High On Fire
Spitting Fire Live Vol. 1+2
01 July 2013
by Tom Gibbons
With a tracklisting practically reading as a Best Of…, spanning all the way from 2000’s The Art of Self Defence through to last year’s De Vermis Mysteriis, High On Fire’s latest double-live album Spitting Fire Live serves both as a no-brainer purchase for fans, as well as a great (and way overdue) introduction for newcomers to the Oakland trio. Tracked over a pair of shows in December 2012, the Spitting Fire Live Vol 1 & 2 recordings were passed on to Greg Wilkinson and Converge’s Kurt Ballou for mixing, and offer a raw, no-frills playback of High On Fire’s stage performance.
High on Fire’s super-powers derive from the synergy between Des Kensel’s pummeling drum patterns and Matt Pike’s riff-machine brain, and for the most part this dynamic comes across superbly on ‘Spitting Fire’, largely due to the extra grit of Matt Pike’s live guitar and vocals, although it’s a shame that occasionally instances of this famous trait (such as the killer intro passage for ‘Devilution’ from 2005’s Blessed Black Wings) get lost somewhere in the mix.
Watch the video to ‘Fertile Green’ by High On Fire:
It is worth mentioning that there is virtually no audience interaction, neither is there any emphasis on building and capturing the live atmosphere (listen to the intro of Slayer’s Decade of Agression for a textbook example), which slightly detracts from the (albeit canned) live experience. The only other single criticism one might have is that Spitting Fire doesn’t appear to have been filmed for release either instead of, or in conjunction with the audio. Nevertheless, Spitting Fire Live Vol 1 & 2 are still essential purchases for High on Fire fans, given the strength of track selection and Pike and co.’s overall execution.
Sounds Like: Mastodon, Orange Goblin, Motörhead
Standout Tracks: Snakes for the Divine, Rumours of War, 10,000 Years