High On Fire – Luminiferous

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The prophets ov batshit crazy have warned us of the coming of a reptilian race. But are they hostile just because they resemble lizards? And how in the hell are we supposed to be the good guys?

If there is one word that defines this album it is violence. Luminiferous is a much more violent and thundering album than any of HoF‘s preceding efforts. As time has passed and play count increased, the feeling has only grown stronger. At times the band rages like Motörhead-on-speed, which is no small feat, and at times it revels like a crazed bear getting its face eaten by a frenzied cuttlefish.

Yet even together these aren’t the whole truth about the diversity of this album. Yes, Des Kensel is emulating Furiosa: Fury Road on drums and Jeff Matz rumbles, never letting go of the riffs. But there are calmer moments, moments of near-serenity on this battlefield. Like the counting of the dead and seeing the faces of your brothers among them, these are really the album’s heaviest moments. “The Falconist” offers passages of semi-clean singing from Messieur Pike and instantly rises above the crowd. Similarly, the late album masterpiece “The Cave” tells tales of Matt Pike’s struggle with alcohol to more somber music. Emotionally, it might just be the band’s single heaviest moment to date.

Pike may be many things, but never short of riffs. Of this, Luminiferous offers strong proof. No matter where you lay your gaze, vast amounts heavy riff-monoliths (riffoliths?) lay. From the violence-supreme of “The Black Plot” to the aforementioned “The Cave’s” slower trudge, reminiscent of Pike’s past endeavors in other outfits, this album’s riffwork slays.

Kurt Ballou’s production once again provides the icing on the cake. The drums remain powerful and very clear throughout without ever overtaking the soundscape leaving the crunch-and-guts filled bass audible at all times. Luminiferous has a violent approach to songwriting but the riffs have a stoner-like feel, which is something that the band hasn’t to this extent employed in some time; I have a feeling this is in no small part due to Ballou’s production.

But like all albums must be, this too is flawed. The songs, aforementioned somber highlights excluded, blur together. In a way Luminiferous may be HoF’s most consistent album, but here it stands for similar riffwork meeting similar structures on an overtly familiar template. Normally I am not one to complain about a band making similar albums or about length, but putting these together, Luminiferous feels even longer than it is, bordering on extensive. In all, Luminiferous is still a strong album, even from a band that has produced no disappointments, and easily takes its place among the top-half of HoF’s work.

 

Luminiferous is out now on eOne Music. Image via

  • Void Dweller

    The last album I own by them is Blessed Black Wings. Don’t see how they could ever top To Cross the Bridge.

    • Tyree

      High On Fire has never been a band that I have followed. I think that last full album I heard by them was Black Wings. I should probably catch up.

      • Scrimm

        In all honestly I just hit play on one of their songs for the first time ever.

        • Tyree

          I know the riffs are there, I just never really gave em much of a chance.

          • Scrimm

            Yeah I have friends that worship them too, but I never did either. I guess I just know myself and that whole style almost never appeals to me.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Always loved HoF, they’ve got stoner-y riffs, thrash-y riffs, pummeling riffs, chrushing riffs, you name it.

          • shirtless riffs for days!

        • Same here and was prepared not to like it but if the other songs are along the lines of “Carcosa” I may have to reconsider my stance.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            I think these two songs here provide pretty accurate insight into the album.

          • I will investigate further. This was a solid review Bear Deity!

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Danke Schön.

          • KJM

            You cannot name a song “Carcosa” unless it kicks serious ass. I think there’s a law.

          • I will take this comment under advisement as I’ve never that word before.

          • KJM

            Robert W Chambers? True Detective season 1?

          • Heard of the show but I basically avoid TV like the plague so that explains that.

          • KJM

            It comes from a classic horror novel by Robert W Chambers called ‘The King In Yellow’.

          • Scrimm

            Lovecraft.

          • The W.

            As Link said below, Death Is This Communion is essential listening.

          • I’ll give it a spin when I’ve got some downtime. Too much fell in my lap this past week so I need to jam all that.

      • The W.

        This surprises me. Many of their releases are very bullet belt worthy. I’ve been a fan since I saw them live back in 08.

        • 08…… would that happen to be an Opeth show?

          • The W.

            Nope. They were headlining. My buddy actually jacked the tour poster for me from the wall of the Student Union. To be fair, it was right when the show was starting or after the show.

        • I think it’s more of shirtless, sweat and stink of rum and gasoline type 😛

  • Tyree

    New Balmog album is finally streaming in full.

    https://blackseedprod.bandcamp.com/album/svmma-fide

  • I’m a neophyte in High on Fire, but due my submarine correspondence with my friend Dagon, I checked Death is this Communion and I liked that album.

    I spinned once Luminiferous and I think your review is very spot-on. Very cool riffs with a good production value. A little bit too long to my taste, but it’s pretty good because it can go fast or slow; even repeating notes as a method to punch the listener.

    Great writing here. Good music. Recommended.

  • Kevin Nash & Friends

    I’m back! Just gone home from doing yardwork and I’m going to listen to this ASAP.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Rob Delaney’s signature band.

  • KJM

    Surrounded By Thieves/Blessed Black Wings is an awesome 1-2 punch.

  • KJM

    HoF coming to Boston in August baybay!!! WHOOOO!

  • Trees ‘n Shit is Kvlt O)))

    First video is Koch blocked.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      What’s a Koch, love?

      • Trees ‘n Shit is Kvlt O)))

        Koch Entertainment.

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          Damn those jews!!
          /jk
          It’s impossible to say works in every place – but it never ceases to bum me out when something doesn’t

  • The W.

    The Black Plot got me like this.

    http://i.imgur.com/XneYJVt.gif

    • Wait for The Cave.

      • The W.

        I’ve heard the whole album, Lonk.

        • Damn! I’m starting to have the bad habits of my cousin from Pensilvanya.

          • The W.

            Leif and I both exploited the Amazon loophole to purchase the vinyls on the cheap.

          • explain plz!

          • The W.

            The vinyl, at this moment, costs $30 on Amazon. For a brief window of time, you could pre-order it for $10. I posted about it on Facebook.

  • JW(E)G

    I was just unwrapping the copy I bought a few days ago when this went up. I meant to listen to it right away but I got sidetracked by Shooting Guns.

    No, not me shooting guns. The band: Shooting Guns. Current fave: https://shootingguns.bandcamp.com/album/brotherhood-of-the-ram

  • Tyree
  • RustyShackleford

    Digging this album a lot. The last one, De Vermis Mysteriis was really different, but still good. STILL, this album is just classic High on Fire jams. Goes great with beer. Yep.

    • old_man_doom

      I feel like De Vermis Mysteriis brought the riffs, but this one brings the songs. Also goes great with being a pissed-off warlord who crushes posers.

  • Tyree
    • DOYOURLYBEARD, THO?

      Science

    • Scrimm

      Dude there was an old guy that taught at my mechanics school that had a giant clown hand like that. Crazy looking.

    • Trees ‘n Shit is Kvlt O)))

      Hot paraffin wax and an ice cold hand?

      • Lacertilian

        Quite possibly

  • Maik Beninton™
  • Guacamole Jim

    OH MAN this is good! Let the headbanging commence.

  • Malted Hate

    Anyone digging this?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZJCXBN_gjk

    Ps: haven’t listened to Luminiferous yet, haven’t been in the mood for HoF lately, but will probably listen to it, eventually…

    • Tyree

      YES! Awesome album. Kinda slow at parts, but the chills are there.

      • Malted Hate

        I’d love to find more dark ambient stuff (a genre I know absolutely nothing about) with some chanting.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      I dug this! First I was a little disappointed but it has grown on me.

    • yup. you should play with us more often!

      • Malted Hate

        Mommy won’t let me :((

      • DOYOURLYBEARD, THO?

        Mcnulty, i donno how long you’ve been doing this But you don’t even beard

        • Oh no, you are all sorts of correct. I have to live vicariously through you, and not the Tapir because his isn’t as strong.

          • DOYOURLYBEARD, THO?

            Weak, rather

  • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

    Master Pike does it again. Bow before the riff-lord and his minion-nipple, lest thy faces be smelt by his steel before suffering unspeakable, horrific tortures at the hands of our invincible Reptilian army!!

  • old_man_doom

    I really love Pike’s vocals on this one. He’s definitely channeling Wino on some of those tunes, especially on “The Cave.” Also, a lot of the riffs leave room for Matz to explore the fretboard, which makes for some really interesting and awesome bass lines. The 3-piece format really allows each of these guys to kick out the motherfucking jams.

    And as for the conspiracy theory themes in the songs, it doesn’t matter if you agree with them or shake your head at them—or even if they piss you off—the fact remains that it makes for some pretty interesting lyrical content. I would even argue that Pike has a level of self-awareness about the conspiracy craziness, especially on “The Sunless Years” when juxtaposing black holes and chem-trails to taking acid.

  • DOYOURLYBEARD, THO?

    Did I just get a message on that youtube video that the rights to it were owned by Koch Entertainment and it was blocked in my country (the US)?

    Seriously?

    • I wonder what Finland is like on mushrums…

      • Lacertilian

        Let’s find out

        • Lacertilian

          Or just ask @nordlingritesovkarhu:disqus

        • No let’s do. I’ll scoop you up and we’ll track down both Funns.

          • Lacertilian

            I’m quite tall but nonetheless amenable to a scooping

          • We could talk about height ALL DAMN DAY on shrums.

          • DOYOURLYBEARD, THO?

            I’m a manlet at 5’11”

          • Be proud, young Christian female. That is absolute average. So long as your hands are bigger than Papa Joe’s

          • DOYOURLYBEARD, THO?

            My hands look like the hands of the rockbiters

          • KJM

            Seriously tho, my number one disadvantage to learning guitar are my Warwick Davis/Verne Troyer hands. When I mock Joe, I’m really just mocking myself. Don’t tell anybody plz.

            oh wait…shit

          • KJM

            I’m only 5’6″. Tyrion Lannister makes short jokes about me.

          • Lacertilian
          • And afterwards test out Tapirs sauna.

          • Lacertilian

            Bags not sitting in the corner where he dumps his Tapoop

          • I Am A Lobster

            My yard is guarded by two vicious beasts. Good luck.

          • Can I go?

          • I Am A Lobster

            I am sorry, but this facility holds important lobster secrets. None shall enter but me.

  • Kevin Nash & Friends

    Question: So my cousin’s band is opening for Sister Sin and Shattered Sun. Should I go?

    • Lacertilian

      I refuse to answer because you’ll probably be going to see Neil Young or some shit instead anyway.
      #KingParrotNeverForget

      • Kevin Nash & Friends

        The Neil Young show is the day after this.

        • KJM

          Is it solo acoustic or with a band?

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            He’s with this band called Promise Of The Real. The band has Willie Nelson’s son.

          • KJM

            I just looked this up. The gig they did in April is like 90% new stuff.

    • Condom Full Of Croutons

      Eh, why not? Just make sure to get on the guest list.

  • David Vincent’s Spandex Shirt

    This album is amazeballs. That is all.

  • KJM
  • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

    The cave is no joke! Kick ass album/review!