Live Review: High On Fire @ Rescue Rooms

The stoner-sludge band High On Fire have been touring Europe, and on June 22nd they visited

Rescue Rooms to peddle their unique brand of metal. Jake Longhurst reviews.

After having been positively tenderised by Knocked Loose the night previous to this, I was feeling a little knackered, and was very ready to stand towards the back and relax for most of the show. When I arrived and heard the main support DVNE however, I decided differently. Their emphatic, swashbuckling style of progressive metal was a thrill to experience live, and is not something to be missed out on. I’d never heard of them, and due to High On Fire’s slightly minimalist take on social media coverage it was not exactly simple to find out when they were playing, but I managed to arrive just before their set began and by the end was thoroughly headbanging along on the barrier. I’ll definitely be checking out some of their music on Spotify, they were a joy to behold!

Now onto the headline act! High On Fire are often referred to as a Motörhead rip-off band, or Motörhead worship, etcetera. What I would like to make abundantly clear before continuing is that not only are they not deserving of the phrase rip-off, whilst their sound may hold a lot of debt to Motörhead, they are a different beast altogether, and one that can take a live venue by storm completely of their own volition.

With my mini-rant now complete, I can begin to describe how excellent the band were. Matt Pike, enigmatic frontman and metal legend, strolled onstage with all the purpose in the world, making his presence keenly known. He cut a surprisingly imposing figure, walking on with all the confidence in the world, shirtless and covered in tattoos. He was a man of very few words between songs, and in turn it felt almost like an exhibition of the band’s discography, as if we’d been given the privilege to witness them showing off their music one song after another. The performance was thrilling, with music crashing over the audience like a wave, the signature sludgy sound of the band being almost forced out of the speakers.

Songs like Spewn From The Earth and Rumors Of War caused glorious uproar in the crowd, with Pike exercising his massive presence on stage to great effect and creating an incredible atmosphere, full of energy and excitement. The rest of the set didn’t let up either, giving us plenty more moments to headbang furiously along with the music, and the removal of an encore was a wise decision, letting the music flow from the beginning to the end. I would also suggest that in no small part was the lack of encore driven by their song choice for finishing, as 'carnage' would be the simplest way to describe the effects of their set closer, and biggest song, Snakes For The Divine.

"The performance was thrilling, with music crashing over the audience like a wave, the signature sludgy sound of the band being almost forced out of the speakers."

They kept the song moving for the full eight minute length, and the crowd didn’t let up either, with the high-octane riff causing a final stir of renewed vigour amongst the crowd that allowed High On Fire to really cement the set as a proper bruiser amongst the crowd. Matt Pike had an enormous grin on his face during the song, and finished up by throwing picks into the crowd and cheering with us, before walking off after a fantastic set.

Jake Longhurst


Edited by: Jodie Averis

Cover image courtesy of The Mic's own Jake Longhurst.