Release Date: Jul 9, 2013
Record label: Century Media
On Spitting Fire Live, Vol. 2, the second installment of their two-album live extravaganza, High on Fire dive headfirst into the stoner end of the pool with a collection of sludgy and psychedelic metal excursions from their two-night run in New York City. Primarily recorded at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, with "Blood from Zion" and "Snakes for the Divine" coming from the previous night's set at the Bowery Ballroom, the album replaces the first volume's unstoppable stampede of riffs with a more trippy selection of heavy jams meant to take you on a journey to your mind's eye.
Two-volume set Spitting Fire is the first official live release from doom/stoner metal heavyweights High On Fire. The record was recorded at a pair of performances that took place in late 2012, at NYC's Bowery Ballroom and Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg; Spitting Fire does an admirable job capturing some of the sodden, smoky tones and wild, wretched energy the band wield in a live setting. There's ugliness to the recording, a hissing messiness that enhances the sound rather than obscures it.
“Double-live album” is almost a punchline in rock music. In many cases, it’s regarded as an overindulgent money grab on fans, primarily designed to burn off one album from a contractual obligation to a record company. However, the bombast that is packed into a double-live album has yielded some of the most beloved live albums in rock (see KISS’s Alive!, Deep Purple’s Made in Japan, Iron Maiden’s Live After Death, and more recently, Wilco’s Kicking Television).
Simple fact: You should see High on Fire live. Since guitarist, vocalist, and leader Matt Pike got sober, the Oakland trio's sounded especially alive and committed to the spirit of metal. People often use descriptors like “crushing mountains” and “moving planets” to describe High on Fire, and while they don't do that literally-- metal might be dangerous again if they had such powers-- their lust for volume will take care of any internal struggles.
A two-volume live release feels like a formality for stoner thrash beast High On Fire, given that the Oakland trio's studio work maintains such crushing immediacy. Spitting Fire draws from every prior LP, reveling in Matt Pike's crusty growl, relentless riffs, and jackhammer guitar. Despite set list quibbles (no "Blessed Black Wings"?), the performances atomize neurons with brutal consistency and high-volume intensity.