highonfire_livevol1 HIGH ON FIRE – ‘Spitting Fire Vols 1 & 2’
Live Albums by their very nature have an impossible task –what sounds good on the night will sound very different when you’re listening to the MP3.  So for every storming Live release they’ll be twenty clunkers and when an act is as well known for it’s live show as High On Fire, then the task is almost impossible.  Fortunately the Spitting Fire Volumes deliver.  From the opening introduction and first bars of Serums of Liao you’re immediately made aware that this is a no-nonsense affair – the gruffness of Matt Pike’s voice and the energy of that night’s performance at New York’s Bowery Ballroom, have been captured almost perfectly.  The set list on Vol 1 contains some of the more recent cuts (whereas Vol 2 refers to more of the back catalogue) and they’ve chosen wisely – Frost Hammer, Last and Speedwolf are there and noticibly there’s no fillers or chat between the tracks; the whole opus is simply rammed into your skull at 200MPH.  Even rarer for a live release Spitting Fire has great production – there’s no Judas Priest-esque overdubs to be heard and it doesn’t sound like it’s been recorded on an old tape player like Death’s Live and Raw.  Instead this is all audible and all business, showcasing a great set from one of the most powerful bands highonfire_livevol2touring right now.  Live albums are often put out as fillers to run down record contracts or keep the fans happy but Spitting Fire is the real deal and the best Live Album in years and if you’re not a fan of this three-piece from Oakland California, then after hearing this you will be.  The only negative is that you simply can’t replicate the VOLUME of a High On Fire show and make your insides move without a pile of stacked Marshalls.  Then again, if there were to be an album that would make that worthwhile then this could be it. Essential stuff!  (9)



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