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outstanding - 95%

purerockfury, January 30th, 2005

High on Fire has always brought the heavy and leaves nothing behind. Their new album, 'Blessed Black Wings' is a behemoth of an album. It has the same stuff high on fire always provides, but it's also, much different.
To begin with, we must take note on the albums production. The two previous albums were both pretty low end, and 'Surrounded by Thieves' was simply too muddy. Steve Albini's engineering mastermind allows each instrument to be heard on its own, yet still blends everything together, just much better than past efforts. You still get the low end and plenty of heavy, but the production is a bit cleaner this time around.
The music itself is definitely something I have been waiting for since their last album. Pike's musical ability displays exactly what you'd expect from the last two albums and then introduces newer angles of his musical repertoire, but never call his work mature. The opening track, Devilution, starts off how surrounded by thieves ended, an epic tribal rhythm provided by Des. The song eventually becomes fast and thrashy. The album takes a turn during the second track. When I expected the songs to get heavier, the second song slows down a bit and provides some melody. These two songs exemplify exactly what the entire album has too off. Pike definitely does not change anything about the band, but he does put some new twists. One thing which makes this album more epic is the intensity of the riffs. This album is definitely more metal than anything we've heard from the band thus far. Song's like Anointing of Seer and Cometh Down Hessian definitely exemplify the old school thrash of Motorhead combined with the brand-new school of heavy. The album ends with an instrumental, Sons of Thunder, an apt title for the song. It provides more melody and pounding drums. Overall this album is more melodic, but still just as heavy as anything you'd heard before. High on Fire definitely is the epitome of heavy and this album does a good job proving the disbelievers wrong.