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High on Fire – Snakes for the Divine Album Review

14 March 2010 No Comment

By: A. Estes

As of Sunday, March 14, 2010, you can download two High on Fire albums for free, including this one, on our free music page. Completely legal!

With heavy metal back in the spotlight and doing big business in the past half decade or so, it seems an immensely talented and hard-working band like High on Fire would have broken out to reach the ranks of Mastodon or Lamb of God by now. While their previous albums worked hard to show the band was more than worth their salt, it wasn’t until record label E1 sat up and took notice and signed the band that they were truly offered the shot they needed — no, scratch that — deserved.

With producer Greg Fidelman (Slayer, Life of Agony) in tow, the three men of High on Fire seem more than up to the challenge of hanging with the big shots. Showing a workhorse-like effort, Snakes for the Divine is a record that builds on the band’s strengths while producing a sound that will without a doubt blow away the unsuspecting and uninitiated first-time listener, which is what the album (and the label) seems to be aiming for. Merely eight tracks deep, the record packs a punch by pummeling the listener with song after song of metal that is often thrashy, sometimes sludgy and never flashy. The fact that the album never takes a moment to merely show off the band’s prowess and instead puts all its efforts into creating tracks that are memorable and have a groove is a testament to the raw talent at hand here.

Simply put, High on Fire are a metalhead’s metal band. Matt Pike’s gravelly vocals are forceful and intense without sounding cookie-cutter or ridiculous, recalling a time when singers in metal bands stood out from one another, which is refreshing in and of itself. Pulling double-duty on guitar, Pike’s riffing often serves as throwback to the likes of Slayer (“Frost Hammer”) and Black Sabbath (“B…… Samurai”) with a modern twist, while the rhythm section of Jeff Matz and Des Kensel creates a groove and a wall of sound for it all to bounce off of. If there’s any flaw to be found, it’s that album is rather short, leaving you wanting more, and doesn’t quite end with the same intensity with which it opens. Yet, Snakes for the Divine is still a solid and simply hard-working and hard-hitting album that is likely to slap a smile on the face of listeners craving a good ol’ classic no-frills slice of heavy metal. Hopefully the quality of the album and a push from the record label will help push High on Fire to the foreground where they belong. Lord knows, they’ve earned it.

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