High On Fire are back at it again with all of their signature grit, this time with Electric Messiah, a tribute to the late Lemmy Killmeister, coming out October 5 on Entertainment One.
Frontman Matt Pike is calling it the band’s best album yet, and I am inclined to agree with him. What I like especially is the variety present on this record, with nearly every track managing to be a highlight in some way or another.
The title track unapologetically pulls you along and shows you it’s a certified banger, and the following track, “Sanctioned Annihilation,” slowly builds up from a slight blues-tinged calm to a ripping 10-minute epic. “Freebooter” is another track that roughly gallops you through, but shows some interesting harmonic and texture-based experimentation from the band.
“Drowning Dog,” as much as it is the showcase song for Pike’s more and more uncomfortable-feeling penchant for various conspiracy theories, does show some of the most melodic material seen from the band so far, with Pike trading his grit and gravel barking for raspy singing. It’s a catchy song with great hooks and melodies and plenty of guitar solos that don’t overstay their welcome.
The amount of energy on Electric Messiah is commendable for a band now in their 20th year, and while I’ve been a fan of the band for years, many of their albums began feeling stale before reaching the end. Electric Messiah managed to stay fresh throughout, even though it tops out at nearly an hour of play time. The varied and organic-feeling approach taken by the group has only helped. Highly recommended.