Smile Politely

High on Fire

Beloved by press outlets ranging from Blabbermouth to the Chicago Tribune, Oakland’s High on Fire are eerily good at toeing the line between satisfying metal purists and a more mainstream sound which has placed them at the forefront of the latest metal revival.

While the group have five studio albums to their name — their current tour, dubbed “Sanctioned Annihilation” is in support of this year’s Snakes for the Divine their live show is where things come together, as singer/guitarist Matt Pike, bassist Jeff Matz, and drummer Dez Kenzel create a brutally focused attack strong enough to knock a crowd back, but pointed and palatable enough so as not to scare away too many. As John Darnielle (yes, the Mountain Goats guy) said, “it’s hard not to feel like you’re honestly watching one of the best bands ever”. As far as praise goes, it doesn’t come too much better than that.

It strikes me, however, that I should probably run down some essential stoner listening, since this isn’t too terribly well-known of a genre — this is the point at which you want to finally listen to that Boris album you read the review of on Pitchfork and downloaded. Granted, HoF will be a good bit faster than most of these, this should give you a decent rundown of what constitutes stoner doom. We’ll start with Matt Pike’s pre-High on Fire project, the legendary Sleep:

Sleep – Dragonaut

Electric Wizard – Dopethrone

Kyuss – Asteroid

Boris – Blackout

High on Fire – Frost Hammer

Opening up will be Savannah, Georgia’s Kylesa, who take a more experimental approach to metal which includes two drummers (often panned far left and right) and both male and female vocalists, and the more conventional (but still awesome) Miami-based Torche.

Since HoF are a relatively simple power-trio, there probably won’t be any problems with the mix turning to shit, as it did at the should-have-been-awesome Mastodon show back in May — I’m still recommending ear plugs though, because this is probably going to be an ear-burstingly loud show.

High on Fire perform tomorrow (10/9) at the Canopy Club with openers Torche and Kylesa. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $15 in advance.

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