Release Date: Feb 23, 2010
Record label: Koch
Genre(s): Rock, Metal
The Oakland, California, trio have surpassed their own limits and sonic possibilities yet again Those who recall the tremor-inducing heaviness of 07s ‘Death Is This Communion’ would be forgiven for thinking there could be none more weighty. But, riding in on thunderous drumming that evokes the oncoming hooves of the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, riffs capable of parting the Seven Seas and topped with a vocal scrape that even the demons of the deep cower in fear of, the Oakland, California, trio have surpassed their own limits and sonic possibilities yet again with album number five.Produced by Greg Fidelman, the man responsible for Slayer’s latest, ‘Snakes For The Divine’ is here to give metal a right kick up the asp. Holy fuck.
Three-year gaps between studio albums are no big deal if your heavy metal band happens to be named Metallica or Slayer, but it's bound to raise a few eyebrows when applied to mere mortals -- even mighty ones like High on Fire. For starters, such a span might go by in the blink of an eye for someone pushing 40 (e. g.
As set in their classic heavy metal ways as High on Fire are, nestled somewhere between traditional, doom, stoner, and thrash, they’ve displayed a rather ambitious bent over the past decade, especially when it comes to production. So much so in fact, that all of their studio albums are vastly different, be it the muddy sound of 2000’s The Art of Self Defense, the colossal Surrounded By Thieves, the Steve Albini-enhanced fury of the great Blessed Black Wings, or the surprisingly rich sonic and instrumental palette of 2007’s Death Is This Communion. If frontman Matt Pike, drummer Des Kensel, and bassist Jeff Matz carried on with the sludge of Thieves throughout the last ten years, then sure, the Motörhead comparison they’ve been oddly saddled with might have stuck, but as we’ve come to learn, even though we know exactly what to expect from this great American band, we never know just how they’re going to go about doing it.
High on Fire make burly music; that's the only thing you can really call it. The Oakland power trio's thundering roar isn't dumb; there's a clear technical virtuosity on display in Matt Pike's squiddling solos, and the songs move confidently through multiple riffs and movements without ever relying on time-tested verse-chorus-verse formatting or compromising their brutality. But there is something elemental about their assault.
I’m convinced Matt Pike wants to blow out his throat. With producer Greg Fidelman’s work on High On Fire’s fifth album, Snakes For The Divine, it sounds like Pike was aware that he’d have no choice but to try and let the angry compensate for what would prove to be a lack of loud. As a follow-up to Jack Endino’s treatment of 2007’s Death Is This Communion, Fidelman doesn’t necessarily drop the balll, (Lucky for him that he’s working with a truly accomplished, not to mention lethal, band), but he almost seems afraid of the material, too sheepish to let High On Fire truly burn.
What would the Matt Pike of twenty years ago, a teenager in a crusty metallic hardcore band called Asbestosdeath, have made of his adult incarnation’s band High On Fire – most specifically, their decision to sell the ‘complete’ eleven-song version of their fifth studio album Snakes For The Divine exclusively in monolithic US chain store Best Buy? It’s not a rhetorical question; heck, he might admire grownup Matt for his attempt to weasel a few more sheets out of The Man in exchange for not much. It does, however, lend weight to the notion that High On Fire, a Californian trio who have unleashed some quite superlative heavy metal across the last decade, are at a crossroads as regards their career, and their potential future excursions. Now signed to E1 Music, formerly Koch, in the States – a major label but for only the most spurious technicalities – and licensed to huge European metal imprint Century Media, the band's knobs were twiddled by an appropriately big-buxx producer.
Tight, concise and thrillingly sharp, High on Fire’s latest is boundlessly impressive. Ben Patashnik 2010 As BBC4’s recent Heavy Metal Britannia suggested, mainstream culture as a whole is moving wholesale towards an acceptance – if not a fundamental understanding – of all things beefy and loud. Metal has always been big business and seen a certain level of critical acceptance, and it’s the likes of Baroness and Oakland’s High on Fire who are fighting this new front: journeymen bands who have existed and flourished for years but who are now finding themselves under a new spotlight.
JOANNA NEWSOM“Have One on Me”(Drag City) Maybe it’s preposterous to suggest that Joanna Newsom’s three-CD, two-hour album, “Have One on Me,” is in any way stripped down. Along the way its songs deploy horns and strings, electric guitar and African and Balkan instruments alongside Ms ….
Motoring a German Messerschmitt, Snakes for the Divine's eight-minute opening title track ("rise up, fall down") notches a peak blitzkrieg for Oakland metal trio Matt Pike, Jeff Matz, and Des Kensel. Final Relapse anvil Death Is This Communion (2007) might never be breached, but lacking such compositional invincibility, Fire's fifth LP still incinerates a galaxy of Euro metal via forest clearings "Frost Hammer" and doom Sabbath lurch "Bastard Samurai," Pike croaking like Lemmy. Dude snake boogie.