High On Fire – Snakes For The Divine

Three years since the last High On Fire album, Death Is This Communion, and fans were starting to get restless with only a live album released in 2009 to tide them over, so the eventual arrival of Snakes For The Divine is highly anticipated by all. As always with a High On Fire album, the music is a heavy guitar fan’s paradise, mix big sludgy riffs with Maiden-esque solos, and the whole thing kicks off on the eight-and-a-half minute title track with a fast lead melody that will whet the appetite immediately. Some tracks, like the excellent Frost Hammer and Bastard Samurai, carry a doom metal feel and in a similar way to genre pioneers like Cathedral they move through myriad riffs, never standing still too long. It’s in these tracks that the true strengths of the album lie, as others can become too monotonous.

These tend to be the faster ones like Ghost Neck where the desire for aggression seems to take over from the musical complexity of the slower tracks, and even tracks like Fire, Blood And Plague, which is like a more measured version of Ghost Neck, How Dark We Pray and closer Holy Flames of The Firespitter. There is a suspicion amongst some fans that main man Matt Pike (ex-Sleep) is running out of ideas for High On Fire, but there are plenty of riffs here to show that’s not the case just yet, and although the lyrics are somewhat less than poetic, these are all songs which will slot neatly into the live set alongside anything else from their catalogue to date.

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