Beamed down on 5 October from the planet Big Bollocks comes the new chunky monkey slab of heavy-as-hell’s-door-knockers album from High on Fire, Electric Messiah. “I had a dream about Lemmy,” says current proprietor and caretaker of Matt Pike’s beer gut, Matt Pike. And in this dream, Lemmy’s not exactly pissed at Pike, he’s hazing him. Why? Because Pike has long been compared to Lemmy. Not Pike’s fault of course. It’s probably more to do with the voice – or voices, perhaps? – within Pike’s tin-foil hat (see Luminiferous for full details) telling him it’s time he paid direct homage to the warty one once and for all.
And so Pike does what Pike does and turns dream/nightmare into inspiration and transforms the experience into nine bollock-breaking tunes of inconceivable-though-empirically-verifiable very heavy heaviness. With high octane opener ‘Spewn From the Earth’, Pike and co. bring the noise, the guitar and bass a brick-bolting, grunting, grinding duo sat atop the thunder of the voluminous drums hit with sticks the size of sequoia trunks while Pike gargles glass and spits out vitriol and venom. Fast and ruthless, it’s a crushing opener. Next comes the 9-minute 2-part track, ‘Steps of the Ziggurat/House of Enlil’, both the tempo and the mood dragged down giving the seething bile that burns beneath its grim surface time to take shape before our very eyes (ears?). It’s a monster.
You’ve probably heard ‘Electric Messiah’ already. And you probably thought as I did, that’s Motörhead. Either way, it’s a corker, and I suspect crowds will go nuts when hearing it live. Another epic, at 10+ minutes, ‘Sanctioned Annihilation’ explores the full spectrum of High on Fire’s dynamic range, from the atmospheric to the crushing to the big-belly-busting, bulging-bicep-ballooning brawn. It’s another monster. And so is ‘The Pallid Mask’. And so is ‘God of the Godless’. And ‘Freebooter’, ‘The Witch and the Christ’, and ‘Drowning Dog’. And not once does the monster’s power nor its majesty diminish.
Madness makes for great metal. With Luminiferous, it was human-experiment-and-rectum-inspecting aliens and psychopathic governments that spoke through Pike. This time it’s Lemmy. So kneel before God, aka Lemmy. Prostrate oneself before the Electric Messiah! The beer drinkers and hell raisers are back, their collective iron fist clenched and with many a mighty riff courtesy of one of metal’s greatest riff-makers mangled into nine outstanding tracks, not only will this album tear your face off, it’ll purée your pimples first. Warts ‘n all. Consider yourself overkilled.
Words by Jason Guest
Released through eOne on 5 October 2018
- Spewn From the Earth
- Steps of the Ziggurat/House of Enlil
- Electric Messiah
- Sanctioned Annihilation
- The Pallid Mask
- God of the Godless
- The Witch and the Christ
- Drowning Dog