Death Is This Communion

Death Is This Communion

Death Is This Communion unveils new bass player Jeff Matz of Zeke and producer Jack Endino who has worked with Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney and Tad — but High On Fire’s fourth studio album hardly echoes grungy vestiges of the Pacific Northwest’s heyday. From the first few weighty bars of the opening “Fury Whip” you can still hear subtle remnants of frontman/guitarist Matt Pike’s riff-bending prowess that many a hessian fell for on his former band Sleep’s 1993 opus Holy Mountain. And as soon as he starts growling like the bastard son of Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister over more dynamic arrangements, it’s evident that this album marks an evolution in sound for High On Fire. It all becomes much clearer on “Waste of Tiamat” as high-strung acoustic guitars open to sound like medieval lutes before the riffs drop like anvils and a bludgeoning drum solo opens the gates of Pike’s Hell. “Khanrad’s Wall” is an instrumental that experiments with tambour and 12-string acoustic to approximate a cross between the Middle East and Middle Earth.

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