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Art of Self Defense

High on Fire Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Price: $14.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Art of Self Defense + Snakes for the Divine + De Vermis Mysteriis
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 31, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Southern Lord
  • ASIN: B00882EU7Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,409 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Bagdad
2. 10,000 Years
3. Blood from Zion
4. Last
5. Fireface
6. Master of Fists
7. Steel Shoe (2001 7 inch)
8. The Usurper (2001 7 inch)
9. Blood from Zion (1999 Demo)
10. 10,000 Years (1999 Demo)
11. Master of Fists (1999 Demo)

Editorial Reviews

Cult metal favorite High On Fire was formed by former Sleep guitarist Matt Pike in late summer 1998. Berthed out of the need to simply play guitar again, Pike jammed with and settled on a line-up of powerhouse drummer Des Kensel and longtime guitarist friend George Rice, who made the switch to bass to round out the trio. They had scarcely been together for a few months before demo-ing three songs. That demo, featuring 'Master of Fists' and instant classics '10,000 Years' and 'Blood From Zion', became among the most sought-after tapes in the underground metal scene. High On Fire got straight to the point, bashing away with a Neanderthal sense of purpose and creating hypnotic, droning waves of powerful riffs and low-end thunder of the likes not heard before. In 1999, the 3 songs were eventually pressed onto compact disc by a brand new label called 12th records that also doubled as the US dealer of Pikes amp of choice: Matamp. Throughout '00, High On Fire continued writing for their debut full-length. The band recorded their debut with Sleep engineer/producer Billy Anderson at Shark Bite Studios in Oakland, CA. 'The Art of Self Defense' served up a rock hard, unorthodox form of modern metal cloaked in strange religious theology and the trio's style was unique, distinct, HEAVY as all f**k and absolutely crushing. The album immediately became a cult classic and not even the closure of the label that released the album (Mans Ruin) could stop the powerhouse that had been unleashed. Tee Pee records reissued the album in 2001 with 2 bonus tracks: 'Steel Shoes' and a ripping cover of the Celtic Frost song, 'The Usurper'.

In the wake of 'The Art of Self Defense', High On Fire signed to Relapse records and released what would be ultimately be the last album with bassist George Rice entitled, 'Surrounded by Thieves'. Over the next 10 years, the group tirelessly toured the globe and have gone on to be one of the most revered and successful metal bands there is. Rarely has metal been as powerful and pure in its ability to translate primal fury and aggression. They have burned the metal rulebook and forged a new archetype.

Hot on the heels of the restored and remastered reissue of Sleep's 'Dopesmoker' album, Southern Lord strikes while the iron is blistering with another essential holy grail documentation. 'The Art of Self Defense', 2012 issue, was remastered by Brad Boatright who also helmed the remaster of 'Dopesmoker'.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sabbath for the new millenium? October 8, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Black Sabbath may generally be credited with inventing sludge, but High On Fire are doing a highly commendable job of bringing Sabbath's sound into the new millenium. "Art Of Self-Defense," their debut album, sounds sort of like the Sabbath classic "Master Of Reality," except with the heaviness multiplied a few dozen times for one of the most punishing assaults in recent memory. For about an hour, vocalist/guitarist Matt Pike and company rain down the musical equivalent of fire and brimstone on the listener, leaving little choice but complete submission. Catchy music this is not: these songs are typically ponderous, doomy, and downright frightening. At bottom, "Art Of Self-Defense" is about one thing: achieving the ultimate guitar sound from hell. And it's a smashing success. I might even go so far as to say this album has the heaviest guitar sound I've ever heard; it's certainly up there at any rate. Every song here is a mountainous epic, filled with massive Iommian riffs that will pummell you upside the head and leave you woozy. The rhythm section brings to mind a herd of lumbering dinosaurs, and Pike's strangulated vocals and screaming guitar solos only add to the general insanity on display. So if you like it heavy, be sure to check this one out, and pick up their followup "Surrounded By Thieves" while you're at it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Here, Try A Hit of Pure Metal March 8, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Imagine watching a huge, roaring title wave rolling in from the ocean and come crashing down right at your feet. Listening to High On Fire is a lot like that.
They are basically a little faster version of Matt Pike's old band, Sleep. Take Black Sabbath and a little Motorhead and then add about 500 lbs. of weight on the guitar and you'll get an idea of what they sound like.
On "The Art of Self-Defense", the first three tracks are the strongest, which draw you in and never let you out. The momentum is established by guitars never let up. The heavy, driving riffs lift you up and carry you away. Listening to them may make you feel dazed and confused.
The vocals, guitar, bass, and drums all fit together making the overall sound united. All the musicians seem to be on the same wavelength.
High On Fire is the progression of pure metal without any influence from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal of the late `70's and early `80's ( except for the singers voice that sounds like Lemmy of Motorhead ). It's nice to hear a purified form of metal in a time when it's been watered down and fused with every form of music known to man.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous September 17, 2012
By Hubcap
Format:Audio CD
I usually don't get that geeked up about remastered re-releases. Sure they sound a little different, but the songs are the songs, you know? Alas the 2012 version of High on Fire's Art of Self Defense proves that I am an idiot. This thing is astounding. It's relentless and thunderous and yet somehow still sounds fresh. I can actually listen to it start to finish without the dread ear fatigue/tedium setting in - something not really true of the original version.

If you have the original, it is actually still worth picking this up. If you don't, it is definitely worth getting. A monster ride through and through.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavy and Hard will rule the world January 7, 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
High on Fire are credited with ressurecting the sound of Sabbath, but I find that they bring back the sound of too often overlooked bands like early COC, the Accused, Black Flag, early Melvins, etc but much slower and more precise. It's the awesome raw power of the afformentioned bands combined with a sludge death hammer that will kill "stoner" and "doom" bands and send all of them home to read their copies of MAD magazine at their mother's house. Fans of old HARDcore, not the comedy stuff that gets pushed today will freak over High on Fire. Anybody will freak over this stuff, it's just awesome.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Vinyl|Verified Purchase
I've loved this album since I first heard the Man's Ruin release around 2000. To hear this so clear on vinyl, everything pops out, there's such clear distinction even when the bass and guitar just form a wall of sound you can hear what all three musicians are playing. The black vinyl sounds wonderful, very open and grooving. The three demo tracks had never been "mass released" before, not to say southern lord is a hugely popular record label, but releasing these three demos was very special for me, as I never did track down a copy of that demo. I have everything this band has done. I have their name inked in my arm. I've seen them 4 times. i was at the ny gig that was recorded for the new album, which I cannot wait for. I have the cd of this, but wanted to hear the vinyl difference, and it is huge. If you have decent speakers and a sub, turn it up and float in riff heaven. This is my second favorite album of all time, behind Master Of Reality only. i give this album to friends and they all love it. Too bad nothing the band has done since their second album sounds like this, for the most part. So righteous seeing this band's fury live, and when they bust out a song from Art...I go insane. Such a rush. I've never felt more alive than after a slaying from High On Fire, and that's a fact, Jack.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought this at the Grog Shop show December 17, 2012
Format:Audio CD
This an HOF debut album remastered with a 48 page photo book which I have not seen these photos anywhere online before. Their all The Art Of Self Defence era photos so you get alot of George Rice, Dez and Matt sometimes when he had a beard going, really cool. Not only that but it comes with the hard to find 3 song demo from 99'. I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Matt before and after the show, He's super laid back and cool and you can tell he loves his fans. By the way the show was at the Grog Shop on Dec 4th and the set was killer and so is the sound of this CD. Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful trio
This reissue includes the entire original first studio classic heavy metal album from High on Fire. In addition, are included a 2002 ep with two cuts as well as the three song... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jeffery A. Vogel
5.0 out of 5 stars 10,000 Years of Fuzz!
This, IMO, is the best HOF album by far with Snakes For The Divine coming in a not so close 2nd. Art Of Self Defense is much slower that the rest of their albums but also has... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Leadhead09
5.0 out of 5 stars Classi album!!
I got this High on Fire album when i wanted it, and still in the wrapper as advertised. Everyone should own this album.
Published 6 months ago by michael neary
5.0 out of 5 stars One of best hardcore/Metal albums of all time
If you think you rock or are punk and don't listen to this regularly
than you don't and aren't
Join the church of Master Pike the Riff Master
Published 8 months ago by Gretchen Zwetzig
4.0 out of 5 stars Check it out if you like HoF
The debut is a pretty raw affair, but I like it. The drumming as with every album is ripping good. The riffs are simple, repetitive and roar with drunken fury. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Random Dude
5.0 out of 5 stars Really solid album
If you just caught on to HOF's later albums you must have this.... Bagdad is mind blowing, followed by 10000 years.
Published 20 months ago by Chancey
5.0 out of 5 stars Had to pick it up... HOF RULES!!!
I've been a fan of this band since I heard surrounded by theives, from there I was hooked. I can't get enough of Matt Pike's thunderous playing and Dez beating the s*** out of his... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Six
5.0 out of 5 stars Stoner Metal Classic
Classic debut from one of the most critically acclaimed metal bands of the last ten years, High On Fire. Read more
Published on July 30, 2011 by Mitzi Tuborg
5.0 out of 5 stars Retro
Makes it feel like 1971 in your mind.

Highlights amongst an pack of highlights include "Fireface" "10,000 Years" and especially "Master Of Fists"
Published on March 12, 2007 by Donald Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars Pike's Re-Emergence
After Sleep tripped into legal and personal problems, the band ceased to exist, and Matt Pike slumped into a period of depression and no musical output. Read more
Published on February 6, 2007 by Tom Chase
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