The Bay Area's own High On Fire played a free in-store gig at the legendary Amoeba Records in San Francisco to celebrate the release of their latest masterpiece Death Is This Communion
which came out today on Relapse Records. Since their main headlining tour unfortunately is hitting the Bay Area at a 21+ venue on back-to-back nights I was all over this one, not wanting to miss one of the best new bands around in such a setting and finally getting to see one of my personal metal heroes Matt Pike live.
I had no idea what to expect in terms of how the set-up would be for the show, since there isn't really a place for the audience to stand like at a regular show what with all the rows of shelves of CDs and LPs in front of the mini-Amoeba stage, especially since I knew it was gonna be a major turnout (which it definitely was). However things didn't get too awkward or cramped and I comfortably got to enjoy High On Fire's 35 minute performance from the very front, position right against the speakers for maximum eardrum shattering bliss. The sound wasn't as loud as it could have been, but I know they couldn't go all out since this wasn't just a High On Fire show and people oblivious to the show still came to shop (though as far as I could tell almost the entire place was there to see the show). Still it was loud enough to make my ears ring a little after the show, which is always a good sign since my ears rarely ring anymore no matter how loud the music gets
It wasn't eyeball-shaking, jaw-jarring loud, but still utterly pummeling. Matt Pike is also my favorite single guitar player I've had the privilege of watching (besides Iommi), he is an embodiment of heavy metal in every way. The rhythm section of Des Kensel on the skins and the dude who used to play bass in Zeke sounds like an avalanche. Kensel didn't hit as hard as I thought he would, but what he can do with such a sparse minimalistic kit is absolutely impressive. That sound that he gets, unmatched. Pike's 9-string guitar was also a treat, and coming through those giant Green amps, godly. Setlist:
1.) Fury Whip
2.) Waste of Tiamat
3.) Death Is This Communion
5.) Rumors of War
Before "Rumors of War" Matt announced that it would be their last song, which disappointed me even though I knew they could only play a short 30-minute set, but as the song ended just like on the album he kicked into the main riff of "DII" which just made the whole show, as it is my favorite song on the new album and in my opinion has got one of the best riffs ever. You can't tell me that shit isn't utterly skullcrushing in every way, then the way he lays down those sublime leads as the bass and drums are still bashing away, he is a modern guitar god as far as I'm concerned. I knew they'd only be doing songs to promote the new album, but I still really need to see them in a full headlining spot so I can hear those older tunes too. Everything was brutal as hell though, awesome show even if it was just a little teaser essentially, and the crowd (most of whom I recognized which was also cool) was into it and showing the love, excellent Tuesday night all the way around
Also bought the vinyl of Death Is This Communion
and had that a poster signed by all the guys, and lemme tell you Matt Pike is one of the gnarliest looking dudes I've ever seen, and that includes audience members, band members, hobos on the street, that guy is just too much
He's also got enough tattoos to make Dennis Rodman jealous. But anyways, badass, go fucking see High On Fire on their upcoming tour with Mono and Coliseum if you can!
Saw tons of people filming btw so when I find some clips on YouTube or whatever I'll post em.