its circumstances — just can’t — and so it can be a heavy listen in more than just its tones, but it’s basically Foghound proving they’re unstoppable. And so they are.

28. Orange Goblin, The Wolf Bites Back

orange goblin the wolf bites back

Released by Spinefarm Records. Reviewed June 13.

Who among us here today is not a sucker for Orange Goblin? Come forward an be judged. I mean, really. Nine records deep, the London sceneforgers are nothing less than an institution, beloved by boozehounds, riffhounds, doomhounds, and really, a wide variety of hounds the world over. Also dudes. With its essential title-track hook and highlight cuts in “Ghosts of the Primitives” and “Burn the Ships” — or, you know, any of them — they added to one of heavy’s most unshakable legacies with an album as furious as it is welcoming to its generations-spanning fanbase.

27. Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe

fu manchu clone of the universe
Released by At the Dojo Records. Reviewed Feb. 15.

There are two kinds of people in this world, and they’re both Fu Manchu fans. Clone of the Universe turned heads with a guest appearance from Rush‘s Alex Lifeson on the 18-minute side-B-consuming “Il Mostro Atomico,” but really to focus on that instead of “Intelligent Worship,” “(I’ve Been) Hexed,” “Don’t Panic,” “Slower than Light,” etc., is only seeing half the point of the album in the first place. The long-running lords of fuzz hit a new stride with 2014’s Gigantoid (review here), and Clone of the Universe was in every way a worthy successor.

26. Witch Mountain, Witch Mountain

Witch-Mountain-Witch-Mountain
Released by Svart Records. Reviewed May 16.

It was an unenviable task before Witch Mountain in replacing vocalist Uta Plotkin, but founding guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nathan Carson found the right voice in Kayla Dixon and solidified the lineup with her and bassist Justin Brown enough to make a declarative statement in Witch Mountain‘s self-titled LP. That’s the story of it. They pulled it off. Met with what was unquestionably a bummer circumstance, they pushed through and moved their sound forward through a new beginning — and not their first one. Watch out when their next record hits.

25. Windhand, Eternal Return

windhand eternal return

Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed Oct. 3.

Richmond, Virginia, doomers Windhand‘s second collaboration with producer Jack Endino produced a marked and purposeful expansion of their sound, encompassing classic grunge influences and a heavy psychedelic swirl that added color their previously-greyscale sonic haze. Resonant in tone and emotionalism, Eternal Return readjusted Windhand‘s trajectory in such a manner that, where one might’ve thought they knew where the band were headed in terms of their progression, they’ve made themselves a less predictable outfit on the whole. For that alone, it’s a triumph. Then you have the songs.

24. Sun Voyager, Seismic Vibes

Sun Voyager Seismic Vibes

Released by King Pizza Records. Reviewed April 18.

I don’t even want to admit how long I was waiting for Sun Voyager‘s first long-player to show up, but when it finally did, the New York trio did not disappoint. Catchy, energetic, fuzzed-out tunes with driving rhythms and a heavy psych flourish, they tapped into shoegaze and desert vibes without losing any sense of themselves in the process, and if the extra wait was so they could be so remarkably coherent in their expression on their full-length, then I wouldn’t want it to have shown up any sooner. An easy pick to stand among 2018’s best debut albums. Now to wait for the next one.

23. Forming the Void, Rift

forming the void rift

Released by Kozmik Artifactz. Reviewed July 27.

It should tell you something that after working quickly to produce three albums, Louisiana’s Forming the Void are still defined by their potential. If I had my druthers, I’d put the recent Ripple signees on tour for the bulk of 2019, across the US and in Europe for festivals and support-slot club shows, really give them an opportunity to hammer out who they are as a band and then hit the studio for LP four. I don’t know if that’ll happen, but they’d only be doing the universe a favor by kicking into that gear. As it stands, their progression is palpable in their material and they stand absolutely ready for whatever the next level might be for them.

22. Spaceslug, Eye the Tide

spaceslug eye the tide

Released by BSFD Records and Oak Island Records. Reviewed June 29.

Aside from the speed at which Spaceslug have turned around offerings — with Eye the Tide following 2017’s Mountains and Reminiscence EP (review here) and Time Travel Dilemma (review here) full-length and their 2016 debut, Lemanis (review here) — the Polish outfit have undertaken significant progression in their sound, moving from pure heavy psychedelic warmth to incorporating elements out of extreme metal as they did on Eye the Tide. Adding to the latest record’s accomplishment is the smoothness with which they brought seemingly opposing sides together, only adding depth to an approach already worthy of oceanic comparison.

21. Conan, Existential Void Guardian

Conan Existential Void Guardian
Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 14.

Conan‘s reign of terror has been unfolding for more than a decade now, and each of their albums has become a kind of step along a path of incremental growth. Consider the melody creeping into the shouts of founding guitarist Jon Davis, or the emergence of bassist Chris Fielding as a vocal presence alongside, the two sharing a frontman role more than ever before while welcoming drummer Johnny King to the fold of destructive tonality and doomly extremism. Existential Void Guardian may end up just being another stomp-print on their way to the next thing, but it affirmed the fact that as much as Conan grow each time out, their central violence continues to hold sway.

20. Pale Divine, Pale Divine

PALE DIVINE S/T
Released by Shadow Kingdom Records. Reviewed Nov. 21.

Look. A new Pale Divine record doesn’t come along every day, so yeah, their self-titled was probably going to be on my list one way or the other, but it definitely helps that not only was it their first outing in six years since 2012’s Painted Windows Black (review here), but it had the songs to live up to a half-decade-plus of anticipation. It marked the first studio appearance from bassist/backing vocalist Ron “Fezz” McGinnis alongside guitarist Greg Diener and drummer Darin McCloskey — now both of Beelzefuzz as well — and made a strong argument for how much Pale Divine deserve more than 20 years on from their initial demo to be considered classic American doom.

19. Mos Generator, Shadowlands

mos generator shadowlands
Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed May 11.

The return and rise to prominence of Washington pure heavy rockers Mos Generator might be the underground’s feelgood story of the decade, but it hasn’t by any means been easily won. In addition to rebuilding the band however many albums ago, guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed has put in innumerable hours on tour and worked to actually develop the group creatively in addition to in terms of stage presence. This is shown throughout some of the classic prog elements making their way onto Shadowlands, and perhaps some of the collection’s moodier aspects are born of the aforementioned road time as well. Hard for that kind of thing not to be a slog after a while, but at least they have killer tunes to play.

18a. Stoned Jesus, Pilgrims

STONED JESUS PILGRIMS

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 5.

The only safe bet about Stoned Jesus‘ fourth long-player, Pilgrims, was that it was going to sound different than the third. That 2015 outing, The Harvest (review here), preceded the band touring to celebrate the fifth anniversary and after-the-fact success of 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), but Pilgrims defied narrative in that instead of incorporating elements from the second record in more of a heavy psych or jam sound, Stoned Jesus instead showcased a tighter, more sureheaded sense of craft than they’ve ever displayed before, and arrived on Napalm Records with a collection of songs that demonstrated the growth and sense of creative will that drives them. While one can take a look at their moniker and think immediately they know what’s coming, Stoned Jesus have made themselves one of the least predictable bands in heavy rock.

18. Backwoods Payback, Future Slum

backwoods payback future slum

Self-released. Reviewed Aug. 15.

“Pirate Smile.” “Lines.” “Whatever.” “It Ain’t Right.” “Threes.” “Cinderella.” “Generals.” “Big Enough.” “Alone.” “Lucky. Mike Cummings, Jessica Baker, Erik Larson. Every player, every song, every minute. If you want to know what heart-on-sleeve sounds like, it fucking sounds like Backwoods Payback. In their line from hardcore punk to grunge to heavy rock, they encompass experiences and emotionalism that are both shown in raw form throughout Future Slum, and build all the while on the chemistry they set out in developing with 2016’s Fire Not Reason (review here), when they welcomed Larson to the lineup on drums and revitalized their mission. Also worth noting, they were the best live band I saw this year. Anywhere.

17. Corrosion of Conformity, No Cross No Crown

corrosion of conformity no cross no crown

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Jan. 3

No question the excitement of C.O.C. putting out their first record with frontman Pepper Keenan involved since 2005’s In the Arms of God was one of this year’s top stories in heavy. And No Cross No Crown tapped directly into the spirit of 1994’s Deliverance (discussed here) and 1996’s Wiseblood (discussed here) in terms of direction, while updating the band’s style with a four-part 2LP in mind. In some ways, it’ll be their next album that really gives listeners a sense of where they’re at and where they might be headed, but as welcome returns go, having Keenan alongside Mike DeanWoody Weatherman and Reed Mullin is in no way to be understated, and neither is the quality of their output together, then and now.

16. Naxatras, III

naxatras iii

Self-released. Reviewed Feb. 14.

It is no simple feat to hypnotize an audience and convey serenity while at the same time holding attention with songcraft, so that the listener isn’t actually so much unconscious as malleable of mood and spirit in such a direction as the band suggests. Greek trio Naxatras have worked quickly to become experts at this, and their third full-length fosters tonal warmth and jammy progressions with an overarching naturalism that finds them so committed to analog recording that one can buy direct transfers of the tape master of III. Some acts take classic-style practices as an aesthetic choice. With Naxatras, it seems to be the stuff of life, yet their sound is only vibrant and human in a way that, at least one hopes, is even more representative of the future than the past.

15. Clutch, Book of Bad Decisions

clutch book of bad decisions

Released by Weathermaker Music. Reviewed Aug. 27.

It was time for Clutch to make a change in producers, and the Maryland overlords of groove seemed to know it. Known as a live band, they went with Vance Powell, who’s known a live band producer. The results on Book of Bad Decisions might not have been so earth-shatteringly different from 2015’s Psychic Warfare (review here), which was the too-soon follow-up to 2013’s Earth Rocker (review here) — both helmed by Machine — but the inimitable four-piece indeed succeeded in capturing the electricity of their stage performance and, as ever, treated fans to a collection of songs bearing Clutch‘s unmistakable hallmarks of quirky lyrics, funky rhythms and heavy roll. They may always be a live band, but Clutch‘s studio work is in no way to be discounted, ever, as this record reaffirmed. Plus, crab cakes.

14. Ancestors, Suspended in Reflections

Ancestors Suspended in Reflections

Released by Pelagic Records. Reviewed Aug. 3.

After 2012’s In Dreams and Time (review here), I wasn’t sure Ancestors were going to put out another record. They kicked around word of one for a while, but it wasn’t until the end of last year that it really seemed to congeal into a possibility. And by then, who the hell knew what they might get up to on a full-length? With Suspended in Reflections, in some says, they picked up where they left off in terms of finding a niche for themselves in progressive and melodic heavy, but I think the time showed in the poise of their execution and the control of the material. Suspended in Reflections can’t help but be six years more mature than its predecessor, and that suits its contemplative feel. In tracks like “Gone,” and “The Warm Glow,” they tempered their expansive sound with an efficiency that can only be had with time.

13. High on Fire, Electric Messiah

high on fire electric messiah

Released by eOne Heavy. Reviewed Sept. 28.

The narrative here was hard to beat. Matt Pike spending an album cycle talking about Lemmy Kilmister and paying homage to his dirt-rock forebear and the gods of old? It doesn’t get much more perfect than that. Electric Messiah was the third collaboration between High on Fire and producer Kurt Ballou behind 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here), and while it seemed after the last record that the formula might be getting stale, the band only sounded more and more lethal throughout the latest offering. Even putting aside their contributions to underground heavy, they’ve become one of the most essential metal bands of their generation. Metal, period. Doesn’t matter what subgenre you’re talking about it. If you’re listening to High on Fire, you know it. Usually because you’ve just been decapitated.

12. Yawning Man, The Revolt Against Tired Noises

yawning man the revolt against tired noises

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed July 2.

You know, if you take the time to separate Yawning Man from their 30-plus-year history and their legacy as one of the foundational acts of what later became desert rock, and you listen to The Revolt Against Tired Noises, you’re still left with basically a dream of an album. Mostly instrumental, as is their wont, they nonetheless had bassist Mario Lalli (also Fatso Jetson) sing this time around on a version of the previously-unreleased “Catamaran,” which Kyuss covered once upon a whenever although Yawning Man had never officially put it to tape. But really, that and all other novelty aside, guitarist Gary Arce, Lalli and drummer Bill Stinson are a chemistry unto themselves. I don’t know if they’ll ever be as huge as they should be, but every bit of acclaim they get, they’ve earned, and if The Revolt Against Tired Noises helps them get it, all the more so.

11. Greenleaf, Hear the Rivers

greenleaf hear the rivers

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Nov. 26.

Swedish heavy rock mavens Greenleaf have become an entirely different band than they once were. No longer a Dozer side-project from guitarist Tommi Holappa with a rotating cast of players, they’re a solidified, road-tested, powerhouse unit, and Hear the Rivers bleeds soul as a result. Holappa, frontman Arvid Hällagård, bassist Hans Fröhlich and drummer Sebastian Olsson sound like they’re absolutely on fire in the album’s tracks, and far from being staid or formulaic as one might expect a sixth long-player to be, Hear the Rivers built on what the band accomplished with 2016’s Rise Above the Meadow (review here) and came across as all the more vital and nearly frenetic in their energy. I won’t say Greenleaf has seen their last lineup change, because one never knows, but the band as they are today is the realization of potential I don’t think even Greenleaf knew was there.

10. Gozu, Equilibrium

gozu equilibrium

Released by Blacklight Media / Metal Blade Records. Reviewed April 4.

Five records deep into a career into its second decade, Gozu haven’t had a miss yet. Admittedly, some of their early work can seem formative considering where they are now, but still. And after the 2016 rager, Revival (review here), to have the band return to the same studio — Wild Arctic in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where strides producer Dean Baltulonis — for the follow-up allows for the four-piece to directly show how their sound has grown more encompassing in the last couple years. And it has. Equilibrium is a rich and varied listen that holds true to Gozu‘s well-established penchant for soulful vibes and crunching, hard-hitting riffs and groove, but while it shares the directness of approach with Revival, it makes moves that a band could only make moving from one record to the next. I expect nothing less their next time out as well, because a decade later, that’s Gozu‘s proven track record.

9. Monster Magnet, Mindfucker

monster magnet mindfucker
Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Feb. 23.

The battle for the best album title of 2018 ended early when New Jersey everything-rockers Monster Magnet announced the release of Mindfucker. And what else to call a Monster Magnet LP at this point? They’ve stopped writing to genre. They’re driven by the creative mania of frontman/founder Dave Wyndorf, and they’ve seen psychedelic expanses and commercial success the likes of which would serve the tenure of four lesser bands. What’s left to do but whatever the hell you want? So that’s what Monster Magnet are doing. It just so happens that while they’re doing it, they’re still basically outclassing the entirety of the former planet earth as songwriters. As Monster Magnet fan in 2018, there was nothing more I could’ve asked than what Mindfucker delivered. And if you’re still trying to get your brain around it however many months later, you’re not alone. I think that’s the idea.

8. Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash

Apostle of Solitude From Gold to Ash

Released by Cruz del Sur Music. Reviewed Feb. 20.

Best doom album of 2018. The combination of craft and passion behind the delivery. The way the dark tones fed into the emotions so clearly on display and sheer presence of it in listening to songs like “Keeping the Lighthouse,” “Ruination by Thy Name” and “My Heart is Leaving Here.” Apostle of Solitude never seem to be the highest profile band out there, but their work seems never to be anything less than outstanding, and I refuse to accept them as anything less than among the most pivotal American acts out there making traditional doom. And not just making it, but making it their own, with a sense of new pursuits and individualism that extends to playing style as well as atmosphere. I know doom isn’t exactly in short supply these days — figuratively or literally — but if you miss out on what Apostle of Solitude are doing with it, you’ll only regret it later. I’ll say it one more time: Best doom album of 2018.

7. Holy Grove, Holy Grove II

holy grove ii
Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 31.

Every now and again, anticipating the crap of an album really pays off, and such was the case with Holy Grove II, the Ripple Music debut from the Portland outfit whose 2016 self-titled (review here) seemed like such a herald of excellence to come while also, you know, being killer. Holy Grove II brought the four-piece of vocalist Andrea Vidal, guitarist Trent Jacobs, bassist Gregg Emley and drummer Eben Travis to entirely new levels of composition and execution. In songs like “Blade Born,” the shorter, sharper “Aurora,” the patiently rolling “Valley of the Mystics,” “Solaris” and closer “Cosmos,” which boasted a not-really-necessary-but-definitely-welcome guest vocal appearance from YOB‘s Mike Scheidt, — and oh wait, that’s all of the tracks — Holy Grove entered a different echelon. Anticipation will likewise be high for Holy Grove III, but it’ll be hard to complain with this record to keep company in the meantime.

6. All Them Witches, ATW

all them witches atw
Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 18.

Over five All Them Witches albums, the Nashville four-piece have gone from a nascent heavy Americana jam band to one of the most distinct acts in the US underground. Their development in sound is chemistry-driven, so it was a risk when the founding trio of bassist/vocalist Charles Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod (who also produced) and drummer Robby Staebler welcomed new keyboardist Jonathan Draper into the lineup to take the place of Allan van Cleave. Amid a more naturalist production than that of 2017’s Sleeping Through the War (review here), the revamped four-piece flourished in terms of songwriting and conveying their stage-born sonic personae. From the gleeful fuckery of opener “Fishbelly 86 Onions” to the memorable moodiness of “Diamond” and the back-end jam “Harvest Feast” en route to the stretched-out end of “Rob’s Dream,” All Them Witches essentially confirmed they could do whatever they wanted and make it work.

5. YOB, Our Raw Heart

yob our raw heart
Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed June 7.

Actually, if you want a sample of YOB‘s raw heart, the place to go is probably 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), but whatever the Eugene, Oregon, shapers of cosmic doom might’ve lacked in titular accuracy on their eighth long-player, they made up for in a new, statesman-like posture. Their approach was mature, hammered out to a professionalism working completely on its own terms, and they never sounded so sure of who they are as a band or as confident of their direction. In extended cuts “Beauty in Falling Leaves” and “Our Raw Heart,” they explored new and progressive textures and melodies, and managed to reaffirm their core aspects while finding room for conveying emotion that came across as nothing but ultimately sincere. They have been and still are one of a kind, and as they continue to move forward, they remain a band that makes one feel lucky to be alive to witness their work. Our Raw Heart was perhaps more refined than it let on, but the heart was there for sure, as always.

4. Brant Bjork, Mankind Woman

brant bjork mankind woman

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Sept. 13.

I’m not going to say I wasn’t a fan of the (relatively) harder-hitting approach Brant Bjork and his Low Desert Punk Band took on 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) and 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here), but Mankind Woman brought in some more of his soul influences, and whether it was the subtly subversive funk of “Chocolatize” and “Brand New Old Times” or the callout “1968” and laid back vibes of the title-track and “Swagger and Sway,” Bjork — working with guitarist Bubba DuPree on songwriting and production — offered a definitive look at what has made his 20-year solo career so special and demonstrates not only his longevity and his legacy, but his will to continue to progress as an artist honing his craft. His discography is well populated by now to be sure, but Mankind Woman represents a turn from the last couple records, and if it’s in any way portentous of things to come, it bodes well. Bjork is right at home nestled into classic-style grooves, and his legacy as one of the principal architects of desert rock is continually reaffirmed.

3. Earthless, Black Heaven

earthless black heaven

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed March 15.

They’ve been great, not just good, for a long time now, and as forerunners of the San Diego heavy scene, they’re godfathers to an up and coming generation of bands taking their influence — let alone acts from the rest of the world — but Black Heaven is a special moment for them because of its departure. No, it wasn’t not the first time guitarist Isaiah Mitchell sang on an Earthless recording, but it did represent a tip of the balance in that direction for the band on a studio full-length, and that resulted in a special moment. Album opener “Gifted by the Wind” was one of the best songs I heard this year, and while “End to End” and the all-thrust “Volt Rush” affirmed that more traditional songwriting was well within the grasp of Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba, they still found space for a sprawling jam or two, keeping their claim on the instrumentalism that’s (largely) fueled their tenure to date. Earthless don’t want for acclaim, but every bit of it is earned, and while their primary impact has always been live, Black Heaven saw them construct a traditional-style LP that still bore the hallmarks of their collective personality. It was the best of all worlds.

2. King Buffalo, Longing to Be the Mountain

king buffalo longing to be the mountain
Self-released/released by Stickman Records. Reviewed Sept. 27.

In the dark early hours of 2018, the Rochester, New York, trio of guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson issued the Repeater EP (review here) as a follow-up to their 2016 debut, Orion (review here), so Longing to Be the Mountain didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, but even with Repeater preceding its arrival, I don’t think anyone necessary expected King Buffalo‘s second album to have such a scope or to be so engrossing with it. In its melody, patience, atmosphere and heft, it was an absolute joy to behold. Its songs were memorable at the same time they were far-reaching, and while Orion was already my pick for the best debut of 2016, Longing to Be the Mountain realized even more potential than that record had hinted toward. It could be intimate or majestic at its whim, and its dynamic set an individual characterization of heavy psychedelia and blues-style sprawl that the band wholly owned. With production by Ben McLeod of All Them Witches behind them, they worked to serve notice of a progression undertaken the results of which are already staggering and still seem to be looking ahead to the next stage, literally and figuratively. One of the principal standards I use in constructing this list every year is what I listen to most. That’s this record.

1. Sleep, The Sciences

sleep the sciences

Released by Third Man Records. Reviewed May 1.

Obviously, right? To some extent, when Sleep surprise-announced on April 19 they’d release their first album in 15 years the next day, and then did, they took ownership of 2018. Even with records still to come at that point from YOB and Sleep guitarist Matt Pike‘s own High on Fire, there was no way that when the end of the year came around, it wasn’t going to be defined by the advent of a new Sleep record. And even if it sucked, it would probably still be Album of the Year, but fortunately, as Pike, bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros (also Om) and drummer Jason Roeder (also Neurosis) took their long-running stage reunion to the studio, they brought material that highlighted the best elements from all players. Pike‘s wild soloing, Cisneros‘ meditative vocals and Roeder‘s intricate but smooth style of roll all came together in older pieces like “Antarcticans Thawed” and “Sonic Titan” and newer highlights “Giza Butler” and “Marijuanaut’s Theme,” and aside from the excitement at their existence, they showed the mastery of form that Sleep had been demonstrating live since 2009 and which they hinted toward in the 2014 single, The Clarity (review here). A new Sleep full-length was something long-discussed, long-rumored and long-considered, but when it finally happened, I think the results vaporized expectation in a way no one could’ve anticipated. There’s a reason Sleep are Sleep. Having The Sciences as a reminder of that brought about the defining moment of 2018.

The Next 20

Indeed, it wouldn’t be much of a Top 30 at all if it didn’t go to 50. Don’t try to make sense of it, just look at the records.

31. Atavismo, Valdeinfierno
32. Grayceon, IV
33. Clamfight, III
34. Seedy Jeezus, Polaris Oblique
35. Megaton Leviathan, Mage
36. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Wasteland
37. Arcadian Child, Superfonica
38. Freedom Hawk, Beast Remains
39. The Machine, Faceshift
40. Messa, Feast for Water
41. Black Rainbows, Pandaemonium
42. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Science Fiction
43. Domkraft, Flood
44. Träden, Träden
45. Mythic Sunship, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music
46. Samavayo, Vatan
47. Foehammer, Second Sight
48. Bongripper, Terminal
49. Mansion, First Death of the Lutheran
50. Sunnata, Outlands
51. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Come and Chutney

Believe me when I tell you, I sweated over this section more than I did the actual top 30. Mansion should be higher. So should Chubby Thunderous, though something in me thought they might like being #50 on a list of 30. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Clamfight, Black Rainbows, Foehammer, Seedy Jeezus, Messa, Domkraft. All of these were fucking awesome. And there are more (we’ll get there). Eventually numbers add up. I won’t say a bad word about any of these. That’s it.

Honorable Mention

This section always winds up expanded as other people point out things I missed and so on, but here’s what I’ve got in the immediate, alphabetically:

  • Alms, Act One
  • Ape Machine, Darker Seas
  • Belzebong, Light the Dankness
  • Black Moon Circle, Psychedelic Spacelord
  • Blackwater Holylight, Blackwater Holylight
  • Bong, Thought and Existence
  • Carpet, About Rooms and Elephants
  • Churchburn, None Shall Live… The Hymns of Misery
  • Deadbird, III: The Forest Within the Tree
  • Dead Meadow, The Nothing They Need
  • Death Alley, Superbia
  • Drug Cult, Drug Cult
  • Dunbarrow, II
  • Electric Citizen, Helltown
  • Eagle Twin, The Thundering Heard: Songs of Hoof and Horn
  • Evoken, Hypnagogia
  • Funeral Horse, Psalms for the Mourning
  • Fuzz Evil, High on You
  • Graven, Heirs of Discord
  • Graveyard, Peace
  • Green Dragon, Green Dragon
  • Green Druid, Ashen Blood
  • Here Lies Man, You Will Know Nothing
  • High Priestess, High Priestess
  • Horehound, Holocene
  • IAH, II
  • JIRM, Surge ex Monumentis
  • Killer Boogie, Acid Cream
  • Lonely Kamel, Death’s Head Hawkmoth
  • MaidaVale, Madness is Too Pure
  • Moab, Trough
  • Mountain Dust, Seven Storms
  • Mouth, Floating
  • Mr. Plow, Maintain Radio Silence
  • T.G. Olson, Earthen Pyramid
  • Onségen Ensemble, Duel
  • Orango, Evergreen
  • Owl, Nights in Distortion
  • Pushy, Hard Wish
  • Rifflord, 7 Cremation Ground/Meditation
  • River Cult, Halcyon Daze
  • Rotor, Sechs
  • Somali Yacht Club, The Sea
  • Sumac, Love in Shadow
  • Sundrifter, Visitations
  • Svvamp, Svvamp II
  • Thou, Magus
  • Thunder Horse, Thunder Horse
  • Weedpecker, III

Special Note

Somehow it didn’t seem appropriate to include these in the list proper because they’re not really underground releases, but there were two more records I especially wanted to highlight for their quality:

  • Alice in Chains, Rainier Fog
  • Judas Priest, Firepower

Best Short Release of the Year

Normally I’d do this as a separate post, but as a result of being robbed earlier this year, I feel like my list is woefully incomplete. If you have any demos, EPs, splits, singles, etc., to add to it, please feel free to do so in the comments below. Still, the top pick was clear:

  • Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard & Slomatics, Totems Split

Rarely do two bands work in such coherent tandem to their mutual benefit. Here are a few other essential short releases for 2018, alphabetically:

  • All Them Witches, Lost and Found
  • Alunah, Amber & Gold
  • Canyon, Mk II
  • Demon Head, The Resistence
  • Destroyer of Light, Hopeless
  • Ecstatic Vision, Under the Influence
  • Godmaker & Somnuri, Split
  • Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul
  • King Buffalo, Repeater
  • Minsk & Zatokrev, Split
  • Sleep, Leagues Beneath
  • Stonus, Lunar Eclipse
  • Sundecay, Gale

Looking Forward

A good many albums have already been announced or hinted at for 2019. I in no way claim this to be a complete roundup of what’s coming, but here’s what I have in my notes so far, in absolutely no order:

Kings Destroy, Lo-Pan, Cities of Mars, Heavy Temple, Mr. Peter Hayden, Curse the Son, High Fighter, Destroyer of Light, Year of the Cobra, Buffalo Fuzz, Zaum, The Sonic Dawn, Alunah, Candlemass, Elepharmers, Grandier, Dorre, Abrahma, Mars Red Sky, Eternal Black, Elephant Tree, Atala, No Man’s Valley, Sun Blood Stories, Crypt Sermon, The Riven, Hibrido, Snail, Red Beard Wall, 11Paranoias, Dead Witches, Monte Luna, Captain Caravan (LP), Swallow the Sun, Oreyeon, Motorpsycho, Vokonis, Hexvessel, Saint Vitus, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Kind, Mastiff, Shadow Witch, Om.

Okay, That’s It

Yeah, no, I’m serious. List is done. Everybody go back to your lives. Your families miss you.

Really though, while this is by no means my last post of 2018, I can’t let it pass without saying thank you so much to everyone for checking out the site this year, or for just digging into this, or for sending me music, or hitting me up on social media, sharing a link, anything. Thank you. Thank you. I could never have imagined when it started out where it would be now. Or that I’d still be doing it. Your support means more to me than I can say, and I thank you so much for being a part of this with me.

So thanks.

If you have something to add to the list, please do so by leaving a comment below, but keep in mind as well the above note requesting civility. Please don’t make me feel stupid because I forgot your favorite record. I forgot a lot of people’s favorite records. I’m one dude. I’m doing my best.

And please keep in mind if you’ve got a list together that the Year-End Poll is open and results will be out Jan. 1.

Everybody have a great and safe 2019.

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High on Fire Announce Jan./Feb. Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

high on fire

Before High on Fire guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike‘s toe became the stuff of heavy metal clickbait — which to my biased estimation is just about the saddest kind of clickbait there is — his band were supposed to tour with Municipal Waste. Didn’t happen, what with the gnarlyfoot and all, so High on Fire have newly posted a run through January and into February that includes dates along the East Coast and in the Midwest. They of course are still supporting this year’s Electric Messiah (review here), which is their fourth studio LP for eOne Music, and they’ve recently been announced for a return slot at Psycho Las Vegas, where Pike is pretty much as high a roller as they come.

You don’t need me to tell you to go see High on Fire. That’s something you already know. If you missed them at Psycho this year, however, their set is streaming in full below. Because that’s how it works now.

Shows are here:

high on fire 2019 tour

HIGH ON FIRE ANNOUNCE ELECTRIC MESSIAH TOUR 2019

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS CONFIRMED

TICKETS ON SALE NOW

http://highonfire.net/

High On Fire have announced the Electric Messiah tour 2019 in continued support of their new LP released earlier this year.

These dates will be the first time the band has played live since the cancellation of their tour with Municipal Waste earlier this year due to the partial amputation of Matt Pike’s toe.

Additionally, High On Fire will be performing at 2019 Psycho Las Vegas taking place August 16-18, 2019 in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resort. Tickets are on sale now, click here for more info.

High on Fire Jan/Feb. tour:
Jan. 10 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
Jan. 11- Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
Jan. 12 – Richmond, VA – Broadberry
Jan. 13 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
Jan. 15 – Philadelphia, PA – TLA
Jan. 16 – Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw
Jan. 18 – Boston, MA – The Sinclair
Jan. 19 – Montreal, QC – Fairmount
Jan. 20 – Toronto, ON – Opera House
Jan. 22 – Chicago, IL – Metro
Jan. 23 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway
Jan. 25 – Denver, CO – Oriental
Jan. 26 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
Jan. 27 – St. Louis, MO – Delmar Hall
Jan. 29 – Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Bar and Grill
Jan. 30 – Austin, TX-Barracuda
Jan. 31 – Houston, TX – White Oak
Feb. 1 – New Orleans, LA – House Of Blues

HIGH ON FIRE features Matt Pike (guitar, vocals), Des Kensel (drums) and Jeff Matz (bass).

https://www.facebook.com/highonfire
https://www.instagram.com/highonfireband/
www.highonfire.net
https://twitter.com/eoneheavy
https://www.facebook.com/eOneHeavy

High on Fire, Live at Psycho Las Vegas 2018

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High on Fire, Electric Messiah: Sanctioned Annihilation

Posted in Reviews on September 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

high on fire electric messiah

Raging furies, unmistakable gallop, deceptively inventive rhythms and Matt Pike‘s gutturalist vocals from with in the tempest — Electric Messiah bears all the hallmarks of latter-day High on Fire and then some. It is the Oakland trio’s eighth full-length, their fourth with E1 Music and their third that finds Pike, bassist Jeff Matz and drummer Des Kensel working with producer Kurt Ballou (Converge, etc.) following 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here). Obviously it’s hard to know at this point whether that relationship between band and producer will continue going forward — hard to think of a reason for it not to unless the three-piece just decided to try someone else at the helm next time — but if one thinks of Electric Messiah as the third installment in a to-date trilogy, then it at very least proves there continues to be life in the collaboration six years after it first got going.

Since High on Fire debuted on E1 in 2010 with Snakes for the Divine (review here) after leaving Relapse Records following 2007’s Jack Endino-produced Death is This Communion (discussed here), the arc of their progression has seen them become more and more of a metal band, trading thickness of tone for a sharper edge to the aggression in Pike‘s riffs and to the presentation of their production. Luminiferous was perhaps the most fervent example of this, though Snakes for the Divine is arguably the cleanest-sounding High on Fire release in terms of the actual recording. Electric Messiah, slightly longer than its two immediate predecessors at 56 minutes and nine tracks, beefs up the tones from Pike‘s guitar and Matz‘s bass and, in combination with the always-vicious impact of Kensel‘s drumming — somehow still an underrated factor in the band 18 years after their debut, The Art of Self-Defense, saw its first release — it makes for some of the chewiest output High on Fire have had in more than a decade going back to Death is This Communion if not 2005’s Blessed Black Wings (discussed here).

That doesn’t mean High on Fire are playing the stoner thrash of their earliest days, but it does mean that to go along with their ripping speed and tight performances, there’s an underlying bombast to songs like opener “Spewn from the Earth,” “The Pallid Mask” and closer “Drowning Dog,” the latter two of which touch on cleaner vocal styles from Pike — who’s long flirted with melody amid his harsher shouts — that adds further dimension to the sound of Electric Messiah on the whole. The well-publicized lead single/title-track, with lyrics written reportedly in homage to Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead, to whom Pike has often been compared, is a full-on scorcher as it inevitably would be, and along with the later “Freebooter” and the aforementioned opener, is among the fastest cuts here, but even these songs showcase a heft of tone on the part of the guitar and bass — frankly, the drums don’t exactly lack weight either — that ties them to the march in longer pieces like nine-minute second track “Steps of the Ziggurat/House of Enlil” and “Sanctioned Annihilation.”

high on fire

Appearing at the end of side B on the first of the two LPs, “Sanctioned Annihilation” is notable on its face for, at 10:29, being the longest song High on Fire have ever written; they only other time they touched the 10-minute mark was “Master of Fists” from The Art of Self-Defense, which was 10:06. They don’t waste the time, and instead offer one of their most dynamic compositions, moving from a quiet but tense beginning into a raucous double-kick assault before shifting into a triplet-gallop that consumes the track’s middle third and perhaps sees Pike taking some influence from YOB‘s Mike Scheidt, who’s made the staccato chugs something of a trademark, though again, it’s an opportunity for Kensel to demonstrate just how special a player he is as he locks step with Matz and Pike on his bass drum and lends a severity that is as much militaristic as it is barbarians-coming-over-the-hill. “Sanctioned Annihilation” moves into further war-drum thud and one of Pike‘s many impressive carbon-burning solos, but remains informed by that rhythmic surge, and as the second LP moves into expanded sonic territory with “The Pallid Mask” and the righteously for-the-converted, HighonFire-being-HighonFire — the band acting as their own aesthetic — “God of the Godless,” the sprawl of “Sanctioned Annihilation” continues to have an effect on the listener.

It is not a minor undertaking at nearly an hour long, and it’s not a minor undertaking in terms of its sound — one could easily get out of breath just trying to keep up with the band even in their slower moments — but each piece on the second LP earns its place, whether its the familiar of “God of the Godless,” which is the kind of track that as one comes back for multiple listens only seems to land harder and harder, or the blistering “Freebooter,” which reinvents Slayer‘s moodier ping-ride-isms en route to an absolute massacre. With both over six minutes, the closing duo of “The Witch and the Christ” and “Drowning Dog” are something of a salvo unto themselves, but the former alternates between nods and headbangs, and the finale, again, “Drowning Dog” almost seems to sneak in its more rock-based approach while still remaining consistent in tone and its noisy affect. It’s not out of place by any means, but put next to a song like “Steps of the Ziggurat/House of Enlil,” which isn’t entirely void of melody either in its layers of guitar or later vocals, it’s moving toward a different end.

Such grit isn’t new for High on Fire, but what makes Electric Messiah stand out as it does is how it blends new and old within the band’s particular sound. High on Fire remain one of the most recognizable acts in metal regardless of subgenre, and Electric Messiah reshapes that sphere as it sees fit to best serve the songs. For all its brashness and axe-swinging triumphs, it’s unquestionably the work of professionals on all fronts — that includes Ballou certainly, and Skinner, who did the cover art — and it finds High on Fire marking their 20th year with a reaffirmation of who they are, were and will be not just by trodding out expected elements, but by using them in fresh-sounding and exciting ways. They’re big enough that there will be opinions on all sides, but established fans will have no trouble getting on board with Electric Messiah‘s bludgeoning revelry.

High on Fire, “Electric Messiah” lyric video

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High on Fire Announce US Tour; “Electric Messiah” Lyric Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

high on fire

Science tells us that if you want to live right, you need to see High on Fire at least once per album cycle, preferably more. Only days removed from the announcement of their new album, Electric Messiah, being released Oct. 5 and posting the first single in the form of the title-track, the trio have returned with a vast swath of tour dates and a lyric video highlighting the Lemmy homage of that same song. This won’t be the last tour High on Fire announce, but it will be the first round of US dates they’ll do following Electric Messiah‘s release, and even apart from the thrashy company they’re keeping, that’s reason enough to show up. As if you needed it.

From the PR wire:

high on fire tour

HIGH ON FIRE ANNOUNCE NEW U.S. TOUR DATES WITH MUNICIPAL WASTE

“ELECTRIC MESSIAH” LYRIC VIDEO RELEASED

ALL NEW LP, ELECTRIC MESSIAH, DUE OCTOBER 5, 2018
PRE ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW

On the heels of announcing their first new LP in three years, Electric Messiah, HIGH ON FIRE has posted new headlining dates throughout the U.S. and Europe this fall.

The new tour dates will be co-headlined by MUNICIPAL WASTE with Toxic Holocaust and Haunt in support. The three-week trek will kick off in Dallas, TX at Canton Hill on 11/2/18, hitting both coasts before wrapping up in San Diego, CA on 11/25/18. Tickets are now on sale.

“Man it’s gonna get crazy every night!,” says drummer Des Kensel. “Legends will be made on this tour! For after party info contact Dave Witte @ (804) 555-1212.”

High On Fire has announced extensive touring to support the recently announced all-new LP. After a batch of European festival dates, the band will head back to the U.S. to perform at Psycho Las Vegas, The Muddy Roots Music Festival, and the highly anticipated Adult Swim Festival. The band will then head back to Europe for a co-headline run with Enslaved before kicking off the Municipal Waste dates mentioned above.

Just yesterday HIGH ON FIRE released a new single titled “Electric Messiah.” The new song serves as the title track off the band’s all-new LP, which will be released on October 5, 2018, via Entertainment One (eOne). A lyric video for the track is available today.

High on Fire live:
10/08 – BE Belgium, Ieperfest
11/08 – DE Sinzendorf, Void Fest
12/08 – HU Budapest, Durer Kert

8/17/2018 – Las Vegas, NV – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Psycho Fest)
9/1/2018 – Cookeville, TN – Muddy Roots Music Festival
9/2/2018 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel

w/ Enslaved
30/09 – U Bazyla Poznan PL
01/10 – Proxima Warsaw PL
02/10 – UT Connewitz Leipzig DE
03/10 – Kulturfabrik Esch LU
04/10 – Mezz Jupiler Zaal Breda NL

10/5/18 – Los Angeles, CA – Adult Swim Festival

08/10 – Academy 2 Manchester UK
09/10 – Tivoli Dublin EIRE
10/10 – Limelight 2 Belfast UK
12/10 – The Mill Birmingham UK
14/10 – SWX Bristol UK
15/10 – The Dome London UK
16/10 – La Machine Du Moulin Rouge Paris FR

w/ Municipal Waste
2-Nov-18 – Dallas @ Canton Hall
3-Nov-18 – Austin @ Mohawk
4-Nov-18 – New Orleans @ Southport Hall
6-Nov-18 – Tampa @ Orpheum Theatre
7-Nov-18 – Atlanta @ The Masquerade
9-Nov-18 – Washington @ Black Cat
11-Nov-18 – Brooklyn @ Warsaw
12-Nov-18 – Philadelphia @ Union Transfer
13-Nov-18 – Boston @ Paradise Rock Club
15-Nov-18 – Chicago @ Metro
17-Nov-18 – Denver @ The Oriental Theater
18-Nov-18 – Salt Lake City @ Metro Music Hall
20-Nov-18 – Portland @ Bossanova Ballroom
21-Nov-18 – Seattle @ Showbox at the Market
23-Nov-18 – Sacramento @ Ace Of Spades
24-Nov-18 – Berkeley @ The UC Theatre

HIGH ON FIRE features Matt Pike (guitar, vocals), Des Kensel (drums) and Jeff Matz (bass).

https://www.facebook.com/highonfire
https://www.instagram.com/highonfireband/
www.highonfire.net
https://twitter.com/eoneheavy
https://www.facebook.com/eOneHeavy

High on Fire, “Electric Messiah” lyric video

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High on Fire to Release New Album Electric Messiah on Oct. 5; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

high on fire

October just got ridiculous with the word that heavy thrash titans High on Fire will release their awaited new album, Electric Messiah, on Oct. 5 through Entertainment One. They’re streaming the title-track now and you can hear it at the bottom of this post. The trio’s latest outing will be their third in a row tracked by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, and it follows behind the raging 2015 LP Luminiferous (review here) and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here), which I think it’s fair enough to argue are the hardest-hitting records of the band’s career thus far. Luminiferous showed a little more dynamic in letting up from the gas a bit as it played through, so I’m interested to hear how guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike, bassist Jeff Matz and drummer Des Kensel proceed along the line of melodic flourish they brought to bear last time out, let alone the punishment that surrounded.

Art and title-track audio follow here, as sent freshly along the PR wire:

high on fire electric messiah

HIGH ON FIRE ANNOUNCE NEW LP, ELECTRIC MESSIAH, DUE OCTOBER 5, 2018

PRE ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW

HIGH ON FIRE releases a new single today titled “Electric Messiah.” The new song serves as the title track off the band’s all-new LP, which will be released on October 5, 2018 via Entertainment One (eOne).

“I had a dream about Lemmy,” says Matt Pike, explaining the inspiration behind the title of High on Fire’s triumphant new “Electric Messiah.” “When Lemmy was still alive I always got compared to Lemmy,” the gravelly-voiced guitarist elaborates, “so I had this dream where he got pissed at me.”

“He gave me a bunch of shit, basically, and was hazing me. Not that he didn’t approve of me, but like I was being hazed. The song is me telling the world that I could never fill Lemmy’s shoes because Lemmy’s Lemmy. I wanted to pay homage to him in a great way. And it turned out to be such a good title that the guys said we should call the album ‘Electric Messiah.'”

Electric Messiah will serve as the follow-up to Luminiferous released in 2015, which went on to be one of the band’s most critically acclaimed albums.

Electric Messiah reunites the band once again with producer Kurt Ballou (Converge, Torche, Kvelertak) for the third time. “Kurt just has a knack for us, man,” Matt Pike says. “We all work really well with him. Even if we have differences about how we want to record something, he works with us and understands what we do. We’ve been sticking with him because we haven’t made a bad record with him yet.”

It feels absurd to think that this late into their career High on Fire has hit a new career peak, but that’s what happens when you have a trio that works this well together. For all of Ballou’s sonic wizardry, Electric Messiah is all about the evolution of Pike, Matz, and Kensel. They simply cannot be denied a permanent spot among American royalty.

“This band keeps evolving,” Pike enthuses. “This is by far the best record I’ve ever made with the High on Fire stamp. It just keeps getting better and better. We just try to outdo ourselves. I’m not saying the old work is progressively worse, it’s just that we get better every time instead of burning out, which is a common finality for a lot of bands. This album is fucking excellent, I just love everything on it, I’m not bummed about anything. It’s great when you think that about your record.”

Tracklisting:

1. Spewn from the Earth
2. Steps of the Ziggurat/House of Enlil
3. Electric Messiah
4. Sanctioned Annihilation
5. The Pallid Mask
6. God of the Godless
7. Freebooter
8. The Witch and the Christ
9. Drowning Dog

HIGH ON FIRE features Matt Pike (guitar, vocals), Des Kensel (drums) and Jeff Matz (bass).

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High on Fire, “Electric Messiah”

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