High On Fire - Official Website

Cometh The Storm

United States Country of Origin: United States

Cometh The Storm
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Buy on: Bandcamp
Type: Full-Length
Release Date: April 19th, 2024
Label: MNRK Heavy
Genre: Doom, Sludge, Stoner
1. Lambsbread
2. Burning Down
3. Trismegistus
4. Cometh The Storm
5. Karanlık Yol
6. Sol's Golden Curse
7. The Beating
8. Tough Guy
9. Lightning Beard
10. Hunting Shadows
11. Darker Fleece

Review by Jeger on June 17, 2024.

When Sleep dissolved in 1998, it left a gaping void in the stoner doom world. No more one track albums? Former Sleeper Matt Pike quickly put the past behind him and six months after Sleep’s demise, he formed the abominable High On Fire. And in 2019, HOF won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance with their Electric Messiah LP. Nine full-lengths thus far that span concepts pertaining to Lovecraft and mythology: heavy as balls, riff-driven, down tuned and stoned as fuck… On April 19, High On Fire unleashed their long-awaited follow-up to Electric Messiah… Six years of calm before Cometh The Storm, brought to us by MNRK Heavy… 

Heavy is right. Not like Candlemass - “Nightfall” heavy but close, and that should be enough to get your fix. It’s not all about heavy. It’s doom, so it properly should be, but with Cometh The Storm, Pike and crew lay down 58 minutes worth of chaos and disorder, particularly in 'Trismegistus' - a vocals-driven maniacal tirade of a doom cut with those defining chugs coming a bit later following a full-on Pike tantrum of epic proportions. Abstract solo driven by some fancy drumming and of course those textbook bass rumbles that threaten to cave in your shithole apartment… An escape from said shithole would do you some good. The titular cut, 'Sol’s Golden Curse' and 'Lightning Beard' to see you off into realms long forlorn upon a steady stream of fat cadences, jumbo riffs and some fairly beatnik-like experimentation where tribal rhythms and various atmospheric guitar effects create a most unique experience. 

It just sounds like one of those classic turn-of-the-century doom metal albums: the tonality of the guitar, the less-than-polished quality in product and Matt’s grimy vox contribution. Take me back to 1998 but not before some radical soloing and some Les Claypool-level bass funk. The Motörhead-inspired 'The Beating' followed up by a little COC worship in 'Tough Guy' (“Albatross” ring a bell? Definitely picking up that vibe) before the experience culminates with 'Darker Fleece'. Gotta say I saw this coming - one of those LONG closers - a boring intro and a whole lot of buildup into basically everything you’ve heard already. 58 minutes worth of like riffs and pretty much the same vibes on every track. Not a gem like High On Fire’s previous record but not necessarily a dud either. Matt’s vocals are the highlight for me: so mighty, so filthy and so theatrical at times followed closely by his leads which are the only unpredictable parts of the record. 

Should’ve ended better but a respectable album nonetheless is Cometh The Storm listening to the volume in its entirety is taxing unless you’re a hardcore doom guy who gets off on being drug through the better part of an hour’s worth of sonic mud. Skip button? More-than-likely. Second listen? If only in hope that it’ll hit a little different next time around. With Cometh The Storm, High On Fire have released an album FFO High On Fire and not much else. Diehards will worship it, but critics? Maybe not so much… Valiant effort and worth a spin. 

Rating: 7 out of 10


Review by Vladimir on May 25, 2024.

Over the years, I have been familiar with High On Fire's work, yet I never grasped it as much as I probably should have. As much as I regret it, I think it was only a matter of choosing the right time to join in and dwell into their caverns of pure "in your face" action. On April 19th 2024, their ninth full-length album titled Cometh The Storm was unleashed into this world with absolute discord and chaos, prophesized with such excitement that it essentially came down like the storm itself. Considering that the six-year wait is now finally over and that the prophecy has been fulfilled, was it really worth it? Stay tuned to find out…

This album encompasses everything you would want and expect to get from High On Fire, all the way down to the nasty and heavy riffs, Matt Pike's signature dirty singing vocals, but overall, very solid material from start to finish. Starting off with the first track 'Lambsbread', we instantly get all that one could ever ask for and then some, because the band incorporates Turkish folk elements in their music, combined with powerful guitar solos that altogether forge such a strong craftsmanship of songwriting. From start to finish, there is plenty of heaviness and aggression expressed in slow riffing with such intensity that it literally shakes the earth, and as the album progresses, it becomes gradually heavier with every song that comes next. It's no surprise that High On Fire always makes sure to take their performance to the next level with every album, and they certainly do with Cometh The Storm, with every upcoming song hitting you like a hammer on the skull, while always building up to the climax that may come next. One of the best examples that demonstrates the aforementioned characteristics is the title track itself, which indeed comes at you like the storm, preparing you for an even greater cataclysm that follows onwards. I am sure that most of you know that Matt and Jeff are fans of various Turkish music from folk to rock, especially Jeff, because we also got one track that is really in the style of artists such as Selda Bagcan, that being 'Karanlık Yol', which incorporates sitar and that recognizable female vocal style in the background. Not only is this track beautiful to listen to, but its folksiness and ambience creates such atmosphere where you are just bound to be in trance and dance to it. This one is just amazing in its entirety and although it might be a surprise to some people that this ended up in here, unless you have seen it coming like me because it was teased ever since their "What's in My Bag" video that dropped back in March of 2020. From here on out, we are back on track with kickass energy and manly action, this time incorporating some extremely sludgy moments of hardcore punk on 'The Beating', a two-and-a-half-minute track that certainly beats you damn good despite its short length. Towards the end, we also got more interesting moments to experience before reaching closure, with a bit of melody on 'Hunting Shadows', as well as the apocalyptic doomy and gloomy finale 'Darker Fleece', the longest track on this album that rightfully puts this journey through the heavy storm to an end.

High On Fire's songwriting has always managed to stay simple but extremely solid like a rock since their early days and onwards, with Cometh The Storm once again showcasing their simplicity being put to a good use where it feels rich and effective. Where this album really won me over was the constant flow of groovy heaviness that would hold my attention all the way through, holding me on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what madness awaits behind the curtains of the next song. Each song was very well-executed, including the Turkish folk song 'Karanlık Yol' that definitely stands out on its own thanks to the excellent composition, despite that it could easily be viewed as an interlude between the first and the second half of the album. It's really hard to pick the strongest contestant on this album because it's just killer riffing and muscle from the first to the very last note, keeping it tight and intense as the sacred tradition requires. The chemistry and brainstorming power of all three members of High On Fire was definitely "On Fire" when this album was being made, because no track feels weak or lackluster than the other, or perhaps like a leftover song that was finished later on and then used just to fill the album's runtime. A great contribution to the album's excellence also lies in the brilliant album cover by Arik Roper, who gave us this unusual diesel-punk styled artwork that perfectly fits with High On Fire and it definitely captures the essence of the music, while also bringing back the band's classic logo which has been absent since Snakes for the Divine. Considering how many people (including Jeff Matz) were involved with this album's production, I think it's safe to say that they did a great job with the final result that contains all the necessary elements from the heavy and fuzzy guitar tone to the thunderous drums and bass.

In the end, I think it's safe to say that High On Fire came out ten times more than I had initially expected with their new album. Cometh The Storm is definitely a thunderstorm of an album full of face melting heaviness, firing back right at you causing a gigantic rupture in the eye drums. The fact that the majority of their discography feels like a huge collection of nasty and heavy riffs is so ridiculous that you just can't help but praise it for being consistent and unmatched over the years, and Cometh The Storm definitely stands out as one powerful entry. Even though I do not consider myself as a High On Fire fan, this album certainly managed to pique my interest in the band and its countless moments of excellence created this strong bond with their overall performance. This band deserves their recognition as one of the heaviest contemporary bands, and Cometh The Storm is a testament to that band status.

Rating: 8.9 out of 10