Following the original dissolution of stoner band Sleep in the mid-90s, guitarist Matt Pike formed a new band under the moniker High On Fire in 1998.
Joining Pike, who also provides lead vocals, in the initial line-up of the new band were drummer Des Kensel and bassist George Rice.
Whilst Joe Preston took over bass duties from Rice for third album “Blessed Black Wings”, current bassist Jeff Matz joined the band during the recording of album number four “Death Is This Communion” in 2007.
Released in June 2015, “Luminiferous” is the band’s seventh studio album and fourth with the present line-up.
The record starts with an up-tempo number that brings to mind Motörhead, “The Black Plot” and it’s a musical comparison that rears its head a few times whilst listening to this album.
Make no mistake, this isn’t refined or showily technical music – it’s foot-on-the-monitors, heads-down, no-nonsense metal with a stoner vibe running through it like the words on a stick of rock – with the notable exception of “The Cave” which shows the band in a more reflective mood.
For the most part, however, it’s relentless drumming from Kensel, monolithic bass lines from Matz and numerous towering guitar riffs and solos from mainman Pike all complementing the tortured vocal delivery.
Lyrically the album tackles conspiracy theories and aliens – whether that is from a serious standpoint or just used for entertainment purposes I’m not sure – with lines about being wired to the reptile brain and the need to hide your mind from aliens or even to “…close your thighs cause the Gods come a-raping…”.
Standout tracks for me are “The Black Plot”, “The Lethal Chamber”, “Carcosa”, “Luminiferous” and “The Cave”.
1. The Black Plot / 2. Carcosa / 3. The Sunless Years / 4. Slave The Hive / 5. The Falconist / 6. The Dark Side Of The Compass / 7. The Cave / 8. Luminferous / 9. The Lethal Chamber