High on Fire - Snakes for the Divine
Having played the odd show last year with his previous band, stoner legends Sleep, Matt Pike is back with a new album from High on Fire. Since forming in 1998, the band have released four albums of neck-snapping, riff-heavy modern metal, and their latest opus may well be their finest to date. This time they’ve brought on board the producing skills of the renowned Greg Fidelman, having previously been the knob-twiddler for Slayer's most recent album, and mixing the last Metallica full-length.
Clocking in at a little over eight minutes, the title track and opener sets a precedent for the rest of the album, with its rock solid rhythm section and the battle-ready growls of Pike barking through the noise. ‘Bastard Samurai’ continues things in suitably epic fashion, sounding like a heavier Mastodon mixed with the thrashy groove of Motorhead, and featuring a ripping solo that only adds to the sheer awesomeness of the track. One of the standout moments of the record comes in the form of ‘How Dark We Pray’, with its slow and sludgy build-up and rallying cries that make Matt Pike seem like the Braveheart of metal.
While not being a drastic change of direction for High on Fire, Snakes For The Divine is still a solid and rewarding album. Their progressive yet aggressive approach to their music is one that pays dividends, and this is definitely one of the first great metal records to appear this year so far.