When it’s all said and done in the world of modern music, High on Fire will go down as one of those bands that didn’t get near the amount of exposure they deserved. But if their latest album is any sort of indication, that well-earned notoriety may be just around the corner. On their latest album, “Snakes for the Divine”, High on Fire enlisted the production expertise of Greg Fidelman, who most notably, worked with the likes of Slayer and Metallica. Fidelman’s slicker production style, matched with Pike & Co.’s pension for the raw has produced some of the best music of the band’s career.
The album comes out swinging its 50 ton nut sack with the 8 min 24 sec title track and while we definitely know that this is High on Fire, we can notice a distinct development in Matt Pike’s guitar work. “Frost Hammer”, which appears to be the single off of this record, comes in next and proves just how much progression has happened between albums for HoF. The song, though clocking in at over 6 minutes, still moves like a track you’d want put out there as your single. The album’s fourth track, “Ghost Neck”, barrels down and moves at a speed reminiscent of Motorhead or when Slayer still wrote music people wanted to listen to. After a short little instrumental intermission (“The Path”), the band picks up where they left off with “Fire, Flood, & Plague” that puts to waste all the irony and weakness in today’s Hot Topic scenester bands and brings the goods. It’s the track that’s going to send the skinny jeans and bright colored shirts home to their Twilight books. After having your dick kicked this much already, you’d think the band was done but instead, the continue to stomp on you with another long, monster of a track (“How Dark We Pray”) that is slower but no less deliberate in its mean ass approach.
With only 8 tracks on the album, High on Fire didn’t mess around making their point. The band already had a great reputation of being an outstanding band both live and on album, but with “Snakes for the Divine”, they’ve exceeded most of their peers tired rehashing. This album is huge and tough, and while this would seem to be indicative of metal, the last 4 or 5 years have proven otherwise. See, High on Fire exists in a weird time for heavy music. No one is just a straight ahead, balls-out metal band who doesn’t fuck around and add silly little whiny parts. Nobody is just a metal band anymore-they’re metal and something else. Not High on Fire-they can’t help being what they are. They’re roots keep them humble and connected to the underground and frankly, that’s what will keep High on Fire going. They’re real. No bullshit, no frills-just great songwriting and constantly honing their craft will keep them alive in a collapsing music industry. High on Fire’s the real thing and fortunately for heavy music fans, they can rest in knowing that they may have just heard the best metal album of the year.