After Sleep tripped into legal and personal problems, the band ceased to exist, and Matt Pike slumped into a period of depression and no musical output. For whatever reason Pike decided to give the music world another shot, and hooked up with a few like-minded fellows to create High on Fire. This is their debut outing into Sabbath-worshipping, monumentally heavy stoner metal. It should be noted that this album continued Pike's plague of legal problems as it was originally released on the now defunct Man's Ruin label, but was thankfully re-released by Tee Pee with new art and some new cover material, including a lovely Celtic Frost number.
As one might expect from Pike, the guitar tone is very loud, fuzzy and completely engulfs the mix. This really isn't a bad thing as his playing is quite superb and the riffs here are top-notch. Riffs such as the blissfully simple lead to "Baghdad", the monumental power of the main theme to "10,000 Years" and the brooding intro to "Fireface". High on Fire also show their ability to craft riffs into good and compatible songs, with most songs showcasing discernable structure (something some of Sleep's more wandering songs lacked), and melody sections combining with straightforward riff jams. All of this makes a great metal album, and one that carries the Sleep and Sabbath style into a more modern and heavy sound. An excellent debut and highly recommended for fans of the genre, and anyone who loves a bit of old fashioned amp worship.
on 1 May 2003
Every track on this album (including the two newies) just drips with the sweat of big hairy men rocking as hard as any man has rocked before. The sound is gigantic; the thickest, sludgiest guitar sound you've ever heard, bass straight from the depths of hell, and drums which bulldoze over your brain. I could go on all day, but i won't. Just buy this!!!