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High On Fire, Black Tide - Death is their communion
Still touring in support of their latest release Death Is This Communion, stoner/metal band High On Fire came to destroy Tivoli de Helling on a Wednesday evening. After almost loosing my wallet in the bus (I thought I was having three heart attacks at the same time) I entered the venue where the first band had started the evening.
And that band is one of the most hyped rock acts of the last couple of weeks I feel; Black Tide. Everywhere I read about this band, and it’s supposed to be the next big thing in rock. Curious as I was I moved in front of the stage to see these youngsters perform. Aged 15 to 20, the threesome brought old school rock in a way I already saw too often at this year’s Roadburn festival. The guys knew how to handle their instruments, especially the guitarist, yet they lacked the skills to write interesting and refreshing songs in my opinion. Also both the vocals (from the bassist and guitarist) sounded far from convincing, it suffered under their play unfortunately. Their cover of an Iron Maiden song was even worse, you don’t play that shit with one guitar and you especially don’t play that shit when you’re not that great a singer. Overall, I am not convinced. Perhaps a couple of years of singing lessons will do the trick.

My heroes, High On Fire, are always up for destroying another couple of frequencies in your ears. The ultra-power trio smashed into the audience with supreme rock ‘n’ roll metal to bang you head to. They opened with the epic instrumental track ‘Sons Of Thunder’, the last one to be found on the previous album Blessed Black Wings. After this, a variety of tracks passed by at an astounding volume. Of course the last album got the most playtime in their setlist, it included ‘Fury Whip’, ‘Waste Of Tiamat’, ‘Turk’, 'Rumors Of War’ and the title track among others. Tracks from other albums were ‘Eyes And Teeth’, ‘Speedwolf’, ‘Devilution’, ‘Blessed Black Wings’ and even the first album had something to offer; ‘Baghdad’ and the first track they ever wrote; ‘Blood From Zion’. Again the bassist proved to be tighter than the drummer, yet his monstrous display of power makes this little mistakes irrelevant to the show. Guitarist Matt Pike was very obviously enjoying the show to the fullest and eagerly accepted the crowd’s enthusiastic response after each song. His solos on his nine-string guitar were again off the hook, it is no wonder he has been chosen one of the top twenty guitarists by Rolling Stone magazine. This show was utterly pleasing and deafening, I thought: dammit this is High On Fire, if I wear earplugs I can’t enjoy it to the fullest. I was right, and after the show, I was deaf as hell. It is always a pleasure to see this band perform, and by the looks of this show it will remain so for a long time.