Snakes for the Divine by High on Fire
Snakes for the Divine is High on Fire's fifth studio album. I've been awaiting this album ever since I bought their fourth album Death is this Communion, which is one of my all time favorite albums. High on Fire is a power trio unlike any other. They make every other band that has ever been called a "power trio" seem extremely weak in comparison. Rush, Nirvana, ZZ Top, Cream, even Motorhead, all bands I love, are not nearly as powerful a trio as High on Fire. Power is a good word to describe their fifth album, it starts out heavy and does not let up.
Track 1: Snakes for the Divine: Fantastic start to the album. It begins with guitarist/singer Matt Pike's guitar solo then the drums and bass kick in and it becomes a trudgy, riffy metal masterpiece. Pike's snarl sounds deeper and angrier than on past albums, but it fits well with the guitars, bass and drums for this song. His guitar mastery stands out as well; Soloing over his own riffs, then outright soloing, this is some good shit. Hearing this song makes me glad that I bought the album, it is fantastic metal, and classic High on Fire.
Track 2: Frost Hammer: With a title like Frost Hammer, this song had better kick ass. When I see a song titled Frost Hammer, I expect certain things, most importantly, that the song should fucking rock. Well, Frost Hammer delivers. It is a much more straight forward song than the previous track, which means it is still full of changes, but still it is probably more accessible and more mainstream to the average listener, which is why it is their first "single" off the album.
Track 3: Bastard Samurai: After my first few listens to this song, I admit that I was not really a huge fan of it. It is much slower paced and mellow than most all of High on Fire's other songs in their library. There is certainly less going on here than any of their other songs, but that isn't a bad thing, because when they do bring the heavy, they really bring it, and the effect is solid. Maybe I'm just a stickler for classic sounding High on Fire because after a close listen, this is a great song, it just feels a bit different.
Track 4: Ghost Neck: I could tell from the very start that this is going to be an awesome song...some are just like that, they just start out sounding great to my ears, and then just seem to get better as the song progresses. I am in my metal comfort zone.
Track 5: The Path: The first and only fully instrumental track on the album, coming in at just over a minute long, filled with some great wailing guitars, it serves as an extended intro to the next track.
Track 6: Fire, Flood & Plague: More very classic sounding High on Fire here. This is a band that is not afraid to rock out. They often find a great sounding riff then milk it, and I love that. One thing I've noticed about High on Fire is that their albums seem to pick up momentum as they go, and this is true for Snakes for the Divine as well. This song is the set up for the final two tracks.
Track 7: How Dark We Pray: A humble song about the strangeness of the Christian belief system, this song starts out with a lengthy melodic guitar solo, while the bass and drums keep a steady pulse going. Pike's guitar skill is really what sets this band apart for me. No one sounds like him, (maybe because he plays a nine string guitar), but he certainly gives High on Fire their unique signature. This is one of those songs you subconsciously find yourself turning up louder, even though you are already listening to the album loud as hell. Epic metal.
Track 8: Holy Flames of the Fire Spitter: As if all their other songs aren't testosterone filled, this one is even more so, right down to the "ho-rah" chants. As a High on Fire devotee, I feel right at home with this song. It feels instantly familiar, yet is unlike anything I've ever heard. The band really put their heads down and powered straight through as Snakes for the Divine goes out with a really loud bang.
I can't wait to see them play this album live.
Grade: EPIC (A+)