So, all that in mind (and likely now forgotten), let's move on to the actual review. Venomous Maximus played an energetic set, but I found the traditional Heavy Metal riffs a bit too dull. Their best feature was their frontman and rhythm guitarist, he needs a filthier, speedier Motorband behind him and his career is SET.
Lucifer delivered some (to me) uninspired 'occult' Hard Rock/Heavy Metal, very much still in vogue. I found great amusement in their practice of explaining song titles like "Morning Star" and "Azrael." If you don't know what these terms traditionally mean, you've got a LOOOONG way to go down the occult path my friend. Perhaps they are a good gateway band. To each their own (lefthand?) path I suppose.
Pallbearer continue to bore and frustrate me. I can really dig an act that has a slow burn, a huge buildup (see Black Shape of Nexus, a SUPER slow German Noise/Doom band), but there has to be a payoff! Pallbearer zigs when I want them to zag, seemingly dropping the casket at the least opportune time. Or, perhaps a more accurate metaphor, considering my Death Metal proclivities, Pallbearer drops the casket right into the hole, delivers a brief sermon and everyone goes home. No casket-smashing leaving a rotting corpse exposed to the rainy, storm-ridden elements; no tombstone-crushing hammering, no Mausoleum-heavy atmosphere,. Though I will say that their vocal harmonics are tighter now.
THEN, FINALLY, High On Fire. Their set was fairly heavy on the heavies, meaning faster songs. Their sound was spot on, better than the albums, especially for older releases. Perhaps it was the power trio, or the excellent sound, or maybe Matt Pike's new facial hair, but a distinct Motorvibe was in the air, and I picked up on more Motorhead influences in the songs than I had previously noted. And about Matt Pike... what a fantastic performance! I've even seen Sleep twice, and this was BY FAR his best performance. His playing was tight and the solos were incredible! If you have even a passing interest in his work, go see High On Fire on this tour!
In the spirit of making briefer, more focused posts, I'll leave you with that, hopefully tantalized and drooling enough to go see High On Fire, even if just for them (like me) and take a buddy, make it a night (also like me), and other commands (to be just like me)!
*Review copyright The Samnambulist, 2015*