High on Fire
Surrounded By Thieves


4.0
excellent

Review

by Joe Schmoh USER (17 Reviews)
May 15th, 2010 | 16 replies | 9,992 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Burgeoning heavy metal loaded with influences, this is metal as it was meant to be made. Also, Matt Pike riffs like hell.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

From the ashes of Sleep rises yet another high functioning metal band, the Matt Pike led High on Fire. As opposed to groovy, foggy stoner metal atmospheres, we get something much more high energy and heavier. As seen on their debut The Art of Self Defense, High on Fire sort of started off with a mesh of the groove-oriented sound of Sleep’s Holy Mountain with heavier riffing and darker lyricism, only slightly less sedated than Sleep’s material. With their sophomore effort, Surrounded By Thieves, we get a bulk more heaviness and less groove, which works into a mind jogging, no frills, heavy metal record that doesn’t really grow on you.

Surrounded by Thieves hasn’t completely lost the Sleep brand distortion pit, quite the contrary. It’s an album, despite it’s 80s-esqe pulsating rhythms and black metal inspired howls, is still covered with sludgy riffs, and slows down every chance it can. What differ in this effort from others are influences. Sleep was more influenced by 70s rock and drugs, and as a result, it’s bed of distortion rested upon bands like Black Sabbath and it grooved a bit more and felt some melody. High on Fire’s sound on this album is low on frills, high on pure metal. Groggy, down-toned riffs, aggressive shouts, spiraling solos, this is metal as it was meant to be made. In short, Surrounded by Thieves is a metal album made by metalheads for metalheads, as opposed to stoner metal for stoners. There are still minor slips of stonerisms, like the vocal effects and slow paced of the Doom-esqe “The Yeti (Vallad Of)”, but by this album those were starting to disappear in favor of their newer sound. Nowadays, it’s hard to picture High on Fire coming from Sleep, which is a mixed blessing, but at least we now know Matt Pike can absolutely shred on his guitar. What a relief.



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user ratings (150)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Parallels
May 15th 2010



6640 Comments


short review, but i liked it. its to the point, im not really into this kind of metal, but it seems an interesting listen. pos'd

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
May 15th 2010



7314 Comments


I need to get some more High On Fire, I only have their most recent two, both of which are great. Nice review.

Ire
May 15th 2010



41749 Comments


I love Sleep but I honestly cannot like this band. I've seen them twice actually.

rogerdiscoversherpes
May 15th 2010



34 Comments


Only really like Death Is This Communion. Couldn't get into this album so much.

O.J. Simpson
May 15th 2010



408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i've been digging through this bands stuff, so i'll probalby check out Death Is THis Communion next and then the most recent stuff. I've only heard the early stuff, which is pretty good.

HenchmanOfSanta
May 15th 2010



1852 Comments


I have everything except for this and Blessed Black Wings.

Good review, but I think you say "thrills" when you mean to say "frills."

O.J. Simpson
May 15th 2010



408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah

SteelErectedb4you8er
May 15th 2010



2613 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I like their whole entire catalogue, but Blessed Black Wings is my favorite. The first and second album are more doomy and the production isn't as crisp as the others, but it fits the sound they were going for on these albums. Good review, Matt Pike does indeed shred.

eggsvonsatan
May 16th 2010



1087 Comments


Love high on fire, but surprisingly i've never listened to this one. Time to check it out. However, this review doesn't really say much about the album.

evilford
January 30th 2012



21187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great album. some of the sound walls that HOF create are unbeleivable.

Digging: Demilich - 20th Adversary of Emptiness

evilford
February 8th 2012



21187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Yeti!

man I think their albums are way underrated here. I don't understand how the composite rating on this beast is 3.5

evilford
May 8th 2012



21187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hello neglected album

Shuyin
January 7th 2013



11168 Comments


solid 4 so far, fucking riffs are ruling again m/

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars

evilford
January 7th 2013



21187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes m/

DreamingWithTheDead
July 26th 2013



207 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This riffs better than Blessed Black Wings.

evilford
November 12th 2013



21187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

barely ^ but yeah



band needs more love



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