Music » CD Reviews

High on Fire

Death Is This Communion (Relapse)


Stoner-metal stud Matt Pike and his current crew's fourth album, Death Is This Communion, roils with squalling gale-force winds. Featuring Babylonian mythology seemingly lifted from D&D's Monster Manual, the disc doesn't contain a single track that immediately grabs you like "Anointing of Seer," off 2005's Blessed Black Wings. But it does feature the heaviest of heaviocity, as well as Pike playing his new 50-string axe. Okay, it only has nine strings, but it does make for unique intros to several songs, including "Cyclopian Scape," which sounds like Jimmy Page lost on the moors, and "Waste of Tiamat," wherein Pike's power-gathering thrum sets the stage for a jam that pounds like a pissed-off gorilla.

As for the vocals, Pike delivers some of his best ever; he even sounds like Lemmy on "Rumors of War." But overall, the riffs are dense and the songs develop at a methodical pace, so you're probably going to dig Death Is This Communion more a year from now. Regardless, a new disc means a High On Fire tour, which entails Pike performing shirtless acts of metal sorcery in the flesh. Awesome.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.