High on Fire

High on Fire aren't new to the music business. Five albums in, 'Snakes for the Divine' is taking off and shooting the California metal band to new heights. So while positive reviews in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune are nice, the band members don't care much. This doesn't equate to being jaded, though; they're more like ambivalent to critics. The one thing that made the members of High on Fire stand up and take notice was entering high on the Billboard chart. Critical acclaim is one thing. Fans actually paying for music is another.

"To see we're in the Billboard charts? That's crazy at number 62!" exclaimed High on Fire drummer Des Kensel to Noisecreep. "It's like, 'What the f---?' I thought that was pretty cool."

Kensel also thinks his band's success might say something more important about metal in general. Often shoved aside as underground or less artistic, metal bands are coming back in full force and continue to make a big impact in the music business.

He said, "I think especially after the last record and all the touring we did -- and especially all the support tours [like] Megadeth or Opeth or Dethklok and Mastodon and whoever else. We definitely saw a lot of our old fans, and we definitely got a lot of new fans. And so [the fans] definitely stepped up and came out that first week to buy the record."

While Kensel wouldn't say that metal is finally mainstream, he did admit to believing the genre is more accepted these days, especially in America. Some of it has to do with constant touring of new bands and also an appreciation for classic metal.

Kensel continued,"I live in [Oakland, Calif.] and right up the street from me is Oakland High School, and at lunchtime or after school, all the kids are walking around and there's a bunch of 'metal kids' mixed in with all the 'hip-hop kids.' Just like seeing the clothes that kids wear nowadays, it's almost like a throwback to what the metalheads wore when I was a kid."

'Snakes for the Divine' is available via E1 Records.