Fans of Count Raven’s High On Infinity album have been waiting more than twenty years to see a vinyl release, and thanks to Metal Blade, they’re finally going to get one of doom metal’s treasured relics on wax.
The album soaks in all of doom metal’s archetypal sounds. Expect heavy focus on long and slow-tempo, fuzz powered jams. Although the group from Sweden never reached the iconic levels of fame and commercial success that some of the more prolific doom metal outfits of the late ’80s and ’90s achieved, Count Raven did manage to grow a cult following within niches of the underground, which only expanded with the internet.
High On Infinity is Count Raven’s third album and the experience that the band took into the studio shows with an album that is tighter than anything they’d done before. In my personal opinion, it is the best of Count Raven’s albums. Before they broke up in the late ’90s, they would release another album, but it failed to carry over the potency of High On Infinity.
Dan Fondelius carries the band with infectious grooves and a melancholy voice that is reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne with a bit more punch. At times the album does come off as monochromatic, which may be a bit disheartening if you’re a technical nut, but High On Infinity certainly does have an aesthetic appeal if you’re into raw doom.
Perhaps High On Infinity’s strongest attributes are the variety of influences that Count Raven filtered into its creation. The album does not truly belong to any category of doom in particular, but shares several parts of epic doom, traditional doom, and psychedelic compositions as well. There are moments in between the truly heavy dirges where Count Raven lifts off into ambient melodies, which makes for a truly satisfying contrast of styles.
At its worst, High On Infinity sounds unfocused and painfully repetitive, but when its hot, the album is a catchy descent into the madness of Count Raven’s visionary lyricist and songwriter, Dan Fondelius.