Home Album Reviews Metal Album Review: High On Fire – Luminiferous

Album Review: High On Fire – Luminiferous

Oakland’s metal kings High On Fire offer a new light to thrash fans and a new headache to crotchety old next door neighbors.


Text Review:

You will be hard-pressed to find a band more ferocious and guttural than Oakland’s High On Fire.  While many metal bands go through drastic style changes or may have their intensity tempered, High On Fire is one of the best examples of a band who’s fire can’t be extinguished.

The growling of Matt Pike’s rhythmic vocals paired with long thrash metal tracks has not only stood the test of time, but continues to stand as a testament to the band’s ability.  Since 1998, High On Fire have toured the world several times over and played bands ranging from Mastodon and Baroness to Dethklok and Andrew W.K.

Luminiferous marks the band’s seventh full album.  While the release of this album is in June 2015, the album’s first single “Slave The Hive” has been out since December of 2013, as a sponsored music video from Scion AV – meaning fans have been waiting for a full album after this single for over a year and a half.

While a wait like that can drive many fans and listeners insane with anticipation and in some cases cause people to forget, High On Fire’s sound is unique in that once you hear them, you know you won’t forget.  On the Press Release promoting the new album, it stated that “Luminiferous is the unequivocal culmination of the band’s characteristically unhinged yet entirely focused savagery. ”

Hearing that a band like High On Fire is focusing their talent on specific political and world problems is something that can cause eruptions to listeners not used to hearing aimed anthems.  But with songs like Slave The Hive, you can already tell that their targeting the world elite and their corruption will have an extremely loud message.

Slave The Hive is truly brutal in every sense.  What I love about this song is that not only does it jump in with both feet to the volume, but High On Fire take their time with letting each instrument be heard before the vocals start blowing out your ear buds.  The bass and drums are extremely deep and hearing Pike scream “Slave The Hive” becomes truly hypnotic.

When I talked about taking their time to set up each instrument and being able to hear what’s involved before the speed takes off, I think High On Fire may be some of the best at this – Luminiferous is further proof of that.  Continuing from albums like Devilution and Blessed Black Wings, this album continues in building a foundation with their instruments and only after that starting to show the focus of the song.

While some tracks on this album like The Falconist and The Cave are capable of bringing the album’s pulse down, at no point do you feel like the band isn’t living up to their expectations.  A foundation is built in the rhythm and these songs are just as deep and gritty as the full octane shredders.

A song like “The Cave” is proof that metal musicians are capable of much more than just playing instruments for ten minutes with the volume knob turned to 11.   The flow and line of songs like these give more introspective and insight to a band like this than any guitar solo could.  It’s the thrash that draws you in, but it’s talent shown in songs like The Cave that sinks the hooks into you.

Through nine long running tracks, High On Fire continue to showcase just how powerful they are years after their inception.  Even if every song in their 2015 entry isn’t something you’ll be begging to repeat as soon as it’s over, the songs that punch are the ones that leave a permanent mark.

High On Fire and this style of metal can be extremely intimidating to the casual rock fan.  Especially when matched with the growling lyrics of Matt Pike.  But for metal heads and guitar lovers, something like Luminiferous is beyond mandatory and a crime to not invest in.

Overall, Luminiferous shines more light on the talent that High On Fire possess.  Your teeth with rattle and your eyes will bounce if you listen to this new album correctly and will anger your crotchety neighbors in the best possible way.