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CD review: HIGH ON FIRE, Snakes for the Divine

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CD review: HIGH ON FIRE, Snakes for the DivineBy Ben Apatoff

Just like the most famous serpent in the Old Testament, Snakes for the Divine will lead you into temptation. It could make you disavow orders, seek knowledge, find your most carnal instincts or just bang your head until your spine shatters. In any case, HIGH ON FIRE's newest monster can be compared to an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. Take a bite and there's no return to your previous state of naive passiveness, but you'll be all the better for it.

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On their last album, Death is this Communion, High on Fire expanded their punk and progressive aspects into several epic tracks and a few short thrashers. Here, nearly every song feels both epic and short, with even the eight-minute tracks flying by like hardcore classics. The title track sounds like a newly uncovered Kill 'Em All demo being assaulted by MOTORHEAD, growing from one of High on Fire's greatest riffs to date into a high-powered sludge tornado. Stoner metal almost never sounds this brutal–"Ghost Neck" is thrash war that will scare away hipsters who ripped the last BARONESS record, and MATT PIKE's  bark of "Frost Hammer's" title is sure to be a High on Fire show highlight this year. A few haunting Sabbathian tracks ("Bastard Samurai," "How Dark We Pray") pace the album with some beautifully slow riffage, and "Holy Flames of the Firespitter" sounds like it's calling in all the elements to obliterate the listener. What–like the earth is going to disobey DES KENSEL?

Rating: 4 Hammers of the 5 Gods

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