High On Fire - LuminiferousWell, what can you say about High On Fire that hasn’t been said a dozen times before? (Not the most promising start to a review, I’ll grant you). It’s like trying to come up with new ways to describe the concept of ‘black’ to people who are readily familiar with the results of absence of light or lack of colour and are in no need of help recognising it. That is a great irony as luminiferous means to generate or yield light.

Not enough? Okay – “Luminiferous” is heavy metal to the exclusion of everything else in existence. Nothing here reminds me of trees, or cinema, or country music, or the one about two nuns on a park bench. Nothing about it suggests ease or fluidity – it sounds difficult, strenuous and stressful*. It is undeniably masculine whilst sounding inorganic. It represents conflict without any hint of resolution, aggression without hope of release. (*Actually there are bits in ‘The Cave’ that are a quite chilled in a lovely stoner type way, but I’m trying to write a review here so need to stop interrupting myself).

Yes, anyway, it gives me a headache or at least, the sense of what a headache would feel like. It is, I suspect, entirely successful in achieving its goals.
It’s goals? To be a musical expression of total fucking anger and misery.

Some people quite like that sort of thing – I do sometimes. There’s a proven market and a peer group; Crowbar have a stake in it, Celtic Frost elevated it to a proper art form and Slayer know it and the title track here sounds a lot like them. (That’s the cultural references sorted).

Sometimes a side product of all this splenetic noise is passages of music that could be described as ‘catchy’ and even ‘enjoyable’ although that’s a matter of taste. I certainly find ‘The Falconist’ and ‘The Dark Side of the Compass’ exciting on a certain level, although some people may call me perverse.

Mind you, everybody’s a pervert to somebody so you might as well stop worrying about it and enjoy “Luminiferous” if that’s your sort of thing.

Did I mention it’s totally heavy metal? That’s all you need to know really.

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