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High on Fire - "Snakes for the Divine" (CD)

High on Fire - "Snakes for the Divine" CD cover image

"Snakes for the Divine" track listing:

1. Snakes For The Divine
2. Frost Hammer
3. Bastard Samurai
4. Ghost Neck
5. Fire, Flood & Plague
6. How Dark We Pray
7. Holy Flames Of The Fire Spitter
8. Mystery Of Helm

Reviewed by on February 23, 2010

"The song 'Bastard Samuri' was exceptional in every aspect, and Matt’s vocals were almost bluesy to match the minimal and heavy verses."

High on Fire’s “Snakes for the Divine” has high expectations to fill due to their last amazing album “Death is This Communion.” “Snakes for the Divine” does not stray too far from the signature High on Fire sound that seems like a combination of Motorhead’s straight-up rock n’ roll with heavy metal heaviness and old world mysticism for a lyrical base. Considering how interesting and unique their sound is, trying something completely different might be disappointing. This album is certainly no disappointment.

The front man Matt Pike is the vocalist and guitarist, and he did both very well as usual. The vocals of previous albums had a slight echo distortion added to them to make them more imposing. On this album, there was no distortion added and the vocals weren’t as powerful. However, hearing what Matt can do without effects is impressive. His more aggressive singing doesn’t start until half-way through and a good example of his prowess is evident in “Fire, Flood and Plague.” The song “Bastard Samuri” was exceptional in every aspect, and Matt’s vocals were almost bluesy to match the minimal and heavy verses. For guitar, you will get an awesome solo in every song. Crushing riffs, blazing fast technicality, and very soulful wails make up his sound which is omnipresent. The playing in “How Dark We Pray” shows off Matt’s guitar talent if the songs before it did not impress you.

The bass played by Jeff Matz is not terribly noticeable, but it should be. If you crank up the bass, you’ll hear the distorted, well-played bass lines. The drums by Des Kensel are great also as they seem to be more noticeable than on other albums and rightfully so because the man has rhythm. He plays from punk rock format to double-bass craziness up and down his set. His style can be heard in “Holy Flames of the Fire Spitter.”

"Snakes for the Divine" is another great album from High on Fire. A little more effects to Matt's vocals and guitar could make it really heavy, but it does sound great without them. The drumming was awesome and I would have loved to have heard the bass turned up because Jeff played it very well.

Highs: Awesome music overall. Heavy as hell.

Lows: Vocal effects would have been nice, but Matt sings great without them.

Bottom line: A good follow-up to "Death is This Communion."

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)