Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

CD Review: High on Fire 

Snakes for the Divine (El)

High on Fire's music isn't for everyone. They purvey smoldering metal as coiled and hissing as the serpents on Snakes for the Divine's cover. The music ranges from pulverizing Motörhead-like riffs to bottomless sludgy breakdowns and face-melting pyrotechnics. Singer-guitarist Matt Pike wielded the axe for stoner-metal legends Sleep, where he cut his teeth on epic metal, culminating with the 45-minute, single-track late '90s swan song, Dopesmoker. High on Fire's latest offering isn't nearly as gelatinously somnambulant as that, but it works on a similarly grand scale.

High on Fire have been building toward this album for the past decade. Their prior four albums, while good, never moved with such purpose or such a well-defined emotional course. The eight tracks — five run more than six minutes — ebb and flow through climactic passages like a novel. Conjuring a morbid, advancing apocalypse ("blood trickles down through histories"), songs build ponderously and deliberately toward release ("Bastard Samurai"), give chase like a rabid locomotive Slayer ("Ghost Neck") and ignite into a shredding mantra-like inferno ("Fire, Blood & Plague"). Choosing a standout is complicated by the album's seamless feel, though the sinewy undulating roar of "Frost Hammer" best capture their churn-and-burn ethos. Snakes is a true stoner-psych-metal masterpiece that can stand side by side with anything by Mastodon. — Chris Parker

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Kiry Shabazz @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Thu., Jan. 27
  • Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood @ Packard Music Hall

    • Sun., Nov. 6
  • Soul Message Band Featuring Chris Foreman @ Bop Stop

    • Fri., Jan. 28

© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation