High as the Sun

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You wouldn't know it by the meager amount of ink dedicated to their albums past, but Diesto is as old as the hills, and 2011's breakthrough High as the Sun is, in fact, the fourth studio effort dispensed by these Portland, Oregon heavyweights whose lumberjack physiques conveniently match the thundering density of their sound. Indeed, the towering sonic sequoias (i.e. songs averaging close to ten minutes each) felled throughout this career high-water mark, seem to tumble out of the foggy heights like demigods cast from the heavens; their colossal limbs smashing to the mossy soil all gnarled with hulking riffs, serpentine melodic veins, seismic rhythmic thumps, and tortured howls of pain. You know, sludgy doom metal, not unlike the second coming of fellow Oregonian titans YOB, minus the overt psychedelics. And that comparison takes nothing away from the memorable qualities of Diesto creations like "Beyond the Graves" and "The Longest Day". No, no, for there is more to the quartet than this. In due time, Diesto sees fit to prune their boughs just enough to reveal a slightly softer post-grunge underbelly in the uncharacteristically bite-sized title track and less onerous "Waiting for the Fall" (think Tad, the Melvins, and their ilk), then injects twangy slide guitars and piercing noise squalls in equal measures into the haunting spread of "Lowlight." All of which guarantees a surprisingly low distraction ratio throughout High as the Sun's admittedly challenging, leaden crawl through its mostly long-winded tracks, which ultimately makes up for Diesto's belated rise out of abject anonymity with an album that none who hear it will likely soon forget.

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