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Snakes For The Divine [Explicit]

February 23, 2010 | Format: MP3

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Song Title
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Popularity Prime  
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6:37
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5:01
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1:20
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4:13
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By James J. Pfeiffer on February 24, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Another reveiwer likened Snakes for the Divine to HOF's first two albums, which were solid releases that sounded like they were recorded in a unisulated garage. This record is not what I expected to follow Death is this Communion and Blessed Black Wings. Not bad, but more of a throw back to their earlier wotk. Dez Kinsel is supposed to be using a double bass drum for the first time on any HOF album and the stripped, basic sound that I like from him is gone. Jeff Matz's bass sounds excellent but my biggest critisim of the album is not the music itself or song structure. It's that Matt Pike's mic sounds like it was only halfway plugged in while recording. The producer, Greg Fidelman, is really a mediocre soud guy (World Painted Blood, anyone?).
I saw HOF with Dethklok and Mastodon last year and had high hopes for this record. Death is this Communion is better, however.
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Format: Audio CD
It's a grower of an album, I'll say that much. I wasn't sure at first, especially with how damn good Death Is This Communion was.

The first bunch of times I listened to Snakes For The Divine, it felt like all the songs were interchangeable - no real pacing or order. It sounded like they wrote a bunch of songs and put them together and called it an album, whereas Death Is... sounded like the whole thing was written as an album, and was meant to be listened to as such - with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

Hopefully, with repeat listens, Snakes will deliver and find its identity as an ALBUM. Right now, it holds up as a killer collection of songs though. And the songs do rip. I realized as I was listening today that the song "Snakes For The Divine" reminds me a bit of classic Metallica, in that, when I was a kid, I never realized that the song "Master Of Puppets" was over 8 minutes long, because it never felt like it took that long to listen to. The same goes for "Snakes..."

I read another review that suggested that the last 2 songs on the album should be switched. Thanks to iTunes, you can do that. Upon listening to the album in that order, "How Dark We Pray" would have made a much better album closer.

But, like I said at the beginning there, this album is a grower. Every listen reveals more and the songs only get better with repeat listens.
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Format: Audio CD
Prior to the recording of High On Fire's follow-up to 2007's "Death Is This Communion," Matt Pike split with his longtime girlfriend. The frontman used all of his emotions from that bitter turmoil stemming from this break-up as a springboard of inspiration for 2010's "Snakes For The Divine." But instead of bogging down in whiny, feather-lite emo territory and "I'm so sensitive" lyrics, Pike instead hunkered down in a studio and recorded the heaviest, nastiest, and most viscerally-satsfying effort of H.O.F.'s career.

Brutal (and eminently memorable) guitar riffage tear throughout this nearly forty-six minute playing time. Indeed, Pike comes up with some of the heaviest (and therefore best) licks that he has ever put to wax over the course of these eight tunes -- and that is really saying something when you consider that this is the man that used to front influential doom metallists Sleep. And his vocals sound angrier than ever, too. But neither one of these two things would be nearly as effective or potent without a rock-solid rhythm section that could bust-up concrete. And that is precisely what the other two members of the band provide. Four-stringer Jeff Matz lays the foundation for the music by pumping out viscerally rumbling bass lines while Des Kensel backs him up with some surprisingly punishing drum battery. Indeed, by opting for a more extensive use of double-kick drumming now than ever before, Kensel's drumming sounds impeccable, very forceful, and often quite thrashy throughout.

The leadoff title track sets the tone for the album really well, even if, at eight-minutes and twenty-three seconds in length, it is more epic than the rest of the bunch.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It happens every single year.
As soon as I feel ready to finally give up on my favorite music genre, along comes an album that manages to sound fresh and transcends the overhyped trendy bands that crowd a long creatively dry scene, singlehandedly restoring my faith on heavy metal, humanity and all that's good with the world.
In 2010, High on Fire's Snakes for the Divine was such album.
Folks, this is 100% pure, skull-crushing metal that transcends useless subgenre labels and gives all those insipid, trendy post whatevercore bands a much needed knee deep kick in the rear.
Longtime fans of the band feared that choosing Greg Fidelman as the producer of this album would result in a disaster, because of his previous work on Slayer's World Painted Blood and Metallica's Death Magnetic. Considering that this band had such luminaries as Steve Albini and Jack Endino sitting on the producer chair on previous offerings, he had some gigantic shoes to fill, and thankfully, did a much better job than anyone could expect.
Even if this is the cleanest sounding album by High on Fire, it's still massive and powerful, with all the instruments expertly placed in the mix. Des Kensel's powerhouse performance deserves a special mention: a multitude of so called metal drummers could learn a thing or two about technique, groove, dynamics, and finally, how to hit the skins like the hammer of the gods instead of sounding like a pathetic click track just from listening to this record.
The album's opening eponymous track starts with a surprisingly out of character unaccompanied tapping intro, similar to the beginning of AC/DC's Thunderstruck. After forty five seconds, the rhythm guitar drops in, and the band punishes the listener for eight and a half glorious minutes.
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