Snakes For The Divine [Digipack]
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Snakes For The Divine [Explicit]
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As BBC4’s recent Heavy Metal Britannia suggested, mainstream culture as a whole is moving wholesale towards an acceptance – if not a fundamental understanding – of all things beefy and loud.
Metal has always been big business and seen a certain level of critical acceptance, and it’s the likes of Baroness and Oakland’s High on Fire who are fighting this new front: journeymen bands who have existed and flourished for years but who are now finding themselves under a new spotlight. Matt Pike, High on Fire’s frontman, served time in the legendary stoner trio Sleep. But with Snakes for the Divine he’s making his strongest case yet for why people who aren’t into metal should at the very least appreciate music this… nasty.
The most impressive aspect of what is a boundlessly impressive album is Snakes for the Divine’s deft summation of various different metallic styles. Frost Hammer’s irresistible head-bang rhythm complements the opening title-track’s spiralling, galloping riffery, while the likes of Holy Flames of the Fire Spitter’s theatricality and Ghost Neck’s bass-heavy assault provide outlets for Pike’s seemingly endless creativity. And the biggest change of pace and most Sleep-like track here, Bastard Samurai – blessed as it is with a fabulous name that is as evocative as it is ridiculous – is a masterpiece of sludge metal brutality, slowly but inexorably rolling forward like a landslide.
Drummer Des Kensel and bassist Jeff Matz deserve credit for not only keeping up with Pike but ensuring he teeters at the top of his game via their own evident ability. The richness and depth of sound on the frenetic Fire, Flood and the Plague burns with the excitement and hunger of a band half their age and, like the rest of the album, liberally drips with ideas.
It’s tight, concise and thrillingly sharp – what makes High on Fire’s fifth album such a success is its intricacy and balance that allows it to appeal to more than your friendly neighbourhood metalhead. Those in the know will nod in approval; everyone else hitherto untouched by the gnarled clutch of Californian metal can consider themselves very much invited to get involved. --Ben Patashnik
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Top customer reviews
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.
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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Most recent customer reviews
Fire. Uh huh.
Oh. My. Word.
What an opening to an album!!Read more
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