Thrash is often seen as the untidy cousin of the metal genre, allowed to be rough around the edges and focused on more pure sound to create an experience. Being around since 1998, High On Fire have an extensive amount of experience and still retain two original members, Matt Pike and Des Kensel.
Twenty years down the line, they step in with their eighth record, ‘Electric Messiah’.
Opener ‘Spewn From The Earth’ launches straight from the first note with darkened thrash and interchanges between high speed momentum to open guitars and interleaved solos. The vocals echo as a statement of intent with a mixture of low a scream and a riotous shout uttered as though being read from a passage in a book.
Following number ‘Steps Of The Ziggeraut/House Of Enlil’ opens to a pounding chant of drums and vocals while the guitars take a back seat in setting the building rhythm throughout. As the song continues, each instrument builds into a gradually increasing intensity that eventually culminates back into the introduction section.
‘God Of The Godless’ stands out more as a conventional track, relying less on long dramatic build-ups and starts off with an aggressive tone that then accelerates to a speed metal rhythm. The vocals also sit in with the pace of the song, and fluctuate as they do to keeping a constant stability rather than trying to be over complex and paradoxic.
Closing the record off, ‘Drowning Dog’ then finishes with a culmination of the two halves as it starts off a more gradual building up and then launches into an energetic rhythm.
The album has the feeling of being two parts of a whole with a series progressive with chants and rhythmic drums then leading into our right aggression and thrash elements.
While the start of ‘Electric Messiah’ feels slightly long and stale after a few tracks, it’s soon hastened and improved by the final half which delivers an effective punch of impact and momentum to deliver a more exciting experience.