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COMETS ON FIRE

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United States


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Comets on Fire biography
Comets on Fire are psychedelic rock band that have a heavy emphasis on the 'rock' part of the equation. Coming from Santa Cruz California and formed by guitarist Ethan Miller and bassist Ben Flashman, they released their self titled debut on Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label. At this point they sounded like noisy proto-metal, heavily influenced by The Stooges, MC5, Black Sabbath, and Hawkwind. With their second album, Field Recordings from the Sum, they introduced elements of free jazz, as well as more space rock and saxophones. Guitarist Ben Chasny of the acid-folk band Six Organs of Admittance was added for the album Blue Cathedral, which can describe as full blown space rock. While still carrying the sludgy rush of their earlier albums, more electronics and free-jazz take control. Avatar, their latest album, is their most varied and progressive. It features more mellow sections showing the bands calmer side, as well as showing the band developing as songwriters. Their music is very jam based and loose but it rarely meanders and gets boring. They also use the echoplex frequently, adding to their spacey sound. Any fans of space rock, especially Hawkwind and Acid Mothers Temple, should give Comets on Fire a try. Those who want some trippy prog rock, but with a powerful drive and sludgy riffs should also apply.


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Discography:
Comets on Fire, studio album (2001)
Field Recordings from the Sun, studio album (2002)
Blue Cathedral, studio album (2004)
Avatar, studio album (2006)

Comets on Fire official website

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COMETS ON FIRE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

COMETS ON FIRE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.08 | 3 ratings
Comets on Fire
2000
2.92 | 3 ratings
Field Recordings from the Sun
2002
4.13 | 27 ratings
Blue Cathedral
2004
3.82 | 18 ratings
Avatar
2006

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COMETS ON FIRE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Avatar by COMETS ON FIRE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.82 | 18 ratings

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Comets on Fire Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by arcane-beautiful

4 stars The sound these guys make is basically a psychadelic, experimental sound, reminiscent to the 70's, with elements of Jam bands like Phish, and a stoner vibe to, like Black Sabbath. So basically theirs alot of 70's in these guys.

But don't let all this fool you, because their is a cunningness behind their 70's skin, because their is great use of harmony, beautiful piano moments, an amazing vocalist and just some great proggy moment too.

The songs on the album seem quite lengthy, but to be honest, you kind of feel like their should be more, and their quite short. The songs really do have moments where anything can happen, and you'd be fine with listening to it, from noisy moments, to extended guitar solos, odd vocal passages, it really is interesting to hear.

Although I think the best songs on the album are the songs that sound more different. Their is 5 songs I absolutely love on this album, and its mainly because their so different than the other 2. I love it when the songs take on a more melodic touch, rather than just noisy psychadellia. These guys really can craft great songs, and really make something magical. Even in the jams, they take you on acid trips, and as background music, this works really well.

The musicianship is amazing too, with each member showing off whatever they can do on a chosen instrument, and some can even play several.

1. Dogwood Rust - Great how it just dives straight into the song. This sounds like Deep Purple jamming with Led Zeppelin, with Black Sabbath in the background. Great jamming in it, which really takes you on a psychadelic acid trip. 10/10

2. Jaybird - Nice laid back feel to the song. Great main riff. The song reminds me of Bad Company for some odd reason. The build up and the ending throughout is pretty cool too. 8/10

3. Lucifer's Memory - This song for some reason reminds me of Tom Waits, mainly because of the piano playing and the arrangement. The piano really does add beauty to this song. The guitar leeds are very pretty and interesting. One of the best songs on the album definitly. 10/10

4. The Swallow's Eye - The intro is very post rock. I love how the vocals are low in the mix and how noise is used to add depth. The jam at the end is cool too. 8/10

5. Holy Teeth - This song sounds like Boris (Japanese drone band). Very punky, and I love the vocals. Short and sweet really. 10/10

6. Sour Smoke - Just a great instrumental. I love that reptitive odd timed riff. This song also has quite a folky feel to it too, and at times sounds like Jethro Tull jamming with Wishbone Ash. For a long 8 minute instrumental, it really doesn't get boring, which is great because it puts Metallica to shame haha. 10/10

7. Hatching Upon The Age - Great piano riffs in the song. The vocals are the real highlight though, because they're amazing. One of the most catchiest song on the album, with a cool chorus. This is just an amazing end to a great album.

CONCLUSION: This album really suprised me. I never usually get really into bands like this, but these guys are something special. It's not perfect, but it is one great album.

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 Avatar by COMETS ON FIRE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.82 | 18 ratings

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Comets on Fire Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by FarBeyondProg

4 stars So much passion, so much energy, so much focus...these are just some of the things that were going around in my head when listening to this album first time around, and not forced sounding energy, a real burning fire.

This (ladies and gentlemen) is Comets on Fire's forth album Avatar, now i never heard this band until this album, and it really made me want to buy and explore more of their music. Starting out as a noise rock band the band seemed to quickly move away into the more psychedelic, stoner progressive rock aproach and this is the album were they really take it and make it their own, there are shades of The (Jimi Hendrix) Experience, Cream, theres even shades of The Beatles on this release, all pulled off with percision. Standout tracks on this album include the very ballady (the Beatles influence on the album) LUCIFER'S MEMORY, the very jazzy outro HATCHED UPON THE AGE and the two opening tracks both sounding like Hendrix himself ripping up a modern storm DOGWOOD RUST and JAYBIRD

Production wise its fantastic theres some brilliant drums on this album and the guitars have this raw fuzz to them that you only really seem to hear on psychedelic rock albums the bass has some nice low end to it as well and is played fantastically and the vocals are top notch too;

Dogwood Rust - 10/10 Jaybird - 9/10 Lucifer's Memory - 10/10 The Swallow's Eye - 7/10 Holy Teeth - 7/10 Sour Smoke - 8/10 Hatched Upon the Age - 9/10

My Conclusion? although its a great album,its not perfect, but nevertheless a worthy album to any prog fan's cd collection.

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 Avatar by COMETS ON FIRE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.82 | 18 ratings

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Comets on Fire Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Speesh

5 stars Comets on Fire strikes gold again with Avatar, two years after the epic Blue Cathedral. Their sound changes yet again, though its a much more drastic change than we're used to. The band sounds very different from the chaotic energetic sound that was so prevalent on Blue Cathedral and previous releases. However they sound just as good, maybe even better than they did then. Despite the change in sound, they don't lose the atmosphere they created on Blue Cathedral. One of the greatest things about the change in sound is that at the core they still manage to sound like Comets on Fire.

Dogwood Rust is a great opener, it sounds as if it starts out in the middle of the song displaying great energy right away. The dual guitars of Ethan Miller and Ben Chasny introduced on Blue Cathedral sound fantastic and jam throughout the track in all their bluesy glory. Noel von Harmonson joins in with his signature echoplex (he'll showcase his piano talents again as well), but its presence is different on this album. Instead of towering over the rest of the music as it did on previous releases, it is much quieter here and fits in with the other instruments well (with the exception of Holy Teeth). Halfway through the song the tempo slows down and the rhythm section delivers a pounding beat that carries the rest of the song to its finish.

The absence of the menacing sonic walls and electronic effects caused me to notice other great talents the band has to offer when listening to Avatar. For example, Utrillo Kushner's drumming carries these tunes as well as one could ask for. He was great on their previous releases, but here the drumming is very noticeable and one of the strongest points of this future classic album. Absolutely superb. Another thing is the vocal talent of Ethan Miller. They've always sounded distorted or reverberated on other releases, but here they sound much more natural. Especially on quieter tracks like Lucifer's Memory and Hatched Upon the Age they've never sounded better.

Any of the songs featuring Noel von Harmonson's piano playing create an exotic sense of beauty exclusive to Comets on Fire, especially in the strikingly unique and atmospheric Sour Smoke. Holy Teeth with its loud echoplex and noisy guitars does seem to sound a bit out of place on this album, though to me it sounds like a nod to their early garage punk days. But with an updated more progressive edge to it.

When it comes to prog the songwriting is very similar to that of Blue Cathedral, which is great as its very present there. It should satisfy the appetite of even those with a strict textbook definition of prog. It has the tempo changes and extended structures associated with progressive rock, all the while holding a fresh and unique sound.

Recommended to everyone really, fans of harder space rock and bluesy hard rock will certainly not be disappointed.

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 Blue Cathedral by COMETS ON FIRE album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.13 | 27 ratings

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Blue Cathedral
Comets on Fire Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Speesh

5 stars Ahh, this is where Comets on Fire's new direction really takes hold and creates something irreplaceable. This album is far removed from their first two albums in many ways. For one, Ben Chasny (of experimental folk project Six Organs of Admittance) was made into a full member the year before this recording. Another important change is the introduction of keyboards, a change you wouldn't expect upon hearing their first two albums.

The album starts off with the great The Bee & The Crackin' Egg. In the first few minutes of this song the band strides on familiar grounds, starting off with an echoplex explosion we've come to expect from Noel von Harmonson. The heavy guitar riffs and always fantastic rhythm section along with the reverberated vocals of Ethan Miller are there as well. The band shows their newfound progressive tendencies on this song when it slows down in tempo about 5 minutes in. The echoplex disappears and we're left with the light dual guitars of Ethan Miller/Ben Chasny being carried by Utrillo Kushner's laid-back drumming for a while. The song increases in tempo again and explodes at the end with more echoplex and frenzied guitars. The song's superb, and the others are just as good.

In Pussy Footin' the Duke, the band surprises again when Noel von Harmonson drops the echoplex completely and replaces it with keyboard. With this track, the band shows us for the first time that they don't need to be energetic to be great. Their new quieter sound on songs like Pussy Footin' the Duke, Organs, and Brotherhood of the Harvest are just as good and progressive as the high-energy songs like The Bee and the Crackin' Egg, Whiskey River, The Antlers of the Midnight Sun, and Blue Tomb. Also very notable is Wild Whiskey, where they seem to strike a perfect balance between both sounds. It starts out loud and powerful and diminishes by the end, but throughout the song it captures a strange and foreign sense of beauty. Comets on Fire is definitely creating a strong atmosphere on Blue Cathedral, and Wild Whiskey displays it perfectly.

An essential prog album to say the least. Recommended to all, but especially to fans of louder psychedelic music and space rock. For those who aren't into noisy music their next effort Avatar is worth checking out prior to this one. The rough sounds of this album were hard for me to get into at first as well, but persisting certainly paid off as its now one of my all-time favorites.

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 Field Recordings from the Sun by COMETS ON FIRE album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.92 | 3 ratings

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Field Recordings from the Sun
Comets on Fire Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Speesh

3 stars 3.5 stars.

Field Recordings from the Sun has a sound very similar to the self-titled debut, a very energetic hard rock sound with the ever present echoplex of Noel von Harmonson. However the band starts to take a new direction with this sophomore album that they'll take much farther with future albums.

Ben Chasny takes a break from his great solo project Six Organs of Admittance to perform as a guest on this album. He can be heard in the percussion section of the first few minutes of Beneath the Ice Age. The track starts out with a very quiet, ambient feel to it for about 3 minutes lulling the listener into a false sense of security before exploding into the familiar territory of the self-titled debut. Chasny is also responsible for composing and playing on the out-of-place 3rd track, The Unicorn. The Unicorn is a sublime acoustic track that features the guitar playing of both Ethan Miller and a guest performance of Ben Chasny. Chasny's playing is as distinctive as always, and the track sounds like it comes right off a Six Organs of Admittance record until the playing is drowned in a growing sonic wave of echoplex.

Musically it is very similar to the debut (despite the contrasts of Chasny's presence), and the band plays just as tight. However the song structure is lengthened from the conventional structure into a more progressive spacey jam kind of feel. Because of this change in structure, and the contrasts provided by Chasny's input, the album is a much more solid effort than the debut. However Comets on Fire still has much more to offer, which they'll be showing us when Chasny becomes a full-time member to record their next album.

Recommended to those who like space rock and dense, energetic music.

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 Comets on Fire by COMETS ON FIRE album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.08 | 3 ratings

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Comets on Fire
Comets on Fire Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Speesh

2 stars 2.5 stars - Giving an extra half star for Ghost of the Cosmos.

Interesting debut album from this great band. Genre-wise it falls somewhere between stoner rock and punk, with blues thrown in. From the first few seconds of All I Need you can tell this is going to be a high-energy album. Even when the tempo fades in songs like Lets Take it All and Ghost of the Cosmos, the energy doesn't.

The screeching distorted guitar of Ethan Miller flares throughout the entire album and he does a fantastic job. Ben Flashman, as always, plays solid bass as does Utrillo Kushner on drums. However it is Noel von Harmonson and his echoplex that gives this band a unique edge. He creates powerful, noisy sonic walls that keeps the high energy flowing from start to finish.

Great as this album is, it lacks the progressive songwriting that the band will display later on. Don't let the 28 minute Days of Vapor fool you, those of you who love epic tracks. Its really just a few live recordings pasted together. There's good stuff in it, but its not really a song so much as a bunch of non-progressive songs grouped into one track. The most progressive song on the album by a wide margin is my favorite track, the bluesy Ghost of the Cosmos.

Progressive arguments aside, I only really have two problems with the album. One is that Utrillo Kushner is capable of much more on the drums. Don't get me wrong, he does a great job (especially capturing the garage punk energy on the album), but in later albums he really shows us why he's one of my favorite drummers. The other thing is that on a few tracks Ethan Miller uses the echoplex to distort his vocals, making it even harder to understand him. Its a cool effect, but I like his vocals too much for them to be so drastically distorted.

Recommended first to fans of the band, but also to those with an open mind about loud, energetic punk-like hard rock music.

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 Blue Cathedral by COMETS ON FIRE album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.13 | 27 ratings

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Blue Cathedral
Comets on Fire Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Dorian

4 stars This album really blows my mind each time i'm hearing it. That band is one of the most powerfull and intense rock'n roll band ever, and one of the most exiting contemporary band. Blue Cathedral switch between dreamy proggressive ballads and out of space psychedelic noisy jam with lots of Echoplex spacey effects which blows your mind in the cosmos ! I especially like the track called Wild Whiskey : out of space larsen introduction and 70's organ ballad which reminds a lot to Pink Floyd Meddle era. One of my fave records ever !

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 Blue Cathedral by COMETS ON FIRE album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.13 | 27 ratings

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Blue Cathedral
Comets on Fire Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by The Wizard
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Comets on Fire, one of today's most exciting bands, have successfully blown my mind into pieces with their epic masterpiece Blue Cathedral. Playing sludgy psychedelia at high velocities and creating volleys of sonic textures amongst powerful riffs in loose but never lost jams, the flaming comets have proven themselves a cosmic force to be reckoned with. They never fail to rear their influences, while still maintaining vibrant originality. The feedback noise attacks of Sonic Youth, the electric blues of Led Zeppelin and Hendrix, the sludgy proto-metal riffing of the MC5 and Blue Cheer, the spaced out interstellar vibes of Hawkwind and early Floyd, and the volleys of ear shattering sludge which liken to Black Sabbath, The Melvins, and Dead Meadow all combine to give Comets on Fire the unique sound they craft in Blue Cathedral.

In their debut and Field Recordings From the Sun the band successfully established their roots. Blue Cathedral shows them progressing, becoming the great band they are. Song structures are more complex and tend to be jazzy, as well as moving more to the space-rock side of things. Maybe it's the addition of guitarist Ben Chasny, who re- invented 'acid-folk' with his groundbreaking band Six Organs of Admittance. Chasney is certainly a very experimental and progressive musician, his spaced out guitar noises will certainly ring a bell to fans of Syd Barrett and Steve Hillage.

Blue Cathedral opens with the jolt of pure adrenaline that is The Bee and Cracking Egg. With a gonzoid riff, powerful drum attacks, and singer Ethan Miller almost screaming, the song will drill into your mind. This is almost what hardcore punk rock would sound like if it was in the hands of Hawkwind or Dead Meadow. The band easily switches from riff to riff, at times sounds sounding very bluesy. Everything is almost completely out of control, the only thing keeping it together is bassist Ben Flashman, playing sludgy and steady bass-lines. Noel von Harmonson adds sonic layers of fuzz, echo, and electronics over it all. Utrillo Kushner's drumming is, as Julian Cope once said, like "two drummers who think they are Kieth Moon". I could not think of a better description for his manic style which somehow manages to keep a strong rhythm.

While Blue Cathedral prefers the band drill deep caverns holes into your mind, they also know how to slow down, still keeping the energy level as high as ever. And while the structure of the jams are loose, they never get lost and noodle into oblivion. These are comets who stay on track and know where they're going. It's almost like a constant burst of random brilliance is following the band.

Comets on Fire are certainly not for everyone on this site. They are noisy, dangerous, and intense. They have obvious punk references in their music and the production is anything but clean. If you're hoping for slickly produced neo-prog look somewhere else because Comets on Fire are certainly not what your looking for. But for the adventurous , those who love music that rocks hard (you could head-bang to this, yet it's not metal) and trips out at the same time then Comets on Fire are the gang of cosmic outlaws you are looking for.

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