San Francisco's High On Fire was formed by doom metal expert Matt Pike, formerly of Sleep, in 1999 six months after the dissolution of Sleep. George Rice switched from guitar to bass in order to be a part of the band. A self-titled EP in 2000 enabled the band to tour with Alabama Thunder Pussy. Next up was a CD called The Art Of Self Defense through Man's Ruin. When that label went out of business High On Fire signed with Relapse, which released Surrounded By Thieves in 2002. Shows with Motörhead, Godflesh and others followed.
Blessed Black Wings appeared in early 2005. Death Is This Communion appeared in mid-2007, by which time Jeff Matz was on bass. The group set up a tour of America with Mono, Panthers and Coliseum. The band signed a deal with Koch Records in December of 2008. The band's next album was expected in late 2009. The band’s former label, Relapse Records, would release a live album entitled Live From The Relapse Contamination Festival on January 6th, 2009. High On Fire completed work on its fifth studio album and the follow-up to 2007's Death Is This Communion in late 2009. Entitled Snakes For The Divine, the record was released on February 23rd, 2010 through E1 Music. High On Fire released a new studio album, called De Vermis Mysteriis, on April 3rd, 2012 through eOne Music. high On Fire announced that it was forced to miss participation in Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival of 2012 as singer and guitarist Matt Pike was entering treatment for alcohol rehabilitation. Southern Lord Recordings announced the reissue of The Art Of Self Defense, the first recording from High On Fire, on July 31st, 2012. High On Fire would release a new album, called Luminiferous, on June 23rd, 2015 through eOne Music. It was produced by Kurt Ballou and is the follow-up to 2012’s De Vermis Mysteriis. The band would open for Meshuggah in the autumn of 2016. Psycho Las Vegas was a festival taking place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on August 26th-28th. 2016. Organized by the organizers of Psycho California, the three-day and three-stage event would play host to nearly one-hundred acts from around the world with a focus on riffs, doom and psychedelia. Bands included Death, Blue Öyster Cult, Converge, Down, Drive Like Jehu, High On Fire, Sleep, Pentagram, Yob and exclusive 2016 US performances from both Electric Wizard and Candlemass. Enslaved and High On Fire would tour Europe in September 2018. High On Fire issued an album called Electric Messiah through Entertainment One in October. Municipal Waste and High On Fire announced a co-headlining U.S. tour that November. High On Fire pulled out of the Speed Of The Wizard co-headlining tour of USofA with Municipal Waste, which also included Toxic Holocaust and Haunt. High On Fire singer Matt Pike was having a toe partially amputated. The group canceled its U.S. tour with Toke and Year Of The Cobra due to a new medical emergency by singer Matt Pike. The band lost drummer Des Kensel in June 2019.
HIGH ON FIRE - BLESSED BLACK WINGS - RELAPSE
High On Fire has increasingly become a respected and relevant name in metal, due somewhat to the excellence of 2002's Surrounded By Thieves. Part Motörhead with a tab of doom acid like Warhorse or Electric Wizard, High On Fire manages to both rock out and zone in: it's cool to have such diversity on record. Where Blessed Black Wings excels past anything in the band's catalogue, however, is via the emphasis on sick speed and massive groove - it sounds paradoxical, but the combination is there (in spades). A lot of people are taking notice of High On Fire 'cos of this release, and the group might be, err, blessed with buzz band status, even if the Mastodon-ish passages were a bit more effective at the source. Still, an intriguing listen. - James Tape