Snakes for the Divine

High on Fire

Expectations can erect hurdles only overcome by a willingness to engage in repeat listens. The sum of this album’s noticeable dependence on recurrent musical themes and absurdly inaccessible vocals will likely be repellent to the uninitiated — however, after a few more spins, it generously rewards a patient preference for deliberative, psychedelic heavy metal. On their fifth studio recording, this band is again brandishing an impenetrable front line of heavy rhythmic chops punctuated by artillery blasts of precise solo strikes, unleashing a full-fledged assault of stoner guitar war. Yes, it’s predictable, but in the era of the MP3-flavor-of-the-minute, consistency and tenacity are admirable. High on Fire are again confidently straddling the escarpment between sludge and speed, making Snakes for the Divine a stoic frigate of safe harbor for shred-heads.