HIGH ON FIRE – Bergen – Hulen
The well-known trio named High on Fire, which is led and fronted by the charismatic and legendary guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike (formerly of Sleep), visited Bergen on a cold Wednesday night and pretty much assaulted the awesome venue that is Hulen with their inhumanly heavy hybrid of stoner rock and doom metal. In case you are slightly retarded, "assaulted" is meant as a compliment, and I was happy that the show was at Hulen as I really like that joint. Some of the best shows that I have ever attended were at Hulen. Anyway, I was honestly surprised at how many people were there that night considering that it was a Wednesday. Way too often I have seen great bands and awesome artists perform to only a handful of people if their shows were on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Some people are lazy, I guess. However, I probably shouldn’t slam other people too hard, because I missed most of the support band’s set due to work-related stuff. They were called Jagged Vision. I only caught the last song, which was a hardcore tune, and it didn’t appeal to me, but what the fuck do I know, because the Norwegian outfit had managed to draw a decently sized crowd to the front of the stage. Some were obviously into it. Good for them.
High on Fire went on stage at approximately 10 PM and didn’t waste a second. Lots of people from all kinds of different subcultures were there to celebrate and take in the foul sounds that emanated from High on Fire’s performance, which pleased me to no end as the band put on a really solid and atmospheric show. The sound itself was incredibly raw, nasty, and punishing, at least where I was standing and taking it all in. It was almost like a wall of sound that was about to break every crappy bone in our puny bodies. Due to this particular over-the-top sound and the rather intimate setting it all became delightfully claustrophobic. Fucking awesome! Matt Pike did not say a whole lot inbetween the songs or anything like that, but he did address the audience a few times. The band had a simple and almost minimalistic approach to the whole thing and simply went on stage, performed for roughly 90 minutes, and laid waste to everything in sight. They were a tight unit, and I have to say that Jeff Matz (bass) and Des Kenser (drums) are highly talented and competent musicians that compliment Pike’s way of crafting riffs and playing perfectly. I could watch and listen to Kenser’s drumming for hours. Personal highlights included "Death Is This Communion", "Snakes for the Divine", "Luminiferous", and "The Dark Side of the Compass", but pretty much all the songs sounded wicked in a live setting. All in all it was a great and memorable night, and I look forward to witnessing High on Fire crush Bergen again some day.