High On Fire: Luminiferous

The spirited band, High On Fire, certainly live up to their name. The seasoned group have recently released their whopping seventh album, Luminiferous. These guys play a mish-mosh of different metal styles: from stoner to sludge to heavy, they entice their fans to accept and appreciate the varied forms. And, although High On Fire have been around, performing and recording since 1998, they continue to slam out new, fresh material for their adoring metal-junkie fans.

Their newest album, Luminiferous, is fairly straightforward with their chosen genre: stoner metal. The slower beats and rhythm guitars provide a relaxed feel—something that can be blasted at home, or in a car and not exude a rush of apprehension. Although their material is less anxious than your typical heavy metal tunes, the instrumentals captivate their listeners as they progress and play spurts of electrifying solos.

Looking back to High On Fire’s fourth album, Death Is This Communion, from 2007, the band begins the first track with a long, hardcore intro, resembling more of a screamo feel—until vocalist, Matt Pike, jumps in, growling one verse after another. And then a guitar solo: fingers fly over the strings effortlessly, breaking up the heaviness in the vocals and the weighty strums of the rhythm guitars.

Now, High On Fire maintain their gruff sound, but mellows out a little, trading in a tense growl for a more melodic feel for their lyrics. “The Cave,” the seventh track on Luminiferous, takes a softer turn, beginning with the bassist, Jeff Matz, plucking a solo that resembles more of something that would be heard in a hard rock album. This particular track seems to carry vocal and instrumental influences from Marilyn Manson and Metallica with the slight shift of melodies and lighter guitar solos from their earlier music. But, they still hold that special piece of heavy metal in their hearts—and their material. Although they have intertwined a mellower feel through their newer works, the other songs found on Luminiferous maintain moments of their usual hardcore, heavy metal groove.

While High On Fire continue to push out new material, they remain fresh in the public’s eye, touring to unleash their newest stuff. From 1998 to 2015, the musicians have undergone various changes, from minor stylistic adjustments to switching out a few of the band members—but they have managed to keep their place in their fans’ album shelves and playlists.

In A Word: Enlightening