High on Fire

Blessed Black Wings

Satan would fear Bay Area trio High on Fire. It’s simply unstoppable, now that the band has recruited former Melvins bassist Joe Preston (who lives in the Northwest). Sure, it’s a bitch to get together for band practice and songwriting, but somehow this chance union works for the better. Blessed Black Wings carries on the rich tradition of stoner riffage, à la Kyuss or Sleep, among a quagmire of early-Sabbath-esque fare without sounding dated or refurbished. Tracks like “The Face of Oblivion” and “Cometh Down Hessian” set new, dizzying standards for metal with epic arrangements, string interludes and storytelling. High on Fire has, in effect, become the standard. Fans of Mastodon or early Cathedral will rejoice. The master is here. Nine out of 10 Orange amplifiers.