By: Keith Joshua Ham

High Fighter | website | facebook |  bandcamp | 

Released on October 28, 2014 via Napalm Records (CD) / Bandcamp (digital)

High Fighter, a band formed somewhere in Hamburg, Germany, is a 5 person band that seems to have all the means to bring stoner/doom to a whole other level. Whereas bands like Mastodon or Red Fang have somewhat faded into predictable territory – more the former then the latter – with The Goat Ritual there is still some surprise to be had.

Clearly, it seems as if High Fighter took a few cues from Black Sabbath, Lita Ford, and no doubt a bevy of other bands that fans of this genre often listen to. However, with High Fighter, you aren’t given any sort of calm. When things seem to die down even a little, everything kicks into a sort of Weedeater type mentality – thankfully, vocalist Mona Miluski simply kills it.

Her vocals go from digestible to a full on tangle of intensity. She is no doubt the absolute highlight of this band’s sound and pushes everything into the aforementioned newer territory. Do not expect many calm moments on this EP – that is, outside of a track outro or two.

My only issue with The Goat Ritual is that, since its part of a rather sapped sub-genre, there are some riffs and parts I’ve actually heard done before. It’s true there is nothing new under the sun but on tracks like ‘Fire In the Sun’ – your going to be hearing the tired and overused triplets that all bands like this use. It’s not too much of a hiccup, especially considering High Fighter continues to provide a decent amount of variety and intervals of intensity.

With The Goat Ritual, High Fighter attempts to breathe a little life in the stoner/doom subgenre as best as they can without bringing it too far from modern expectations. It does falter a little by traveling into somewhat tired territory but the band knows how to keep things moving and never really lets down – not on a single track. Personally, I highly enjoyed The Goat Ritual and I can’t see any other stoner or doom metal fan not doing the same.

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