High On Fire has been amassing a catalog of good metal albums—each one better than the last one—but there was a growing concern that the band might not have that great album in them. It has been three years since the band’s last effort, Death Is This Communion, and for a band that makes their bread and butter on the road like High On Fire, I began to wonder just what the band was doing with their seclusion.
The answer is: secretly creating their first truly great album.
The Scion Rock Fest. What can I say? It was great. I was really amazed to see how many of the bands were from Atlanta. Of course I think the idea behind it was to “showcase” local talent and most likely to “save money” on airfare. Keep in mind that most of these bands, with the exception of 3 or 4, are fairly well known in the underground metal scene.
Another thing that struck me as odd would be that they called it a “rock fest.” Clearly a festival featuring bands like Mastodon and Skeletonwitch (MySpace) is anything but “rock.” I’m thinking “Metal Forced Up Your Ass With A Fork Scion Fest” would have been more apt. Then again, anyone at Toyota selling the idea of a free concert to boost the coolness factor of Scion might have to call it rock rather than metal. Is Scion metal? I think now it very well may be…sorta.
The venue was the perfect setting for this kind of event. It was large, gloomy, and had so many creepy vibes I was as gleeful as a little boy in a candy store. The Masquerade in Atlanta is an old paper mill that has been a music venue for some time, which made it a really cool place to witness such heavy and broootal tunes. The show got to a late start giving me time to wander the grounds and take some photos.
More than anything, you have to admire High On Fire frontman Matt Pike’s stoic dedication to the stoner metal ethos. His work within this Oakland power trio essentially is a continuation of the formula he already helped perfect during Sleep, a band who’s sludge is revered enough that they’re rightfully cited as one of the most important metal bands in the past quarter century.
Add that body of work along with the four albums he’s done with High On Fire, and you’ve got nearly two decades of fairly devoted shit-hot magma rock.