High On Fire

Blessed Black Wings

[5] What do you to one-up yourself when you’re already the heaviest underground-rock band on the planet? Well, if you’re High On Fire, you fill your recently vacated bass-player position with someone from the other heaviest underground-rock band on the planet (ex-Melvins bassist Joe Preston, also of Thrones fame), record your third album with the engineer who’s perfected the heaviest-sounding drum mix on the planet (Steve Albini) and proceed as usual to rip your audience’s faces from their skulls with said album. Across nine tracks of rumbling, tribal riffage, Blessed Black Wings doesn’t find High On Fire reinventing their sound as much as refining it, moving slightly to the left of the Black Sabbath comparisons that’ll always follow them to a pulverizing, white-hot audio assault that lands them somewhere between Sabbath and Motörhead, via the devil’s testicles. Which isn’t to say they directly reference either of those bands; it’s just that when the playing field of greatness is this small, you’re bound to find yourself in tight company. (RELAPSE)-Aaron Burgess