High on Fire's fifth studio album is a satisfying platter of high intensity, low frequency rumblings from one of metal’s most honest, hard-working, and ferocious bands. Producer Greg Fidelman (Metallica, Slayer) ensures the trio's roar rises above the over-modulated, netherworld mix of previous offerings to reach the light of clarity.
Like a fist full of snakes writhing in the brain, a sinewy guitar introduces the title track. Mountains of bass and drums hit like a meteor shower. Vocalist-guitarist Matt Pike, who sounds as if his breakfast bowl is full of glass shards and whiskey, howls over the storm. For over eight minutes, tempos race from redline speeds to careening off concrete walls before crashing to an abrupt halt.
"Frost Hammer" erupts like a riot during a European soccer tournament with cannon-fire accents. Pike over the barrage repeatedly belts out the title; his voice creaks, cracks, and induces shivers.
High on Fire prove they are comfortable pillaging hi-fis via slower tempos as well. Check out "Bastard Samurai"; with its delay-drenched guitar, this could be the soundtrack to a slow-motion hara-kiri: drawn out, deliberate, deadly.
High on Fire play Casbah on Sunday, April 25.
Album: Snakes for the Divine (2010)
Artist: High on Fire
Label: E1 Music
Songs: (1) Snakes for the Divine (2) Frost Hammer (3) Bastard Samurai (4) Ghost Neck (5) The Path (6) Fire, Flood & Plague (7) How Dark We Pray (8) Holy Flames of the Fire Spitter