I’m going to start off by giving you the ending of this review first then going back and explaining the how we get to my next statement.
This is Album of the Year material.
Following up their 2012 face-ripper, De Vermis Mysteriis, High on Fire have once again teamed up with Kurt Ballou of GodCity Studios to release their newest sludge/stoner masterwork titled Luminiferous. The album is available to stream on NPR Music and officially comes out June 23rd.
The album storms out of the gate with rampaging tracks laden with heavy riffs and dense drum work. “The Black Plot”, “Carcosa”, and “The Sunless Years” are all delivered in a rapid, sonic flurry that, to the faint of heart, would induce a sensory overload. The opening three tracks are followed up by “Slave the Hive”, which was first released back in late-2013 as a Scion A/V track. It’s an all-out thrash affair as Matt Pike and his band mates, Jeff Matz (bass) and Des Kensel (drums), utilize gang vocals to change the tone briefly before heading back to the sludge they so perfectly execute in the next handful of tracks.
“The Dark Side of the Compass” could be the catchiest song on the album. The guitar riffs are utterly infectious to the point where they assert subconscious control over your body, forcing you to head bang and play air guitar. “The Cave” explores a doomier and more psychedelic side to High on Fire before picking back up into the title track of the album and album closer, “The Lethal Chamber” which serve as rampant bookends to complete Luminiferous.
As mentioned before, High on Fire never disappoints. With every new release, they seem to surpass already lofty expectations by miles. Upon initial listens, Luminiferous may very well be their pièce de résistance in my opinion and will surely be a contender for the best album to come out this year. High on Fire is heading out on the road with Pallbearer, Lucifer, and Venomous Maximus for what will sure to be a must-see show.