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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fire & Brimstone
Oh My God ! This is the best opening to an album i've heard in yonks, Snakes for the Divine- Its all here the grand title, the huge intro, the drums roll,the song stabs with fury, then the one time Sleep guitarist Matt Pike's whisky soaked & smoked vocals kick in. Nothing much has changed here except everything, the songs are bigger, longer, louder, sharper, heavier and...
Published on 25 Feb 2010 by Mr. D. G. Hunter

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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad, not world class
If you compare this album to the previous four albums released by the band there isnt an entire world of difference. Some have said this is heavier than any release they have ever made, i would disagree with that, some have said this is better than death is the communion, again i disagree.
Matt pikes vocals can grate , appeal or somewhere inbetween and thats where i...
Published on 27 April 2010 by sean paul mccann


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fire & Brimstone, 25 Feb 2010
By 
Mr. D. G. Hunter "Bigdelshy" (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Snakes For The Divine [Digipack] (Audio CD)
Oh My God ! This is the best opening to an album i've heard in yonks, Snakes for the Divine- Its all here the grand title, the huge intro, the drums roll,the song stabs with fury, then the one time Sleep guitarist Matt Pike's whisky soaked & smoked vocals kick in. Nothing much has changed here except everything, the songs are bigger, longer, louder, sharper, heavier and more furious than 2006's Death is this Communion.With barely time to catch a breath, Frost Hammer drops, and oh boy does it drop, more like 10 ton frost hammer, the tempo slows slightly for Bastard Samurai then from Ghost Neck to the finish line or should i say the brilliantly titled Holy Flames of the Fire Spitter, its fire & brimstone all the way.With albums still to come from the likes of Down & Killing Joke this year, its gonna be tuff to touch this because High On Fire have raised the bar over their last 2 albums & they've set it even higher with this one.Magical Stuff, Album of the Year!& its only still February
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, well written, Fantastic!, 14 Nov 2010
This review is from: Snakes For The Divine [Digipack] (Audio CD)
I bought this album a few months ago, and it has already cemented itself as a firm favourite in my CD collection.

The album kicks off with Snakes for the Divine, an explosive track that hooks you with the first riff and does not let you go. As an album opener it is fantastic and really gets you in the mood for the rest of the album. The Next two tracks are completely different but equally good. One is a fast, almost thrashy epic (and one of my favourites); Bastard Samurai is a much more progressive and slow paced song but very well written.

The standout song for me is Fire, Flood and Plague. Fast, powerful and very well written, though really there is no weak track in this album.

So who would really enjoy this album?
If you enjoyed any of their previous albums then this is a great album. It is heavier than Death is this Communion, but still maintains their traditional style and avoids becoming a meaningless thrash-fest.
If you've never heard anything by them before, then fans of Metallica or Motorhead will probably enjoy the first two tracks and Fire, Flood and Plague the most, though the rest is still really worth a listen. Mastodon fans (certainly those who enjoyed Crak the Skye and the last half of Blood Mountain) should appreciate the technicality and progressiveness that courses through pretty much every song.

Overall an astonishing album. Another user used the phrase "album of the year, and it's only February!" I think they're certainly on to something there, certainly one of the best albums I've heard in a while. High on Fire are astonishing musicians, and it may seem a bit cliche but they really are on fire with this new album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is Metal, 13 July 2011
This review is from: Snakes For The Divine [Digipack] (Audio CD)
Being in my early twenties I have grown out of the 'metal is the only good music' sort of phase, and developed a much larger taste in music. This change in ethos includes growing out of more generic, typical sorts of metal bands while sticking with those I consider a bit different, or at least the cream of the crop. This release by High on Fire pretty much personifies metal in my eyes. Prior to buying this cd I was not at all familiar with the work of High on Fire or Matt Pike, in that I had heard of both but had never got round to listening to them. When I popped this in... wow. The title track remains my favourite and it is just about the most metal song ever, a great pump up tune, with real tempo, a great chorus, solo, breakdown... everything you want in a metal track essentially. The lyrics are also a lot cleverer than Pike's previous output with the band in my opinion (on albums like Surrounded By Thieves or Death Is This Communion, both of which I have subsequently bought).

Realistically I shouldn't give this five stars. As an album the tracks other than Snakes For The Divine, Bastard Samurai, Frost Hammer and How Dark We Pray I liked, but did not love. At least this was true initially. The tracks mentioned are still favourites, particularly the first two. I still prefer this to their earlier output from what I have heard, though I have only listened to the other two albums mentioned a couple of times each, so this opinion could change. I decided to award this five stars because I would say it is better than an 8/10, probably 8.5 or 9.

This band is like a marriage of Sabbath and Motorhead (the latter noticable particularly in the vocals) but probably on steroids! A really great album that eclipses the passion and fury of most metal bands out there, and definitely worth purchasing. It isn't too extreme at all, so should appeal to most metal fans, and anyone with a mind (and ear) open to heavier music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why can't all albums sound this good!!?, 16 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Snakes For The Divine [Digipack] (Audio CD)
This album is truly a masterpiece. Snakes for the Devine is the only High on Fire album I own, but prior to this I bought 'Dopesmoker' by Sleep, also featuring Matt Pike - what a guitarist!

Where to start? The title track is the best song on the album, but that's not to say the rest of the album is weak in any way. Far from it! So how does it all begin? With a solo of sorts, (not a twiddly solo, but a solo in the same way as Sweet Child o'Mine starts - clean, soloish, but really it's just a killer riff!) and then the drums and the distortion both kick in. The drums! This guys pounds the skins. All furious double bass and crashing symbols. Safe to say the drumming is very good; as is the bass. Nothing fancy; no slapping or bass solos - it mostly follows the sound of the guitars, but ties it all down and rumbles with a nice thick sludgy sound.

Speaking of sludgy, it's a pretty good way to describe Pikes vocals, but sludgy in a good way. It genuinely sounds like he's constantly gargling whisky. The voice sounds a bit Lemmyish, but a lot courser, (if possible). The vocals certainly have a deathy edge, but don't be mistaken, they're not death metal vocals. Think more 'Machine Head' Rob Flynn, but with more of a bar-room-brawl sound. Needless to say the vocals fit the music perfectly.

And so the music - it's dominated by the guitar of Matt Pike. Riff after riff; speed riffs, groove riffs, (just listen to the title track at about the six-minute mark after the solo ends - one of the best head-nodding grooves you'll ever hear with Matt Pike screaming over the top!) solo-like riffs; this guy can play. Most of it's at breakneck speed - but it's not just noise. It's not speed metal, it's just relentless muscular metal. Lamb of God use the tagline 'pure american metal' - well this is the real deal. the guitars aren't sharp; they churn. They grab hold of your gut and pull down on your throat forcing your head to nod in agreement. There are actual solos tossed around, but they never out-stay their welcome. The solos are technically excellent for sure, but this band are all about the riffs. This is muscular metal through and through. It's not really stoner rock, (but there are elements) it only really gets really thrashy on `Ghost Neck' which is a bit Slayer-like, (only heavier - maybe not as nasty) and it only really slows down on `B*stard Samurai' (with an uber heavy chorus) and `How dark we Pray' (which has a heavy as hell almost tribal mid section). On the whole it's just punishing, (somehow melodic) dirty metal. The whole album is a visceral assault. It never lets up from start from finish.

The production? Top drawer as well - it's hard to describe though. Every instrument is trying to be louder than the other, but at the same time everything can be clearly heard. It's got a dirty production, but it's not badly produced by any means. It's loud, but not shrill. The guitars are thick, the drums, (as mentioned) pound, and the bass curls around. It's about the most air-tight record I've heard; very addictive, every track makes you want to head bang.

This album is definitely one of the best metal releases of recent years. It's right up there with Machine Head's 'The Blackening,' Mastodon's 'Blood Mountain' and 'Crack the Skye' and Lamb of God's 'Ashes of the Wake'....it's not as creative as those albums, but that's no bad thing! It's dirtier than all of them combined and all the better for it.

A true thunderous rollicking metal album, buy Snakes for the Divine for the title track alone, and then marvel at how the rest of the album pretty much keeps the pace throughout. Exceptional.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frost Hammer!, 31 May 2011
This review is from: Snakes For The Divine [Digipack] (Audio CD)
On hearing the opening bars of 'Snakes for the Divine' I was initially disappointed. I have been an avid fan of High On Fire since their debut, 'The Art of Self Defense' came out in 2000. It was an absolute monolith of a stoner rock record; propelled by massive mid-tempo riffs and stomping drums. High On Fire, through out their discography, have slowly been speeding up and getting more an more furious. On the opening title track on Snakes for the Divine, our protagonist, Matt Pike kicks off with an uber-cheesy progressive metal lick that made me cringe. How can this be the same band that gave us the slow bludgeon of '10,000 Years' and 'Thraft of Caanan'??

But because it was still High On Fire, there's an unstoppable, elemental force compelling you to listen. After listening through a couple more times, I realised; why the hell am I bothered if it's cheesy or not? What does it matter? Once this thought has settled and you can listen to this album without an objective viewpoint or without preconceptions (yes the cover art is cheesy, yes it's pretty much as "metal" as you can get but;) it's one of the most enjoyable albums I've heard in years.

The whole album is a perfectly executed exercise in displaying pure and unashamed disregard for subtlety. High On Fire pummel you with monster riffs for 49 minutes and 53 seconds. The title track is just immense - 8 minutes of frenetic, adrenaline fueled madness. That cheesy metal lick builds up with the rest of the band in an explosion of chugging fuzz and tribal drumming. It's utterly cathartic.

The whole reason people listen to metal - as with a lot of types of music, including dubstep & drum & bass - is for transcendence; for the music to take you somewhere else or to make you feel & respond to it in some way. The most effective music does this easily. Metal is meant to evoke a primal reaction; it doesn't need to be clever or complex or subtle to be effective; but the best metal does all of this. Think of 'Master of Puppets' by Metallica; it's an 8minute long progressive masterpiece. The complex structure; the mellow harmonised guitar section mid-way through, and it has that riff... THAT riff. That riff which makes the hair stand on end every time you hear the opening attack; "DA! DA, DA, DAAAAAAA.....". High On Fire, with Snakes for the Divine, have touched upon this magic formula that seemingly only a few bands have found. Power, adrenaline and a hint of restraint which makes the heavy bits all the more effective.

Nothing demonstrates this more than the third track; 'Bastard Samurai'. After the pulverising you're received from the opening salvo of the title track & 'Frost Hammer', B*stard Samurai begins a lot slower & more menacing rather than steamrolling your ear drums. The verse has a more contemplative delayed guitar line and allows the band to breathe and Matt Pike actually sings the verses. This builds up until Pike roars; "son of a bitch will bleed a whiiiiiiile!" and all hell breaks loose. It's utter, simple catharsis & is all the more effective because of the first two tracks. These simple, yet clever dynamics make B*stard Samurai one of the highlights of the album, and indeed High On Fire's back catalogue. How Dark We Pray is also a more stripped back number in contrast to the body of the album's frenetic stampede of riffs & drums. Here, Matt Pike demonstrates some great melodic guitar lines which serve to further break up the album and make the heavy parts all the more forceful.

Snakes for the Divine is a massive surprise for me as I was beginning to write off High On Fire as morphing into just another metal band. But with this new album they've reinvigorated my interest and appreciation of quality heavy music. Even if you're not really into metal; give this album a chance and even at it's basic level; simply have a damn good time listening to it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what you'd expect... Nice & weighty.., 6 Mar 2010
Another thunderous offering from High On Fire, and once again, these guys don't disappoint.. Their 5th studio album continues their particular riff laden, rhythm avalanche of groove-heavy, heavy metal.. And another great selection of mysticly weird song titles. Have to catch them live again. Oh, did i mention that they were heavy?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They've Only Gone and Grown Up!, 13 April 2010
This review is from: Snakes For The Divine [Digipack] (Audio CD)
Blood. Yes.
Thunder. Aye.
Fire. Uh huh.
Metal!! Aaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Oh. My. Word.
What an opening to an album!! Best opening track I've heard in a long long time. Then Matt Pike's 'one bottle of Jack and 40 John Player Specials a day' voice kicks in and it all goes just a little bit mental from there. For 10 minutes.
And it just keeps on going throughout the remainder of the album.

Supremely catchy and riff laden doom metal, in the rich vein of Sabbath. And it has a nice 'earthy' sort of production. Not the medical cleanliness that you get from many modern metal productions, but it gives the album a real warmth throughout.

Not to be mistaken for the stoner boys of old, High on Fire has well and truly grown up with Snakes for the Divine. There's a real metal maturity in the lyrics and song writing structures. Sublime modern doom metal is the best way to describe it.

An essential purchase for 2010.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 26 Oct 2011
This review is from: Snakes For The Divine [Digipack] (Audio CD)
This is quite an amazing metal album. I have followed High on Fire for a few years now but with this album they have created an entire world where you can crawl into and explore for months on end. I purchased this last year and still have it on most of my playlists.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT METAL ALBUM, 19 Mar 2010
This review is from: Snakes For The Divine [Digipack] (Audio CD)
IF YOU ARE A FAN OR NEW TO HIGH ON FIRE YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS ALBUM.THE SOUND IS SLIGHTLY CLEARER AND SOUNDS MORE "PRODUCED" THAN ON EARLIER ALBUMS BUT THIS DOES NOT TAKE ANYTHING AWAY FROM THE POWER OF THIS ALBUM.
THE STAND OUT TRACKS FOR ME ARE -BASTARD SAMURAI ,HOW DARK WE PRAY-WHICH SHOW HOW DARK AND HEAVY HIGH ON FIRE CAN SOUND.
IF YOU LIKE METAL AND DOOM MUSIC YOU WILL NOT FIND A GREATER ALBUM THIS YEAR.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad, not world class, 27 April 2010
By 
sean paul mccann "mccanns23" (ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Snakes For The Divine [Digipack] (Audio CD)
If you compare this album to the previous four albums released by the band there isnt an entire world of difference. Some have said this is heavier than any release they have ever made, i would disagree with that, some have said this is better than death is the communion, again i disagree.
Matt pikes vocals can grate , appeal or somewhere inbetween and thats where i sit but i really love some of the killer riffs on show here.
I have a real fondness for 'oh, how dark we pray' 'frost hammer' and 'fire , flood and plague' and some of the others are good while one or two outstay their welcome.
I will see high on fire live again in a few weeks when they support metallica and these tracks will probably sound even more monster like but this isnt the album of the year in my modest opinion.
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Snakes For The Divine [Digipack]
Snakes For The Divine [Digipack] by High On Fire (Audio CD - 2010)
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