High on Fire
01-Oct-2012 Manning Bar, Sydney Uni
September 29, 2012
Reviewed by Sam Radojcin
If you didn’t know, you could swear it was still winter as the near arctic conditions lingered over Sydney tonight. That was not going to stop the faithful waiting to see Oakland’s High On Fire make their return to our fine shores on their very first headlining tour, in support of their latest release De Vermis Mysteriis.
The venue filled up fast (possibly to escape the cold) as local quartet Summonus opened the evening’s proceedings, delivering a heaped spoonful of darkened goodness with an insanely tight pounding wall of both Iommi-esque riffs and a powerful rhythm section forcing all into a state of doomy euphoria led by singer Rod Hunt’s meaty growl and brooding prowl of the stage. The power of Summonus’ mighty riffs compelled heads to bang and metal horns to rise.
The smell of anticipation (as well as some other smells you might find at a show like this) was thick in the air as punters readied themselves for the oncoming proceedings. It is routine for most bands to have an intro tape, but the entity known as High On Fire eschewed that, strolling onto the stage and hammering straight into "Serums of Liao" , the first track off De Vermis Mysteriis. The powder keg blew as the crowd went into overdrive with a sea of madness whipping up on the floor and all else around headbanging with a violent ferocity.
As one of the first shows since Matt Pike’s stint in rehab, there was uncertainty about whether there would be any differences in the live show. That fear was quickly smashed as the band roared through seventy-five minutes material like "Devilution", "Rumors of War", "Turk", the crowd favourite "Frost Hammer", "DII", "Fertile Green" and the mighty "Snakes for the Divine" among others with an artful and insanely tight execution and hypnotic ferocity.
Despite being a three piece, High On Fire possess a pure sonic barrage like a tribe going to war. Be it Pike’s weathered throaty growl or punishing guitar work, Jeff Matz’ woolly bass lines or Des Kensel’s powerhouse drum attack, it can't be fully appreciate it until it hits you in the face live. In living colour and on this night, that could be no more true - all was laid to waste with everyone walking away in awe at what they had just witnessed.
Serums of Laio
Rumors of War
Madness of an Architect
Snakes of the Divine
To browse a complete A-Z list of Loud Magazine’s music reviews, please click here