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High On Fire – Snakes for the Divine


Last Updated on 12:32 by Giorgos Tsekas

High On Fire is a heavy/doom/sludge band that was formed by guitarist Matt Pike in late Summer 1998, six months after the breakup of legendary stoner/doom gods and fathers of Dopesmoker (2003), Sleep. A music gang that combines so many other sub genres in its sound that it would be rather difficult to describe it accurately but  at the same time its simplicity makes it impossible to avoid than name it a pure Rock ‘N Roll band after all. Snakes for the Divine is their 5th effort and came a dozen of years ago and it was more or less the band’s breakthrough to bigger audiences and larger group of people beyond the small tank of sludgers.

In an interview, frontman Matt Pike stated: “The title ‘Snakes for the Divine’ is based on the premise that Adam and Eve weren’t the first people on Earth, and Adam having a wife that was a Reptilian named Lilith. They were the first two people to take the reptilian DNA, and make shape-shifting human beings that go between the fourth-dimensional, the Anunnaki, and human beings. Eventually, from ancient Mesopotamia, this spawned a thing called the Illuminati – the enlightened ones – coming up through the centuries, and choosing the kings, controlling your media, controlling your banking, blah blah blah. It’s just theory at most points. I thought it’d make a great metal song, so I just went ahead and started writing about that. That’s how the record came about, as far as the theme..”

The album starts with the same titled song that has an impressive guitar solo in the veins of Running Wild openers intro- in case you are not aware the Germans have the best intros to the majority of their studio albums plus live albums-but the song suddenly burst into this muddy Motörhead-noise meets -stoner/sludge meets Rock ‘N Roll dynamite while the vocals of Mike will definitely bring a smile into your face as are Lemmy inspired and fit like a glove with the hostile guitars. The band surely knows how to build a song with climax and without getting boring despite it is 8 minutes long.  Then a thrash holocaust is burning your speakers entitled Frost Hammer. Well whoever followed their course could predict their change and improve their. The predecessor Death Is This Communion (2007) was brilliantly mixing thrash influences with prog and even jazz at moments. Of course nothing could stop Mike and his gang of blending even more elements and influences in their music. With great doses of brevity and ambition they managed to mix heaviness with ferocity, psychedelic parts and furious soloing on Black Sabbath base and thrash drumming rhythms. Their ability on writing memorable themes, is helped from the production in which while has plenty of room for improvement it is by far the best they had until then as it is still muddy and lo-fi but it works fine as it gives the proper volume, dirt and let all instruments to be audible especially the bass lines probably for the first time for the band so clear. There more highlights in the album in both sides of the LP. It doesn’t matter if things slow down a bit (something that you should expect as we mention from the very start that High On Fire’s master mind and driving force is Matt Pike that was formerly in legendary stoner doom band Sleep) as in Samurai Bastard and the creepy How Dark We Pray or when things get wild and thrash as in Ghost Neck, Fire Flood & Plague and Holy Flames of the Fire Spitter in which they punishing assaulting your ears with pummeling drums and sharp and soloing guitars.

Snakes for the Divine is an excellent proposition for all those worshippers of Rock ‘N Roll that would sacrifice one of their eyes to turn back time just to see one day classic Motörhead line up and late 90’s Zeke jamming on stage and under it thousands of  naked women were dancing with snakes around their arms while a giant Gran Torino is rev it up is engine nearby a swamp right in the middle of nowhere….

Giorgos Tsekas
Giorgos Tsekas
"Κάποτε Όταν Θα ‘χουμε Καιρό... Θα Σκεφτούμε Πάνω Στις Ιδέες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Στοχαστών, Θα Θαυμάσουμε Τους Πίνακες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Ζωγράφων, Θα Γελάσουμε Με Όλους Τους Χωρατατζήδες, Θα Φλερτάρουμε Όλες Τις Γυναίκες, Θα Διδάξουμε Όλους Τους Ανθρώπους" Μπ. Μπρεχτ

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