High on Fire

The album isn't expected to drop until sometime in February, so things could change -- but according to High on Fire frontman Matt Pike, the sludge metal trio's forthcoming LP is tentatively titled 'Snakes for the Divine.' And Pike says its perhaps the most progressive offering the band's ever churned out. Arik Roper will once again be handling the album's artwork.

"We went a little over-aggressive with the drumming, and me and [bassist] Jeff [Matz] collaborated a lot more throughout the songwriting process," Pike tells Noisecreep. "We went for a more aggressive approach. It's what we do well. We went for a heavier, ballsier, faster-paced sound that still has a lot of cleverness to it ... there are lots of stops and stalls, crazy licks. It's really heavy, a little more aggressive than our last album, a little less psychedelic. For the most part, the songs are amazing."

The Oakland, Calif., act recorded the new album with producer Greg Fidelman, Rick Rubin's right-hand man. At first, the band had written over four hours of music, which they'd eventually whittle down to an hour's worth of sludgy, doom-riddled metal. Working with Fidelman was a pleasure, says Pike. "He's a genius," the singer says. "He knows what he's doing. We thought we'd butt heads but we ended up seeing eye-to-eye on a lot of things."

High on Fire are currently on the road with Converge, Mastodon and Dethklok, "trying to build momentum" for the release of 'Snakes for the Divine.' But High on Fire's association with Dethklok and Mastodon goes way beyond mutual admiration. In fact, Mastodon's members all met at a High on Fire concert in 1999.

"[Bassist] Troy [Sanders] and [guitarist] Brent [Hinds] were in a band called Four Hour Fogger, and High on Fiore was playing with them. And [drummer] Brann [Dailor] and [guitarist] Bill [Kelliher] just happened to be there that night," recalls Pike. "Six months later, we all saw them at the Relapse offices. We did so many tours together ... like 200 or 300 shows in three years. It's been fun to be on tour with them."

Early on in the tour, Pike claims Hinds stopped the entire tour caravan -- just so that he could ride with the High on Fire guys. "One night, he stopped the convoy of buses to come and hang with me on our bus," Pike says. "He couldn't smoke pot on their bus, so he stopped all the buses to come on ours. We've been best friends since we met, and we love those dudes. And it's really cool to get on tour with them. We're like family."

And on the next season of 'Metalocalypse,' Pike says he'll be featured as a character on the show and did some voiceover work for the cartoon recently in Los Angeles with the guys from Mastodon. "I don't want to say anything more, or I'll start giving stuff away," Pike says.