I gave an abridged history of High On Fire when posting “Frost Hammer,” the lead single from the Oakland trio’s fifth album Snakes For The Divine, because they’re a band who inspire detailed contextualization. Not just because main man Matt Pike was a member of Sleep or that HoF’s released some certified classics (Death is This Communion, for one), but because they approach their music with such lifer integrity, nodding to heavy metal past/present, that not placing them in a time line or family tree feels cheap. These are not monthly flavors… As far as Snakes, a bunch of people (in our comments section and outside of it) have been fixating on Greg Fidelman’s production. How about focusing on the bad-assedness of the Disfear-meets-Motörhead title track? Or this 6-minute Celtic Frost-nodding anthem, its smeary psychedelic group vocal harmonies that enter the picture the 3:40 mark, or Matt Pike’s blistering guitar solo that sends it home? Its Kevin Custer-directed performance-meets-reign of the Frost Child video features snakes, wine, a wise mountain hesher, a pretty witch, and a ritual. Of course, even though the lyrics involve icy skies, frozen minds, permaglaze, and other cold things, Pike showed up to the set shirtless.
Snakes For The Divine is out via E1 Music. Make sure to stop by their only SXSW appearance. Not just because my logo’s on it.