High On Fire - The Art Of Self Defence
It has been twelve years since The Art Of Self Defence, the debut offering from Matt Pike's High On Fire, and it still remains the blueprint for 21st century stoner doom. Much like his previous work with Sleep, the record is dominated by Pike's monumental riffing: huge slabs of fuzzed-out guitars carving a groove the size of California that don't so much draw you in as throw you. The remastering job on this latest reissue only serves to highlight and exploit this thunderous belly of the beast, creating one long mini earthquake in your listening device of choice.
Added to the original six tracks is the Steel Shoe bonus 7", complete with an odd - but compelling - cover of Celtic Frost's 'The Usurper', and the 1999 demo with half of the album in an earlier, albeit almost finished, state. Whilst this timely reissue of The Art Of Self Defence is hardly an essential purchase for those already familiar with its excellence, it is certainly a worthy addition to any collection that flirts with the doom-laden, groovy or psychedelic.