HIGH ON FIRE – Blessed Black Wings

HIGH ON FIRE - Blessed Black Wings


Relapse Records
Release date: February 1, 2005

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What is it with the infatuation with fire? Ask Beavis from Beavis and Butthead, and all you are likely to get his gibberish lines of, “Fire, hehe, Fire” with nervous, excited laughter. Fire – it’s uncontrollable, fascinating, and warm. Any one of those words could be used to describe High on Fire. “Motorhead meets Slayer” boasts the promo sheet. Motorhead influences and the heavy bass sounds are what first hit you when you listen to “Blessed Black Wings”.

Images of a young and pissed off version of Lemmy come to mind while listening to Pike’s angry shouting and that monster of a bass sound. There is nowhere to hide from it. It somehow takes over the whole sound and makes you feel “homey,” like those favorite jeans of yours that you have worn to pieces, but still can’t seem to give up. Warm and homey. Yes, those words could also be used to describe High on Fire, but only with a wicked grin on your face.

The sounds of Blessed Black Wings bring to mind dark, smokey, sweaty, and sticky clubs with long-haired, beer-drinking rednecks who are too messed up to pick a fight, and yet not too far gone to let the bass sound get through to give them an injection of energy. There is no denying the bass. It takes over your pulse.

Don’t give into the first impression that you’re dealing with Motorhead copycats or you will lose out, like over excited kids they just can’t seem to help themselves. It takes a few songs until High on Fire get over their penchant to over-Motorhead the real Motorhead, and start showing what they are really capable of producing… at the same time, never letting go of that enormously heavy bass sound from the bass guitar/bass drum combination.

The album starts with a drum solo, after which the singer starts shouting about Babylon and you already know you are in good hands here. Even on the slower songs, like “Brother in the Wind” and “To Cross a Bridge,” the vocals never lose their “gruntness.” On “To Cross a Bridge,” HoF seem to be daunting the listener with the acoustic intro, which somehow still manages to have dirt all over it. Pike’s vocals are slowly bleeding all over the wall of sound, until the band remembers their love for Motorhead and again let loose. The guitar on “Brother in the Wind” takes some abuse until taking off like a crazed mosquito. Watch out for the buzzing sounds within “Amounting the Scar,” which can make you dizzy if you’re not careful. The start-stop in “Silver Black” almost makes you get up and check to make sure your CD isn’t broken, until it lets you hear what Motorhead on overdrive really should sound like.

So if you feel like hitting the dirt roads while letting your hair grow, and want to stack along some juice to keep you going, just remember to stick this one into your beat up truck’s tape player, and you’ll be ready to take on those dusty desert roads… or better yet, just stick this into your CD player and experience it all in the sanctity of your own home. Just watch out for all that dirt and dust!

This one is especially for the fans of the mighty Motorhead, Stoner Rock, wind, dust and dirt.


  • Metal-Katie

    Katie was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. She claims to have been born a Metalhead. At least she's been one as far as she can remember. She loves Metal music and she's ever so happy to see generation after another founding its charm. She's always interested in hearing new Metal bands and reading about them and their antics. She lives and breathes Metal, or at least her alter ego does.

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