High on Fire - Snakes for the Divine Review (and tour dates) - Idol Threat: Warning Shots at the Mainstream


Friday, March 26, 2010

High on Fire - Snakes for the Divine Review (and tour dates)

Can we go ahead and just call High on Fire straight up Heavy Metal already? They've been called everything from sludge to stoner metal (mostly since Matt Pike’s former legendary band Sleep was known for their love of the “sweet leaf”) and some assholes have even called them hipster metal. Out of all the bands today (and I’m not counting the retro-chic bands that just rehash old styles) they are one of the few who sound like the natural evolution of Heavy Metal.
I know the comparison has been beaten to death but HoF took the gallop and growl of Motörhead and injected it with steroids, then expanded upon that foundation to form their own sound. You can’t get much more metal than Motörhead but they did it in spades (see what I did there?) and as far as front men goes Matt Pike is one of the only true rock stars left. There should be a law passed that gives Matt Pike the right to never wear a shirt (no hobo.)

High on Fire’s new album Snakes for the Divine is all killer from beginning to end, I’m starting to feel like they get better with every new album (although Surrounded by Thieves will always be high on my list. No pun intended.) The album starts with a riff that sounds very Mastodonian and wouldn’t be out of place on Converge’s latest album Axe to Fall (albeit just slowed down a bit) which coincidentally are the two bands they recently just finished a major tour with. Since Mastodon have been known to consider HoF a major influence the riff seems more like a nod to the bands they’ve inspired rather than an actual stylistic change. It doesn’t take long before that nod turns into a full-on headbang and High on Fire’s signature shred style takes over carried by the roar and rumble from the rhythm section of Des Kensel and Jeff Matz. (Videos, Links and Tour Dates after the Jump.)

You gotta love a band that plays with toms as big as bass drums, there were people complaining that Greg Fidelman's production on the album was too clean and brought the vocals and guitar too far up in the mix but I don’t hear it. Matt Pike’s vocals may be a tad too high but the drums and bass still sound as thunderous as ever-although I admittedly prefer the warmth of Steve Albini’s production as heard on High on Fire's Blessed Black Wings. Despite the songs averaging 7 minutes in length they all sound blazingly fast and are over far too soon, the album only slows down for the short instrumental The Path and two tracks: Bastard Samurai and How Dark We Pray. Bastard Samurai marks the first time that a slow High on Fire track becomes one of my favorites, and plus how many other songs out there are about samurais? None as bad ass as this one I’ll tell you what! With scorchers like the title track, Ghost Neck and the lead single Frost Hammer this may be my favorite HoF album yet. Make no mistake, everything is bigger, better, faster and louder.

In exactly one week High on Fire will play in Chicago at Lincoln Hall and I HIGHly (pun intended) suggest you go see them. If you’re not in the area don’t worry because this is only the beginning of their trek, tour dates can be found below after the Frost Hammer video and a Video interview with links to buy the album at the end. RISE UP, FALL DOWN!

Frost Hammer Video:

High on Fire interview:

Buy the MP3 for only $6.99 here: www.amazon.com

Buy the 2LP Vinyl Version here: TheOmegaOrder.com

*note: if you buy the CD at Best Buy you get the bonus track Mystery of Helm & 2 bonus live songs

High on Fire
Lincoln Hall
2424 N. Lincoln Ave
April 2, 8pm
Buy tickets here: lincolnhallchicago.com

Catch them on tour with Black Cobra, Priestess & Bison BC at a city near you:

Apr 1, 7:30 pm Madison, WI
Apr 2, 8:00 pm Chicago
Apr 6, 7:00 pm Philadelphia
Apr 7, 7:00 pm Boston
Apr 9, 6:30 pm New York City
Apr 11, 8:00 pm Washington DC
Apr 14, 7:00 pm Atlanta
Apr 15, 7:00 pm New Orleans
Apr 16, 7:30 pm Houston
Apr 17, 7:00 pm Austin
Apr 18, 7:00 pm Dallas
Apr 22, 7:30 pm Phoenix
Apr 23, 7:00 pm Los Angeles
Apr 24, 9:00 pm Los Angeles

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