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High on Fire - Electric Messiah

High on Fire
Electric Messiah
by Martin Knap at 05 November 2018, 3:27 PM

Metal’s poster boy for body positivity, Matt Pike – have you ever seen the guy perform in a shirt? – and his crew HIGH ON FIRE don’t need much introduction. Suffice it to say that they deliver beefy Sludge with some melodic leanings but also infused with a healthy dose of Thrash Metal aggression since 1998, the year that Pike’s band SLEEP called it quits. Earlier this year Pike released a comeback album with SLEEP, which got accolades from the Metal press and got a fair amount of attention and praise from the general music press as well. Now late in the year HoF is back with another full-length album titled “Electric Messiah”, that is coming out three years after their last release “Luminiferous”. HoF don’t mess around and deliver an almost one hour monster with most songs clocking close to the five minute mark but also two lengthy quasi-Progressive numbers that are over nine or ten minutes long.

The album opens with a pretty standard number “Spewn from the Earth”. It is dirty and high energy, but it feels to bit like a middle-of-the-road Metal – Punk with no standout riffs or hooks. There are a couple of these “MOTORHEAD on steroids” songs on the album, like the title song for example, none of which are bad, but none of which I get too crazy about. I like the Sludgy cuts on the album better with their heavy, sticky riffs and memorable vocal melodies. The second song “Steps of the Ziggurat / House of Enlil” is one of the two songs on the album that surpass the nine minute mark and has some semi-Progressive compositional shifts. It has some really catchy riffs and passionate vocals that we expect to hear in a HoF song, but there are also passages that unfortunately can feel a bit long-winded and compositionally, the song could be more dynamic. The same goes to the other lengthy song “Sanctioned Annihilation” – I love some moments here, but on the whole I’m not completely sold. There are standout songs on the album for sure: “God of the Godless” is an A+ HoF rager with some great riffs and driving rhythms. The closing song, “Drowning Dog,” with its towering chorus and catchy groove, is a barn burner.

This doesn’t blow previous HoF releases out of the water. It has some great moments, some not so great, but it it’s by no means underwhelming. It has a production that gives depth to the songs and Pike is a one of a kind guitar player that always brings something special to a project. Give this a shot, especially if you’re a HoF fan.

Songwriting: 6
Memorability: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8


3 Star Rating

1. Spewn from the Earth
2. Steps of the Ziggurat/House of Enlil
3. Electric Messiah
4. Sanctioned Annihilation
5. The Pallid Mask
6. God of the Godless
7. Freebooter
8. The Witch and the Christ
9. Drowning Dog
Des Kensel – Drums
Matt Pike – Guitars, Vocals
Jeff Matz – Bass, Vocals (backing)
Record Label: Entertainment One Music


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Edited 27 January 2023

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