High on Fire

Matt Pike has finally gotten so stoned, he's decided to try something different. Pike is the former leader of Sleep, who almost single-handedly carved out the genre known as stoner rock from the remains of Black Sabbath's fetid carcass. Pike's current band High On Fire built on 2002's dominating Surrounded By Thieves by exploring an expanded vocal range, booming drums, forever-molten riffs and Maiden-like nods to Arthurian swords and sorcery. It's not rapid-fire, but compared to Sleep's early efforts, it's speed metal. No longer the best stoner-metal band in the land, High on Fire is now clearly, simply one of the country's best metal bands, period.