Heavier Than Yo Momma
Matt Pike possesses an omniscient understanding of metal. His previous band Sleep was a stoner-metal volcano, oozing with thick crawling smoldering riffs. In 1998 Pike formed High On Fire, with a sound that built on Sleep’s style yet focuses more on the eruption. With their EP and full-length, Pike and company popped on metal’s radar for their rumbling onslaught of sound – infused with stoner elements but with the speed and intensity of thrash. 2005 ushers in Blessed Black Wings, an amazing sophomore album that exceeds all previous efforts.On this offering, Pike recruits the help of producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Neurosis) and bassist Joe Preston, who’s track record with bands like Melvins, Earth, and the Thrones proves that he knows pure unbridled heaviness. The album opens with drummer Des Kensel playing with the force of a thousand galloping horses. When this intro hits a fever pitch, Pike and Preston crank their amps to 11 and drop into “Devilution.” This first song is a perfect example of the band’s ability to capture the classic metal feel of bands like Venom, Slayer and Motorhead without ever sounding derivative. Pike’s unique guitar style runs laps up and down the fret board but without sacrificing the bottom end or sounding overtly technical.
Songs like “Cometh Down Hessian” shake with energy pouring from Pike’s strained vocals and wall of guitar sound, while “To Cross the Bridge” calms down with a quiet clean-picked introduction that builds into a well crafted melody which holds up when the juice is switched on. From the first massive note to the final sonic detonation, Blessed Black Wings is a triumph in heavy music.