album review: High On Fire – Luminiferous


Buy High on Fire – Luminiferous | listen to High on Fire – Luminiferous

Since I’ve been listening to dave weckl drumming I’m listening to more Chick Chorea and all the bands, projects and musicians he’s been associated with.  This lead me to the Jeff Forber Fusion group.  Today was my first time listening to them and I was intending to write a review, but finding that Kenny G, and while there’s nothing wrong with him, was one of the prominent members of the group I had to ask myself if I was really going that soft.

Sure I just got married but I can’t just lie down, can i? Either way, I got about 1 song in before realizing Mr G is one of the members of this group.  I had to do what any metal drummer would do.  Switch to High on Fire.

This band is the motorcycle loving leather dude you drink with and see at shows.  he rules, and he hasn’t had the gall to step down.  he has a vision of his life and who he is and he lives it.  This would be Matt Pike.  the dude was involved in the beginning of the true stoner metal sound with his group Sleep in 1992. He’s also had an intense life.

Watching High On Fire live is a trip.  Dude walks onto the stage with his shirt off, hair past his shoulders and they just shred. Their intensity is half of the show.  They just played Thalia Hall the same night Weckl and Mayer played at Martyrs. As a drummer I made the right decision.

When you hear the name High on Fire you hear Matt’s snarling voice in your head, like at the 2 min mark on Sunless Years. He’s yelling from the depth of his lungs and his voice has yelled in a lot of faces through the years. The thunderous drums that finish the track raise the song in an amazing way to end the song.

The songs tend to get into a mid tempo groove, but there’s also the rippers.  Slave the Hive is a thrash jam, double bass, big fills. pissed at someone.

This is one of those bands that if you like them, you really like them.  There are probably some fair weather fans, but the majority are devoted.  Their albums are consistently good.  You know what to expect, yet there’s something new for their music.  If they were to do an acoustic album there’d probably be overly dramatic reactions.

Hearing this new album, Luminiferous doesn’t sound like they’ve aged or calmed.  It sounds like they continue to refine their songs and collaboration as a band.  The album is great.  What’s difficult is to rate the album amongst the others without really devoting yourself to the songs.

The title track performs as you’d expect a High on Fire title track to play.  Luminiferous (the song) is a ripper.  Once the song gets to the climax (you’ll know) Matt’s voice holds out for dear life, like the drop below would hurt him.

The final track takes you on the familiar Matt Pike-esque journey.  In a slower groove, but the middle build is a monsterous drumming experience.  The only type of tension that can drop off to the slow sludgy groove they’re known for.

And after listening to High on Fire for any period you must cleanse the palate with Snakes for the Divine.

Buy High on Fire – Luminiferous | listen to High on Fire – Luminiferous

Advertisements

album review:Chick Corea Elektric Band – The Chick Corea Elektric Band

Buy The Chick Corea Elektric Band | Listen here

This is a little drum dumb assness for ya but I was thinking that it was Dennis Chambers playing drums on this album.  Now before you go any further you can know that it’s Dave Weckl. My bad.

The biggest problems with album like this is if you don’t know what to expect, they can be written off as a dated recording due to the very ‘out there’ sounds they used.  Truth. But being released in 1986 a lot of this stuff was ahead of it’s time, and without a lot of time to actually digest how certain sounds sound, being in the tunnel of awesome it’s difficult to see what’s ‘too electronic drums’ or ‘too flaming guitar solo’ or ‘too cheesy keyboard’ sounds.  In that same token, it’s what makes the music that much more remarkable.  It’s the experimentation with the sounds with some phenomenal players. When it works it’s a very nice result.

My favorite track on this album is ‘Got a Match?‘.  When hearing this phrase I immediately think of the Beavis & Butthead movie, and now that you do too we can move on to the album.

Although Rumble is somewhat uptempo and City Gate has it’s moments with some crazy drums in them, Got a Match? (see, how can you forget that scene?) is the first time the album let’s loose. The first time I heard this song I had to stop what I was doing to make sure I saved this track so I could listen to it bunch.  It starts with a really awesome, yet really subdued drumming on the high hat and snare with alternating ghost doubles and a melodious keyboard line.  After a short intro together the drums build adding some bass drum hits and the bass comes in.  The keyboard takes you on a little journey for a minute until they come back to that hook from the intro.  The beat this time includes some ride bell hits and a more complete build of the part. They meander for a bit then break for the drums to do their thing, come back for a hair then really letting the drums do their thing.  Some keys and bass get thrown in but if there was ever a song where the drum solo doesn’t feel just gratuitous and is a real part of the song this would be that song.  The beat on it’s own can be a solo for most drummers so the fact that it gets built up takes the song up that much further, while keeping the drums on track with the keyboard melody.  Before you know it the song is over and you need to listen again to make sure you heard that correctly.

Coming in just shy of an hour with 11 songs this album covers a lot of ground.  The electronic drum sounds and synth sounds get a workout throughout the album, but again as you’re coming into this stuff why wouldn’t you want to see how far you can explore it and see where it can go?

This album is further proof I have a long way to go to get over my ‘traditional’ jazz tastes and there are some amazing recordings out there that I’m excited to get involved with.

Buy The Chick Corea Elektric Band | Listen here

album review: Benny Greb – Moving Parts

Buy Moving Parts here | Listen to Moving Parts here

Benny Greb is another drummer that I heard about via Drumeo through their free educational videos. Each week they seem to get an even cooler drummer onto their show/site and they do a great job having their finger on the pulse of some really talented drummers.

Like Snarky Puppy and Mark Guiliana, this is one of the newer dudes, at least that I’ve heard about, that is doing some amazing stuff and making me eat my words with the type of jazz that’s going on lately.  It’s great and I love eating my words on this subject.

Where drumeo has their finger on the pulse I’m definitely the one that’s out of date.  Scrolling through product lists for Benny he has a Meinl Cymbal Seta Practice Pad, Promark Hickory 5BG Wood Tip drumsticks and most recently his 2ND(!!) dvd the Art and Science of Groove. I need to pay closer attention to the world of drumming. (and full disclosure yes I’m an Amazon affiliate)

Either way, his stuff, starting with the Drumeo video, is great and will easily get you hooked on his playing.  He’ll do some fairly interesting fills but his grooves are nice and sweet.  He lays back in the pocket but provides a unique style to the beats.

Moving onto the CD it’s a laid back smooth jazz style recording with drums, keyboard and guitar.  It’s airy yet direct with the melodies and grooves.  Benny is of course the standout, but I’m probably biased.  Tracks like Bunker show a more ‘out there’ and loose Benny, but it’s never over the top.

A common theme throughout the recordings are his ability to walk a fine line between playing the tempo straight, then incorporating triplets or other off tempo style feels to the playing, whether playing in front or behind the beat.  It’s a fun way to hear how he plays off the beat(s).  All the songs can be used as examples of what he does Barking does a great job of using a typical beat but spicing it up to a point that it’s familiar, but clearly something he’s made his own.

The album works as a whole and an educational piece of drumming music.  It could easily fit on a jazz or a sunday playlist with a few songs able to fit on a party or upbeat playlist. For drum students it’s a great album to see what’s possible with some traditional instruments and an open playing style.  For other instruments it’s great to hear what can happen with the drums to be able to still play fluidly with some uncommon types of playing.

And to briefly brag, this Friday I’ll be seeing Benny as part of Vic’s Drum Shop all-star drum show at Martyrs in Chicago.  Needless to say I’m pumped. But in the meantime I’m off to practice drums.

Buy Moving Parts here | Listen to Moving Parts here