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High on Fire

May 4, 2010

Sometimes the artistic synergy between members of a band becomes evident only in hindsight.  When combined, John Lennon’s melancholy and Paul McCartney’s enthusiasm produced truly life-changing records.  Individually, not so much.  John Lennon wrote some decent songs after The Beatles, but they were incomplete, and McCartney’s greatest post-Beatles achievement was Wings, which would have been totally forgettable if not for McCartney’s status as a former Beatle.

The plodding riff worship of stoner doom legends Sleep was based on the tension between two diametrically opposed sounds: charging, guitar solo-based heavy metal, and ultra slow drones.  When the band split in the mid-90’s, Al Cisneros’s drone based duo, Om, and Matt Pike’s classic metal trio, High On Fire, could have easily faded into obscurity.  Instead, their respective talents have only shined brighter.  Each band has honed a sound that would not have been possible in the context of Sleep.

Om’s meditative masterpiece, God is Good, has stayed in heavy rotation at the bike shop since last December, and earlier this month High On Fire released the metal maelstrom counterpoint, Snakes for the Divine.



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