as i mentioned in my last high on fire post, i'm working on getting all the records together. so here is another piece of the puzzle. this time it's about their second full length record called 'surrounded by thieves. it was released three years after 'the art of self defense' now on relapse records. signing with relapse this album made them known to a broader audience. the album was firstly pressed on a single lp. i believe two pressings have been made this way. further pressings had been given the double lp treatment.
my copy is of the second double lp pressing, so actually the fourth pressing if my information is correct. the constant reader knows that i'm a sucker for split coloured vinyl. so before i ordered this one, i had to evaluate several aspects. first fact to consider was that all high on fire releases on relapse had been pressed on this colour way. as i think owning different records on the same colour way is boring, i only wanted one of the three on this nice orange/green split vinyl. but which one? 'death is this communion' was out of the picture, as i already had the opague green version. so the choice was between 'surrounded by thieves' and 'blessed black wings'.
it wasn't easy because i listened to both records beforehand and knew that i liked 'blessed black wings better' but then, the decision was made when i realised that i was able to buy 'blessed black wings' locally at burnout record store. that saved me alot on shipping and so i went for the second album. the whole order process went pretty smooth. convenient to order with relapse records. thumbs up!
after repeated spins of 'surrounded by thieves' i must say that it's the weakest high on fire record so far. i love high on fire for their dreamy melodies embedded in their very own stoner sound. i can't quite put my finger on it but there is something about their music that sounds familiar to me. on 'sorrounded by thieves' however these melodies seem to be missing. there is some good stuff, sure. for example 'the yeti' or 'nemesis' are strong songs but the whole delivery pales in comparison to their other releases. and then there is this stupid front cover. i can hang with the rest of the artwork but this fat demon guy on the front looks ridiculous. what kind of position is he in? sitting, lying? the rest of the presentation is pretty nice though. fat, sturdy gatefold sleeve and awesome half orange half green split vinyl with white splatter. 598 copies made. relapse records. 2002/2013.