High on Fire


Blinded by the Light

dB Rating: 9/10

Release Date: June 23rd, 2015
Label: eOne

According to Matt Pike, Luminiferous is a conceptual piece about the ruling elite and their “relationship to our extraterrestrial connections,” which I think means it’s about lizard people. Funny how so many musicians who are really into conspiracy theories are recovering drug addicts, isn’t it? Still, whatever insanity Pike is bellowing about, he can keep doing so as long as he keeps summoning the thunder like this.

High on Fire are nothing if not consistent, the one exception being some pretty poor choices in producers over the years. It’s hard finding someone who can bottle a force of nature. They finally got it right when they hooked up with Kurt Ballou for 2012’s De Vermis Mysteriis, but, in hindsight, the songs weren’t quite there. Thankfully, the songs are here. The big problem was that they were becoming predictable, but they’ve solved that issue by heading down to Manila Road and bringing the ’80s mutant metal elements to the foreground. It’s pretty unmistakably their volcanic ash raining down around you; it’s just that the route through the lava has more twists and turns. It’s almost progressive, but in a Neanderthal kind of way.

The closing guitar solo in “The Black Plot” dives headfirst into the wormhole and explores other universes, “Carcosa” pulses with earthsblood, and “Slave the Hive” sounds like Slayer played through Sunn amplifiers. It all starts to run together a little by the end, but High on Fire put forward their most valiant effort to stop the star lizards that we’ve seen from them in a while.

— Jeff Treppel
Review originally printed in the July 2015 issue (#129).