Metal Review: High on Fire – The Art of Self-Defense (Re-issue)

High on Fire - The Art of Self-DefenseSouthern Lord Recordings has decided to re-issue sludge metal band High on Fire’s debut release The Art Of Self Defense on July 31. The landmark release has been completely remastered and enhanced by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Noothgrush, OFF! etc.) and includes the addition of the band’s first ever demo, two bonus 7” tracks as well as a 48-page booklet! Not too shabby of a re-issue at all if you ask me.

We all are already familiar with the debut release from the Oakland, CA power trio, so I do not want to waste too much time on a review of the original album itself, but if you are not familiar with High on Fire, you should know that there are dark and heavy with an oily, sludge sound that not many bands in this genre have ever been able to touch. You could say that they are a stoner rock at their peak.

With the recording remastered and touched up, the sound of the album is enhanced, but still as raw as ever. Each riff is as chunky as the last one and you simply become enthralled in the leads. The guitar work is not astounding by any means, but the tracks are well placed and done as good as they need to be for each track. Of course, the depth of their sound comes from the the bass lines which never seem to end.

If you have never heard, The Art of Self-Defense, this re-issue should be enough of a reason to give High on Fire a try.

The Art of Self Defense Track Listing:
01. Baghdad
02. 10,000 Years
03. Blood From Zion
04. Last
05. Fireface
06. Master of Fists
Bonus 7” Tracks (2001)
07. Steel Shoe
08. The Usurper (Celtic Frost cover)
Self-Titled Demo (1999)
09. Blood From Zion
10. 10,000 Years
11. Master of Fists

High on Fire Lineup:
Matt Pike – guitar, vocals
Des Kensel – drums
George Rice – bass