Thursday, April 12, 2012

Song of the Day: High on Fire, "Fertile Green"

How can High on Fire get any heavier? Aren't metal bands supposed to indulge their prog-rock side, swing for a hit single or reheat their old ideas by album number six? Never one to rock on the beaten path, Matt Pike is celebrating his third decade as a road dog by finding new ways to thrash.
After a successful reunion with stoner metal pioneers Sleep, Pike seemingly has exhausted his sludge tendencies for now. High on Fire's newest, De Vermis Mysteriis, thrives on speed metal riffs and solos, plus drummer Des Kensel's gargantuan fills. Thanks in part to producer Kurt Ballou, the band has never sounded better. Case in point: "Fertile Green."

High on Fire's best songs ("Devilution, "Headhunter/Rumors of War") arrive with Kensel introductions, and the rhythms that announce "Fertile Green" promise something ferocious. Pike barges in with some riffs for the ages, plus a solo and breakdown of Slayer-like proportions. High on Fire have always had chops, but it's downright astonishing to hear how much they improve between albums. Stoner metal? Nah, that indicates sloth.

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