Saturday, June 26, 2010

High on Fire: Snakes for the Divine (2010) Review

I had never heard of High on Fire before reading an issue of Terrorizer, although it seems they're very well known. I got their latest album, Snakes for the Divine, to see what it's all about.

The sound is a mix of stoner metal and sludge. The sludge parts are more obvious at first, but when they slow the pace down (as on "Bastard Samurai") you can hear how ultra-fuzzy the bass is. You can also hear the stoner metal on many of the solos, or if you listen closely to the bizarre lyrics.

The tempos are highly varied, with faster tracks such as the title track leading into some of the slower material. They seem equally adept at both speeds. The driving force behind the band, Matt Pike (formerly of legendary stoner doom band Sleep) shows that slow isn't the only thing he can do, as album highlights include both the slower tempo "How Dark We Pray", but also the faster "Fire, Flood & Plague".

The songs are catchy, but there's also a lot of instrumental virtuosity going on here. Every track is memorable and worthwhile. The only real downside to this album is that Pike's gravelly voice doesn't really add anything to the sound, getting lost in a wash of instruments which occupy the same sonic range and have the same rawness. Contrast this with a similar band, The Sword, whose vocalist (closer to the Ozzy range) contrasts with the music perfectly.

The Verdict: Snakes for the Divine is catchy, great stoner/sludge with a lot of meat on the bone. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. High on Fire is an excellent band. Definitely check out their previous material, in particular Death is This Communion.