Sunday, November 17, 2019

Liquid Death Presents High On Fire Power Trip, Devil Master, Creeping Death

Doors | 6:00 pm // Show | 7:00 pm

High On Fire

“HIGH ON FIRE is the sludgy resin from 30 years of super-hard-rock history transubstantiated into three men from Oakland with low-slung jeans.” – Ben Ratliff, New York Times: ROCK REVIEW; ‘Underground’ Means Digging for Pleasure”. October, 2002
Words written more than two decades ago to quantify a group that “played as if they invented hard rock” following a live performance at the former Northsix in Brooklyn, hold even more weight in hindsight.
Universally recognized as one of the most potent acts in music today, High on Fire creates dynamic metal that merges primal fury and aggression, hesher bombast and hall of fame heaviness. Described as “a supersonic exercise in conquest by volume,” High on Fire has rewritten the hard rock rule book since its formation in 1998, forging a style and sound that is both critically celebrated and unique.
“I think this band’s always had a really good drive,” states vocalist/guitarist Matt Pike. “We’re all just really ambitious. It’s definitely a specific type of person that is going to listen to a High on Fire record. I don’t think it’s meant for the whole of society to consume. It’s a little bit rough for the radio sort. It’s a different entity. It’s its own thing. Which, I think, makes all of us very proud to be a part of it. It’s not an average band.”
It has been more than five years since the band’s revered LP, ‘Electric Messiah’, earned High on Fire ‘Best Metal Performance’ at the 2018 GRAMMY Awards placing the unit among the ranks of groups such as Black Sabbath, Motorhead, and Metallica as winners of the prestigious award, presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry.
“Being nominated for a Grammy was pretty mind blowing, but winning one was truly surreal,” says bassist Jeff Matz. “A Grammy win was certainly not something we were aiming for, but it’s quite an honor to be recognized in that way, and we are grateful. In terms of how it’s affected us, it has definitely opened some new doors—we’ve gained some new fans and wider recognition, but it hasn’t changed how we approach our craft. We’ve always tried to create uncompromising music that feels good to us, and is in line with what we would want to listen to.”
In the half decade since the band’s Grammy nod, the world has seismically shifted and is a different place. The same can be said for High on Fire. The band’s musical archetype has been modded, morphed, and evolved; its blast radius widened. Bassist Jeff Matz joined Mutoid Man and traveled abroad to study and learn the techniques of Middle Eastern folk music and the plucked string instrument, the bağlama (or saz), Matt Pike formed a solo band, released an LP, and toured the U.S., and world-renowned percussionist, Coady Willis, he of Melvins, Big Business, and Murder City Devils united with Pike and Matz to breathe new life into the group a quarter century into its captivating career.
“Coady was definitely at the top of my wish list when we found ourselves looking for a drummer,” adds Matz. “We go way back.”
Willis agrees. “I’ve known Jeff since his band, Zeke, took my band, The Murder City Devils, out for our first European tour ever. Big Business, my other band, when we first started touring, in 2003, we had like five CDs in our van that we listened to and one of those was High on Fire’s ‘Surrounded by Thieves’, so I’ve definitely been familiar with the material for a long time.”
In 2011, High on Fire and Melvins united for a tour that was marred by two devastating earthquakes, first in New Zealand, then in Japan; two unprecedented natural disasters in a 16-day span. The bands – cumulatively including Matz, Pike, and Willis – were in Christchurch, New Zealand at the time of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake then in Tokyo, Japan at the time of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
“We’ve all known each other for a really long time,” Pike offers. “When the idea of Coady joining the band popped up, I said, ‘Dude, absolutely. It’s fuckin’ Coady Willis. Let’s get that goin’.”
The lead track on High on Fire’s new album, ‘Cometh the Storm’, is the invigorating “Burning Down”, a vigorous barrage which exemplifies the prowess the unification of the three professional musicians owns.
“Burning Down” kicks off with a classic Pike riff,” says Matz. “I think this song harkens back to the early High On Fire sound, but infused with fresh, new elements. It’s a lot of fun to jam on, and It has a killer groove that you can really sink into. The body of the song took shape in our PNW rehearsal space, and we came up with the bridge/solo section and finalized the arrangement while we were at GodCity. Kurt Ballou’s input as a producer was also hugely helpful. His keen ears and fresh perspective were invaluable in making this album.”
“It’s interesting, whenever there’s a lineup change in a band,” states Ballou. “It can take a little while to rebuild. But it’s also an opportunity to reinvigorate the band and I think that’s what’s happened here.”
It’s funny, Matt and I both honed in on ‘Cometh the Storm’ as a possible album title, individually at different times,” adds Matz. “I was listening to the demo recording that we had laid down and that line, “cometh the storm”, really stuck with me. Months later we were at GodCity listening to the playback of Matt’s vocal take for that song, when he said ‘Should we call the album ‘Cometh the Storm’?’, so we were tuned into the same wavelength. I think the title suits the dark, foreboding feel of the album, as well as allegorically reflecting the uncertain times we’re living in.”
“Being a fan of each other’s bands for a long time, and especially after many shared experiences, it feels like all bets are off and anything goes which is a liberating feeling,” shares Willis. “That feeling of making something out of all of these imperfect parts and it becomes this magical, weird, new idea that none of us ever anticipated. Against all odds. That’s the joy of it.”

Power Trip

Creeping Death