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Every High on Fire Album Ranked Worst to Best

Formed in a garage, like all great American enterprises, by way of Guitar Wizard/shirt hater Matt Pike and drummer Des Kesnel, High on fire mixed the psychedelic otherworldliness slow as molasses doom of Black Sabbath with the speed and fury of Motorhead, bringing a motherload of riffs, spliffs and no blips in album quality. For the next 10,000 years, High on Fire will be a sure way to scratch the fiery itch of metalheads in all universes and planes of existence and are even releasing an album later this year.

So pick up your beer bongs and crack pipes as we crack open one of life’s deepest mysteries, by ranking every High on Fire album from worst to best.

8. The Art of Self Defense (2000)

High on Fire’s debut album comes at the bottom of the list, but there are no bad High on Fire albums, it’s just that this album feels like it’s half Matt Pike’s former band Sleep, and half nascent High on Fire, and lacks the adrenaline of future releases. While it may have required a tune-up, High on Fire were still a well hash-oiled machine, and since we could love them at their worst, we could more than handle them at their best (or whatever Marilyn Monroe said).

Play It Again: “Last” (But not worst)
Skip It: “Fire Face”


7. Blessed Black Wings (2005)

The first time that High on Fire collaborated with a former Melvins Member in the form of Joe Preston, you can feel the growing pains of a band looking to solidify its sound while also branching out into unknown territory. But in the scattershot songwriting still lies many kickass riffs, and proved with a tweaking of ingredients, the proverbial cauldron that was High on Fire’s songs were going to turn us all into gods among men soon.

Play It Again: “Blessed Black Wings”
Skip It: “Songs of Thunder”


6. Surrounded By Thieves (2002)

High on Fire’s second spin ‘round the record table ramps up the tempo, as if waking up from a “Sleep,” so to speak, to deliver an outing that was as Heavy as it was furious, suitable for Warlords of all ages and stages, lest your haters surround you. And they hate us ‘cause they ain’t us. Or they are just shirt enthusiasts, which is just as bad.

Play It Again: “Speedwolf”
Skip It: “The Yeti”




5. Luminiferous (2015)

The first High on Fire album to be recorded after Matt Pike swapped out booze for the blood of his enemies to clean up his health while approaching middle age, since even rock gods need to watch their diet. This was to the betterment of us all, providing a sense of renewal, reinvigorating the sound of High on Fire, and providing some of their cleanest and meanest sounding material of their illustrious career.

Play It Again: “The Black Plot”
Skip It: “The Sunless Years”



4. Electric Messiah (2018)

High on Fire’s surprise Grammy win was also a win for the Hardcore scene as a whole, with Matt Pike giving a career best vocal and guitar performance, and giving the man, the myth, the legend Kurt Ballou some much-needed recognition, since his propulsive production prepares all for the pit for this party. It was also the final album with skinsman second to none Des Kesnel, who presumably is spending his days hunting wild beasts in the Louisiana wilderness, in order to skin them to make more brutal drums. An electrifying experience all around. Would they find a drummer just as ferocious…aaaannnnd they have Coady Willis (another ex-Melvin) now, so the answer is hell yeah brother.

Play It Again: “Electric Messiah” (the song and album)
Skip It: “The Pallid Mask”

3. De Vermis Mysteriis (2012)

Arguably the perfect fusion of High on Fire’s Sludge and Thrash Aesthetics, as the prophecy foretold, this album is based on the theory that Jesus had a twin who became a time traveler, woven into the fabric of history, possibly in the form of one of Matt Pike’s idols Lemmy, and there is proof of this. Born on the 24th of December with flowingly magnificent hair, preaching a message of love and acceptance with an appreciation for sex workers, Lem was a better Christian than most so called “Christians” today, so we accept this tribute to our Lord and Saviour at the number three spot on our list.

Play It Again: “Fertile Green”
Skip It: “Interlude”

2. Death is this Communion (2007)

Both a kickass album and empirically true statement, since death binds us all, this was the first release to feature now longtime bassist Jeff Matz, doubling the amount of Matts in High on Fire, allowing this Matt-squared iteration to elevate. The mass of Matts now could mathematically equate chess moves on the fretboard of their guitars that doubled the doom, gloom, and metal thrashing mad sound of this album. In the name of the Matt, the Pike, and the fury whip, Amen.

Play It Again: “Rumors of War” Into Dll
Skip It: Part of “Death is this Communion” (Song)

1. Snakes for the Divine (2010)

Opening with the title track that provides one of Metal’s all time great riffs, this album is so fire that you can use it to light a fat blunt. Now look in your soul as the music makes your mind start to drift, the tunes provide a lift as you enjoy one of the best metal albums of all time from one of the best metal bands fronted by one of the best guitarists of his time. So when you fall down, just give this album a spin so you can rise up once again.

Play It Again: “Snakes for the Divine” (Song and Album)
Skip It: No skips, only snakes (Sorry Indiana Jones)