High On Fire – Snakes For The Divine
released February 23, 2010 on E1 Entertainment
Matt Pike is a metal god amongst mortals (all bias aside, as a fellow Matt that consumes the same substances). As important as Sleep ever was, the staggering intensity of High On Fire is now at its most potent.
Imagine everything Motorhead ever did right, updated and amplified, with a mystical undercurrent that bears chthonic wisdom. The title track/album opener is one of their best yet, with a bass-heavy chorus that harks back three decades to “Overkill”. There’s great interplay on lead single “Frost Hammer”, which features bassist Jeff Matz in an ethereal bridge singing harmony.
Song title to beat so far this year: “Bastard Samurai”! It also happens to be a methodical slow-burner with superb tone and an intriguing story. High On Fire‘s writing is succinct, well articulated, and fervently sung. And still, they manage good ol’ badassery like ‘son of a bitch should bleed awhile’ in the refrain!
Compared to the three instrumentals on Death Is This Communion, the single one here is “The Path”. It brings us to “Fire, Flood & Plague” – the only track that didn’t really grab me. The execution seems a little raw, and I think they could end the song better. By contrast, ‘Serpent came to Eve from Tiamat’ may be my favorite opening line on Snakes For The Divine. “How Dark We Pray” is also an excellent example of how well Matz invokes the mighty Geezer Butler to flesh out Pike’s solos, while Des Kensel’s dynamic drumming drives the dirge home.
Helping structure the chaos is Greg Fidelman, who famously worked on Slayer‘s World Painted Blood last year, and Metallica‘s Death Magnetic the year before that. Snakes For The Divine will not only be Fidelman’s finest output in 2010, it also raises the bar for High On Fire as a band, and is certainly the finest heavy album on all of E1.
A solid pick for Best of 2010!
FCC : 4 (but it easily blows right past)
Try 1, 2, 3, 7, 8
01. Snakes for the Divine
02. Frost Hammer
03. Bastard Samurai
04. Ghost Neck
05. The Path
06. Fire, Flood & Plague
07. How Dark We Pray
08. Holy Flames of the Fire Spitter
09. Mystery of Helm (Bonus Track)