By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Embodying the implicitly dangerous recreation expressed by their name, power trio High on Fire deliver savage chronic metal thunder with pecs-flexing panache blending portentous chug and pyrotechnic flash. Singer/guitarist Matt Pike growls with feral ferocity like Lemmy's long-lost twin over fluid fever-blister leads chasing locomotive rhythms on the rails of thick resinous grooves.
Pike's legend was first burnished in '90s stoner/doom-metal cult faves Sleep, whose droning riffage pummeled you into submission. High on Fire founded shortly after Sleep's 1998 dissolution, and, with this new project, Pike upped the tempos and replaced repetitious riffing with high-flying acrobatics, while still retaining a similarly ominous throb. In turn, his band's gathered commercial and creative steam across five albums, culminating in February's Snakes for the Divine, whose six-minute-plus tracks are particularly well-realized, wasting little motion despite their length.
Headliners Suicidal Tendencies' self-titled '83 debut helped define thrash and skatepunk, but the band's never come close to replicating it (despite re-recording it in '93). Though they're still a seething live act, their latest (and first release in a decade) is mostly rehashed material. 'Nuff said.
Openers Kylesa don't color within genre lines, mixing stoney prog metal, punk and psych in exciting ways, augmented by occasional female vocals, making them well worth an early arrival.