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High On Fire: Blessed Black Wings

Long before Berklee educated shred masters started trying to elevate the music to new levels (with varying degrees of success), there was only one metal. It was a take no prisoners, go for the jugular, balls to the wall, aural assault. With Blessed Black Wings, High On Fire have returned this old metalhead back to the glory days of the genre.

Nine thunderous anthems that will leave your ears ringing for hours afterwards have been assembled, super-charged, and let loose on an unsuspecting audience. Guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike (ex-SLEEP) rips through number after number with powerful riffs and monster solos, while drummer Des Kensel pulverizes the skins with a barrage of fills, almost trying to overpower the tracks, or to beat them into submission. Sandwiched in between these two forces of nature, Joe Preston's precise bass lines bind the music into a cohesive package. Mr Pike also handles the vocal duties, and his Tom Araya (SLAYER) like voice strains to the limits but never gets overpowered by the extreme riffage. Although I hear an 'old school' vibe on this disc, the band sounds very modern. There are no cheesy "praise Satan" lyrics on this disc, which usual deters me from going back to visit some of my favorites from the 80s. Most of the lyrics do contain dark mythological references but retain enough ambiguity as not to be overly embarrassing.

Riding the crest of a wave of underground success with 2002's Surrounded By Thieves,the band needed to push it further as their fans and Relapse Records were expecting very big things from Blessed Black Wings. I think the results speak for themselves. This one gets my "Original Headbanger Seal Of Approval". Recommended.

Track Listing:

  1. Devilution
  2. The Face Of Oblivion
  3. Brother In The Wind
  4. Cometh Down Hessian
  5. Blessed Black Wings
  6. Anointing Of Seer
  7. To Cross The Bridge
  8. Silver Back
  9. Sons Of Thunder

Added: February 27th 2005
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
Score:
Related Link: www.relapse.com
Hits: 1891
Language: english

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