Follow us:

Soundposts

A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

December 10, 2013 at 4:08 PM

High on Fire bring Neanderthal energy to El Corazón | Concert review

(Promotional photo courtesy of the artists)

(Promotional photo courtesy of the artists)

By Todd Hamm
Special to The Seattle Times

Oakland stoner metal trio High on Fire’s psychedelic distortion fest rattled ear drums and bones Sunday at El Corazón, as hundreds of metal-loving masochists packed the venue shoulder-to-shoulder and created a fervent mosh pit in the center of the room.

Stoner metal could be called the California cousin of grunge, and it evolved around the same time (late ’80s/early ’90s). A lyric-light, riff-heavy sub-strain of hard rock, it is often marked by tangential progressions and technical rhythmic breakdowns. The style enjoys the same intense energy and aggression that made grunge so appealing, but swaps out the trebly anthems woven into grunge’s DNA for the dark notions of Black Sabbath. High on Fire, along with Atlanta’s Mastodon, have become the sub genre’s torch-bearing practitioners.

HOF jumped onto the El Corazón stage Sunday night and dove right into the scrum, plowing through a heavy helping of their most recent album, 2012’s “De Vermis Mysteriis,” including “Serums of Liao,” as well as the album’s punishing title track.

Playing the entire show shirtless, vocalist/guitarist Matt Pike spat lyrics out of the side of his mouth, and roamed the stage like a predator stalking his prey while doling out cosmic solos and monstrous guitar lines. By look alone, one could imagine the heavily tattooed and barrel-chested Pike, scruffy bassist Jeff Matz and hard-hitting drummer Des Kensel thriving in prehistoric times.

Their attitude did nothing to discourage that notion. Pike had some mic stand issues at one point, but appeared to settle them with a few pounds into the floor.

The recently (as of last year) sober Pike kept the banter scarce, and when he did interact, it was to scream the name of the song on its way, or to quickly thank the crowd for coming. His words were not soaked in booze; they were fueled on the power of rock.

As the band closed with “Snakes For the Divine” (the opening of which sounds a little like AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”) from their 2010 album of the same name, Pike looked through the crowd, and even threw out a smile.

It was a near perfect set: powerful and to-the-point, with the crowd roaring its approval at every turn.

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: "De Vermis Mysteriis", Concert Review, High On Fire

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►