Live Review: High On Fire, Smoke, Kyzer Soze

22 February 2016 | 3:20 pm | Tom Hersey

"Lemmy's dead and Phil Anselmo is a racist; now one of the only personalities the metal world has to idolise is Matt Pike."

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Lemmy's dead and Phil Anselmo is a racist; now one of the only personalities the metal world has to idolise is Matt Pike. And as the guitarist paces through Crowbar before any of the bands start, you can feel his presence make everyone in the room get more and more stoked that they're about to witness Matty in the flesh, the glorious, sweaty, beer-bellied flesh.

The excitement about witnessing said tum-tum has the room plenty receptive to witness Kyzer Soze. When there are so many hesher disciples ready to worship at the altar of Pike, the four-piece unapologetically purvey the type of extreme metal that exists beyond the confines of subgenre. What's more, they do it very well. The outfit manages to wake up the bleary-eyed and even inspire a bit of windmilling up the front.

While the change-up Kyzer Soze offers is welcome, this is still a High On Fire show. People came here to hesh, damnit. And that's exactly what three-piece Smoke offer up. Blazing through a set of joints from their self-titled record, the dudes traverse the universe of proto-doom, drawing on obvious reference points like Trouble and Pentagram while also throwing in some more psychedelic Hawkwind-y stuff to give the proceedings a trippy edge. As the solos stretch out and the jams get spacier under the weight of fuzz pedal upon fuzz pedal, Smoke blow the crowd away.

After a sizable wait, which everyone in the room submits to without moving lest they end up in a less-than-ideal spot from which to view their man, Matt Pike leads High On Fire onto stage to volleys of cheers. From the first note of their set, the power trio are powerful. Very powerful. More powerful than they've ever sounded at a show in Brisbane. You can feel Des Kensel's kick drums and Jeff Matz's bass in the hairs on your arm, while the heft Pike manages to get out of his guitar is otherworldly. As the frontman scans the crowd with mondo crazy eyes and barks out incantations in a way that reveals all the spots he's missing teeth, High On Fire work through cuts like Luminiferous and sound like a death metal Motorhead. They also slow things right down and treat the crowd to a harrowing and epic rendition of Death Is This Communion. With such a diverse back catalogue they can take their set so many different places, but every new sound is approached with the same bludgeoning ferocity. Even the overwhelming weirdness lurking in the lyrics of songs like The Falconist can't detract from this sonic onslaught. Goddamnit Matt Pike, you're a genius and a legend. Please never get drunk and say something you shouldn't in front of a camera phone.

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