Though it pains me to say it, when I was growing up in California there wasn’t anything this good coming out of Humboldt. Well, relatively speaking … The Golden State didn’t have White Manna then, and it wasn’t because that was before electricity either. Though electricity plays a big part here and is used how the good lord intended. Coming in on the heels of ‘Come Down Safari,’ and almost reverse-lapping it as they do with each release it seems, White Manna bring ‘Live Frequencies’ through the conduit of Cardinal Fuzz Records. Recorded last Autumn on their European trek, ‘Live Frequencies’ offers documents from two appearances. Though there are a few repeated cuts, in the context of the album’s intent and delivery that’s a point so minor it barely warrants mentioning. If that is a sticking point for the fussy, rest assured by the time they roll around to repack you’d be dropping the needle back where you started the first time anyway. Fear of over baking? Please. It’s White Manna. Part of their trademark grind found on their studio recordings, even on the more laid back ‘Come Down Safari,’ is their gritty looseness and raw live vibe. You’re guaranteed not to get the same thing twice though it’s clear they have the focus, discipline and drive to do so. Rather than coming out of the gate with full pistons, ‘E Shra’ quietly coalesces the smoke and stars into a building pulse that quickly turns to a spine as the guitars begin the flares. It’s the sound of trajectory, effective trajectory for the song and album, rather than an inefficient expenditure of fuel. Combustibles are certainly thrown on the fire, but not as quick as you would think making the overall experience of the album far richer. ‘Acid Head’ works it’s determined mid-tempo chug showing again how good White Manna are at elevating the trip even while working a more methodical tangent. That’s not anything new by any means, but sometimes their intense raw, uncooked ‘cookedness’ is what is given the most attention. There’s no question they are a juggernaut, but there’s more behind the curtain than just blinding plasma engines. Point proved, so it’s time for acceleration and putting on the heat-shields with a blistering run through ‘Evil’ that should get the boil going in the chamber as well as the blood. ‘Live Frequencies’ continues to rise and fall on arcs of metal shavings and sparks with ‘X-Ray’ literally dragging you through its paces, creating a microcosm of its own with an internal rise and fall until full gear mesh on the ride out. When they first did their version of ‘I’m Comin’ Home’ it was as tasty as a brownie. To have it taken out of the oven again in a live setting relentlessly drives home how suited that song is for White Manna and how they do what you should do with a cover: make it your own and make it a love letter. Speaking of the love, we’d be lost without a return to ‘Sweet Jesus,’ a barnstorming ignition that rivals the man’s own light and offers salvation of the sonic kind. It’s fitting at this point that the circle remains unbroken with White Manna almost coming back to front heading into ‘G Shra.’ After ‘Sweet Jesus,’ which is a fitting close to any album, live or in studio, is where that needle we mentioned before would make its willing return. From this point on we revisit ‘Evil,’ ‘X Ray,’ and a get a second-helping of ‘Sweet Jesus’ just when you need—and want—him the most. Slathering on the puffery and going into flowery details here would give too much credence to the idea that White Manna are repeating themselves. They could, they can and they won’t. The pickings from both gigs not only make ‘Live Frequencies’ a fiery document of their European voyage for those fortunate enough to get the smoke blown in their faces and their hair blown back, but also serves as a succulently roasted snapshot of White Manna in flight. A flight they intriguingly tweaked on ‘Come Down Safari.’ Put both of those in your pipe and the smoke rings easily become proliferating orbits. White Manna’s frayed scope becomes larger as their focus gets beguilingly more laser and razor-sharp.