For those of the metal uninformed; Matt Pike was the mind behind stoner rock legends, Sleep (who are headlining ATP this year with Iggy and the Stooges!). After nearly a decade of crushing stoner riffs (and one reallllly long song about worshiping weed), Sleep parted ways to form new musical outfits.
While Al Cisneros and Chris Haikus went on to explore similar territory in the meditative Om, Pike took a different route, choosing to create one of the heaviest and most propulsive metal sounds of the past decade. Part Motorhead, part Black Sabbath, and all adrenalin; listening to High on Fire is equivalent to being bludgeoned to death by sound.
Maintaining dense, complex riffs, while holding to the speed of classic d-beat (there’s Motorhead), High on Fire have garnered an ever growing number of fans over the course of five incredibly accomplished albums and ten plus years of touring. The heat didn’t stop people from pouring into the Church basement to bear witness to some truly awesome metal.
Opening up were Vancouver’s Bison B.C., doom titans Black Cobra, and hard rock revivalists Priestess. These are all excellent bands in their own right, and a treat for anyone used to ultra shitty opening acts (myself included). Famously known for no bullshit rock shows, High on Fire quickly took stage and preceded to shake the earth for the next ninety minutes. New tracks like “Frost Hammer” and “Snakes for the Devine” were weaved seamlessly with classics like “Devilution” and “Fire Face”.
In proper High on Fire fashion, the boys ended the show with new slow burner “Bastard Samurai”, only to come back two minutes later with their previous album opener, “Fury Whip”. Pretty safe to say, no one left the Church disappointed. Or dry for that matter.