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high on fire
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“I had a dream about Lemmy,” says Matt Pike, explaining the inspiration behind the title of High on Fire’s triumphant eighth album Electric Messiah.
“When Lemmy was still alive I always got compared to Lemmy,” the gravelly-voiced guitarist elaborates, “so I had this dream where he got pissed at me. He gave me a bunch of shit, basically, and was hazing me. Not that he didn’t approve of me, but like I was being hazed. The song is me telling the world that I could never fill Lemmy’s shoes, because Lemmy’s Lemmy. I wanted to pay homage to him in a great way. And it turned out to be such a good title that the guys said we should call the album Electric Messiah. Although at first the working title was ‘Insect Workout With Lemmy’,” he adds with a big laugh.
If there’s one aspect of High on Fire that warrants comparison to Lemmy’s mighty Motörhead, it’s longevity. 2018 sees the band celebrating 20 years of the most thunderous heavy metal, with brothers-in-arms Pike, bassist Jeff Matz, and drummer Des Kensel having been firmly intact for the last dozen years. Along the way the band has forged a distinct identity of towering riffs, a propulsive rhythm section, shredding solos,and lyrics of Hessian poetry that has drawn accolades from not only the metal community (notably Decibel, Revolver, Metal Hammer, Terrorizer, Kerrang! magazines) but from mainstream music scribes as well. Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, the Chicago Sun-Times, and The Village Voice are among the dozens of publications outside the metal scene to extol the greatness of High on Fire to curious readers.
Chicago’s Salvation brews together a strange mixture of sounds and genres in a bizarre yet strikingly inventive way. Noise Rock, Punk and Grunge are injected into both vocals and the instruments that make up the band, swirling together to create a sound all its own. The vocals are raw and commanding, seeming to simultaneously invoke both power and pain. The rhythm section remains the sludgy yet strong backbone while the guitar has an almost manic delivery, erratically tearing between full tone heavy riffs, unpredictable feedback and loose guitar solos. Salvation live performances have been repeatedly described as “a wild experience, bringing an unhinged energy and feeling of danger that has been missed back to Rock and Roll.”