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Blessed Black Wings

54 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 1, 2005
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Editorial Reviews


1. Devilution
2. The Face of Oblivion
3. Brother in the Wind
4. Cometh Down Hessian
5. Blessed Black Wings
6. Anointing of Seer
7. To Cross the Bridge
8. Silver Back
9. Sons of Thunder

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 1, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: MRI
  • ASIN: B00073K8AW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,622 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Wheelchair Assassin on February 20, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Coming off the back-to-back triumphs of The Art of Self-Defense and Surrounded by Thieves, High on Fire have returned with a landmark of heavy music, one that may end up going down as their definitive work. On Blessed Black Wings, High On Fire remain as ruthlessly heavy and unapologetically gloomy as ever, but their sound has somehow managed to become even bigger and better than before. This power trio (emphasis on the word "power") plays rampaging, roiling metal at its most primal and visceral, drawing influence from all the right places: Black Sabbath, Motorhead, and of course frontman Matt Pike's old band Sleep. For this, their third album, High On Fire have teamed with indie uber-producer Steve Albini, and the move has paid off and then some, resulting in a sound that's finally full enough to do justice to the band's epic, apocalyptic vision.

Behind the hell-hound vocals of Matt Pike, the band once again delivers a full-scale aural assault that's as vast as it is ferocious. Pike's strangulated guitar solos are pure freakin' insanity, Des Kensel's drum fills very neatly replicate the feeling of being hit upside the head, and Joe Preston's bass riffs are downright atomic. More importantly though, Blessed Black Wings sees a further refinement of High On Fire's already formidable songwriting abilities. While Pike & Co. most certainly haven't abandoned the pummeling sonic stomp that characterized their previous two albums, Blessed Black Wings is probably their least monolithic, most fully-developed effort to date. Rampaging tracks like the opening Devilution and Cometh Down Messiah see the band veering closer to thrash-metal territory than ever before, with Pike cranking out distorted speed riffs and sounding eerily similar to Lemmy Kilmister on vocals.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bacteria13 on July 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Album number three from this excellent stoner/doom/thrash outfit, building on their previous powerhouse outings of 2000's 'The Art of Self Defense' and 2002's 'Surrounded by Thieves' respectively. For the uninitiated, HOF play a noisy mix of Black Sabbath and Clutch, full of incredible riffs and thunderous drumming. Never one to refine their recordings, HOF has an almost punk-like quality to their approach to music if not the sound alone.

Formed by ex-Sleep guitarist Matt Pike, HOF is one of those rare bands that nearly everyone of most metal genre can appreciate - no mean feat either. Yet, it's easy to see why; 'Blessed Black Wings' literally destroys, folks. Plain and simply, it's as heavy as a pregnant elephant wearing steel-toe construction boots.

Opting for famed producer Steve Albini this time round (the band used Billy Anderson for both long-plays) the sound of BBW is just massive - opener 'Devilution' builds from a tribal call-to-arms thumping courtesy of drummer Des Kensel, with cymbals and snares being literally whacked out of it - does anyone hit the drums harder than this guy? The title track sounds as if it belongs on something from the 70's, whilst album highlight 'Anointing of Seer' is the best track of its like it's been my pleasure to hear. Guitar solos are riotous, distorted affairs, the bass playing of Joe Preston chugging in the background, giving you the impression that this album was recorded live and in one take.
Already selling by the bucket-load (and rightly so too) you are going to hear a lot from High on Fire. Highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rat Dawg on February 2, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Take Motorhead, "Reign in Blood" era Slayer, early Black Sabbath, and Sleep. Imagine all of them having sex, and try to conceive of what their offspring would sound like. High on Fire's "Blessed Black Wings" is what you should come up with as an answer.

This is Metal the way it was always meant to be played. Loud, heavy, and pissed off. You will find no modern clichés, stereotypes, or even influences... because these guys know that most of the stuff passing as "Metal" these days is simply false. High on Fire function as a reminder to all who have lost the faith that Metal can still be as good as it was back in its glory days.

Since their previous album "Surrounded by Thieves", High on Fire have progressed slightly and they've taken a more metal-less stoner approach. They're heavier, they're louder, and I'd say they're just simply better than ever before. They've certainly outdone themselves again, but I don't think they've reached their peak quite yet.

Some noteable tracks are Cometh Down Hessian, Blessed Black Wings, To Cross the Bridge, and Devilution.

Pick this one up immediately.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Zachary A. Hanson on February 17, 2006
Format: Audio CD
People compare High on Fire to Mastodon, Slayer, and Motorhead, all apt comparisons. None of these bands have much of anything on the metal fury that High on Fire releases. Yet High on Fire have more indie production values along with other values from those in that realm, certainly making their albums less slick than Mastodon's _Leviathan_ and anything by Slayer after _Reign in Blood_. I would also compare High on Fire to more "underground" bands like Big Black, Bad Brains, and, obviously, the Melvins. Like Big Black--whose leader, Steve Albini, produces and masters this album--excessive studio volume contributes heavily to the vibe of the recording. This is true to such an extent that the amp repair guy gets listed right under the names of the band members and Albini with the same size font; I'm sure he got a lot of work in on this unbelievably loud recording session.

Like Bad Brains's Dr. Know, Matt Pike uses all sorts of chromatic riffs and soloes, eschewing conventional modes to a great extent. Unlike lesser guitarists who use all the notes on the fretboard because they don't know the right ones to hit, Matt Pike strategically adds the appropriately tortured tone by going outside of conventional scales. Also like Dr. Know, his soloes are very dynamic, largely staying away from metal cliches.

Of course, the big indie band to compare High on Fire to is the Melvins, not least because the Melvins's Joe Preston holds down the bottom end for High on Fire. Every song on this album is slathered thick with a grimy layer of sludge, giving the listener the effect of being lost in a sea of it early on in the album.
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