Album Review: High on Fire – Cometh The Storm

Album Review: High on Fire - Cometh The Storm
Reviewed by Richard Oliver

It’s a storm that has been brewing away for six years but High On Fire are ready to unleash their heavy metal thunder with their ninth album “Cometh The Storm”. Since their last album “Electric Messiah” in 2018, the band have won a Grammy, gained a new drummer in Coady Willis (Big Business, Melvins), bassist Jeff Matz joined Mutoid Man and travelled abroad to study and learn the techniques of Middle Eastern folk music and the plucked string instrument - the bağlama whilst frontman and guitarist Matt Pike released a solo album whilst also touring with Sleep so the band have been far from idle but now the storm clouds and gathered and a new album is here and very anticipated by the metal masses.

“Cometh The Storm” is very much High On Fire doing what they do best which is doom-laden heavy metal with elements of sludge metal, stoner metal and thrash metal all merged together in this relentless powerhouse kick to the face. Songs such as ‘Burning Down’, ‘Tough Guy’ and the title track are quintessential High On Fire with dense riffing, bludgeoning bass, powerhouse drumming and the ferocious vocals of Matt. We also get some songs where the pace and aggression are kicked up a notch such as ‘The Beating’ and ‘Lightning Beard’ which show that when High On Fire mean business they can stand tall amongst the most aggressive sounding metal bands.

Album Review: High on Fire - Cometh The Storm

There are some different sounds incorporated into the album with the inspirations from bassist Jeff Matz’s Middle Eastern folk music studies finding their way into album opener ‘Lambsbread’ and providing a break from the metal attack during instrumental ‘Karanlik Yol’. The end of the album provides some memorable material with “Hunting Shadows” being one of the most melodic and dare I say it catchy songs by the band sounding reminiscent of Mastodon and Baroness whilst album closer “Darker Fleece” is a crushing 10 minute doomy and sludgy monolith and one of the heaviest songs the band has done.

Maybe it’s due to the break allowing members to go off and do other things, the inclusion of new drummer Coady Willis or working with producer extraordinaire Kurt Ballou but “Cometh The Storm” really sounds like High On Fire invigorated and ready to destroy. This is the strongest album they have done in years and their best since “De Vermis Mysteriis” in 2012. Despite the greater attention and new fans that the Grammy win has afforded the band, “Cometh The Storm” shows that the band have no plans to change or soften their sound and apart from some minor experimentations this is still the same High On Fire but the fire has definitely been ignited under the band and the results are stunning. This is an album that will have cross appeal for fans of various subgenres of metal from the sludge and stoner fans to the thrash fans to fans of straight up heavy fucking metal.

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