High on Fire

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High on Fire
High on Fire live in 2022
High on Fire live in 2022
Background information
OriginOakland, California, U.S.
Years active1998–present
LabelsRelapse, Man's Ruin, Koch
MembersMatt Pike
Jeff Matz
Coady Willis
Past membersDes Kensel
George Rice
Joe Preston
WebsiteHigh on Fire on Twitter Edit this at Wikidata

High on Fire is an American heavy metal band from Oakland, California,[4] that was formed in 1998. Matt Pike, the band's frontman and founder, also plays guitar for doom metal band Sleep. High on Fire won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance with their song "Electric Messiah".


High on Fire was founded in late summer 1998[5] by Sleep guitarist Matt Pike, drummer Des Kensel, and bassist George Rice (from Dear Deceased, who originally auditioned to be the band's vocalist). The band's first full-length album The Art of Self Defense was released on 12th Records, and released later on Man's Ruin Records. (The album would later be re-released by Tee Pee Records, with two bonus tracks, as Man's Ruin Records had become defunct.)

In 2001, High on Fire signed a record deal with Relapse Records[6] and recorded the album Surrounded by Thieves. The album was released on May 28, 2002. After the tours promoting Surrounded by Thieves, bassist George Rice left the band and was replaced by ex-Melvins/Thrones bassist Joe Preston.

The band's next album, 2005's Blessed Black Wings, was largely written by Pike and Kensel before the recording of the album took place. The album was produced by Steve Albini, and was released on February 1, 2005. A music video was produced for the song "Devilution."[7] While touring with Goatwhore and Watch Them Die to promote Blessed Black Wings, Joe Preston left the band for undisclosed reasons, and was temporarily replaced by Zeke bassist Jeff Matz.[8] Matz finished the tour with High on Fire and became a full-time member during the recording of Death Is This Communion. Death Is This Communion was released on September 18, 2007 (September 10, in Europe).

After Death is This Communion was released, High on Fire played a small string of Northwest shows to promote it. The band did a headline tour of North America in September and October 2007, with support from the Japanese post-rock band Mono, along with Panthers and Coliseum.[9] High on Fire also played on 2008's Gigantour,[10] which was followed by a North American tour with the bands Opeth, Baroness, and Nachtmystium.[11]

Frontman Matt Pike performing in 2016

On December 17, 2008, High on Fire signed a recording deal with Koch Records. On August 1, 2009, it was announced that a new album would be recorded with producer Greg Fidelman.[12] Later that month, following the news of the new album, High on Fire announced a tour with Mastodon, Dethklok, and Converge. The tour spanned from October 2 to November 21.[13]

In August 2009, the band went into post-production of the follow-up to Death Is This Communion at The Pass Studios in Los Angeles. The album artwork for the new album was released on January 7, 2010.[14] On January 15, following the release of the album artwork, the song Frost Hammer was posted on the band's Myspace page,[15] and a video for the song was released on March 16, 2010.[16] High on Fire's fifth album Snakes for the Divine was formally released on February 23, 2010.

In March 2010, the band announced a headlining U.S. tour to promote the album; supporting bands for the tour include Priestess, Black Cobra, and Bison B.C.[17] On April 6, 2010, the band announced they would be opening for Metallica for eight European shows.[18]

In 2010, the band was confirmed as being part of the soundtrack for Namco Bandai Games' 2010 remake of Splatterhouse. On April 3, 2012, High on Fire released their sixth studio album, De Vermis Mysteriis. Metalsucks.net reviews editor Sammy O'Hagar argued that the band has "rebounded in epic fashion" since their last album, and that "Even for a band as esteemed as High on Fire, [De Vermis Mysteriis] is a career high point."[19]

High on Fire was scheduled to play the 2012 Mayhem Festival but dropped off the tour due to Matt Pike's health.[20] Pike returned to the band and they once again began touring in November 2012.

High on Fire's album Luminiferous became available in full for free streaming as a preview with NPR music on June 7, 2015, with the official release of the album nine days later on June 16.[21] Luminiferous is the second High on Fire album in a row produced by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou. NPR reviewer Adrien Begrand credits Kurt Ballou with "helping rejuvenate the band's sound" on their previous album, and praises the album as evidence of High on Fire's consistency, fueled by the "right combination of adherence to formula and subtle experimentation."[21] Dan Epstein, writing for Rolling Stone, concurs that "one could definitely make the case that [Luminiferous] is High on Fire's finest album yet."[22]

At the 61st Grammy Awards held on February 10, 2019, High on Fire won their first Grammy for "Best Metal Performance" for their song "Electric Messiah".[23][24]

Drummer and co-founder Des Kensel announced his departure from the band on July 26, 2019.[25] He was replaced with Big Business and ex-Melvins drummer Coady Willis in June 2021.[26]




Studio albums

Year Album details Peak chart positions
Hard Rock Albums
Independent Albums
Tastemaker Albums
Heatseekers Albums
Top Rock Albums
Billboard 200
Top Album Sales
2000 The Art of Self Defense
  • Released: March 7, 2000
  • Label: Man's Ruin
  • Format: CD, LP, 2×LP, DL
2002 Surrounded by Thieves
  • Released: May 28, 2002
  • Label: Relapse
  • Format: CD, LP, 2×LP, DL
2005 Blessed Black Wings
  • Released: February 1, 2005
  • Label: Relapse
  • Format: CD, LP, 2×LP, DL
2007 Death Is This Communion
  • Released: September 10, 2007
  • Label: Relapse
  • Format: CD, LP, 2×LP, DL
22 18 10 2 142
2010 Snakes for the Divine
  • Released: February 23, 2010
  • Label: E1 Music
  • Format: CD, LP, 2×LP, DL
5 6 4 14 63 63
2012 De Vermis Mysteriis
  • Released: April 3, 2012
  • Label: E1 Music
  • Format: CD, LP, 2×LP, DL
5 7 10 21 63 63
2015 Luminiferous
  • Released: June 23, 2015
  • Label: E1 Music
  • Format: CD, LP, 2×LP, DL
2 5 5 15 110 52
2018 Electric Messiah
  • Released: October 5, 2018
  • Label: E1 Music
  • Format: CD, LP, 2×LP, DL
5 5 4 23 127 24

Live albums

Year Album details Notes
2005 Live from the Relapse Contamination Festival Recorded on location at the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 19, 2003, for the Relapse Contamination Festival.
2013 Spitting Fire Live, Vol.1
  • Released: June 18, 2013
  • Label: E1 Music
  • Format: CD/LP
Recorded live at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan, New York on November 30, 2012, and at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York on December 1, 2012.[28]
2013 Spitting Fire Live, Vol.2
  • Released: June 18, 2013
  • Label: E1 Music
  • Format: CD/LP
Recorded live at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York on December 1, 2012.[28]

Singles, EPs and splits

Year Album Label Note
1999 "High on Fire" 12th Records EP
2003 "Hung, Drawn & Quartered / March of the Fire Ants" Relapse Records Split with Mastodon
2005 "Brother in the Wind / Gwodhunqa" Skin Graft Records Split with Ruins
2007 "Relapse Single Series" Relapse Records Split with Coliseum & Baroness
2012 "Speak in Tongues/Beast with a Billion Eyes" Volcom Entertainment Split with Valient Thorr
2019 "Bat Salad" E1 Music Record Store Day exclusive


Year Song Album Label
2010 "Frost Hammer" Snakes for the Divine E1 Music
2010 "Speak in Tongues" De Vermis Mysteriis E1 Music
2012 "Fertile Green" De Vermis Mysteriis E1 Music
2013 "Slave the Hive" Luminiferous Scion Audio/Visual

Music videos

Year Song Director Album
2002 "Hung, Drawn and Quartered" Jenny McGee Surrounded by Thieves
2002 "Razor Hoof" Babak Sarrafan Surrounded by Thieves
2005 "Devilution" Gary Smithson Blessed Black Wings
2007 "Rumors of War" Soren Death Is This Communion
2010 "Frost Hammer" Kevin Custer Snakes for the Divine
2012 "Fertile Green" Phil Mucci De Vermis Mysteriis
2013 "Slave the Hive" N/A Luminiferous
2016 "The Black Plot" N/A Luminiferous
2018 "Electric Messiah" (lyric video) N/A Electric Messiah


  1. ^ "High on Fire | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  2. ^ Violante, Isaiah. "High on Fire - Surrounded by Thieves". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved September 1, 2008. …manufacturing that sludgy, choleric sound…
  3. ^ "High On Fire And Power Trip Prove That American Metal Is Stronger Than Ever". Kerrang!. Retrieved July 20, 2021.
  4. ^ "About". High on Fire. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  5. ^ "High On Fire - Southern Lord". southernlord.com. January 10, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2023.
  6. ^ "High On Fire - Official Relapse Records Band Page". Relapse.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  7. ^ "High On Fire Complete Video For "Devilution" - in Metal News". Metal Underground.com. September 4, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  8. ^ "High On Fire Recruit Zeke Bassist For Tour - in Metal News". Metal Underground.com. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  9. ^ "High On Fire Announce Winter Tour Dates - in Metal News". Metal Underground.com. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  10. ^ "Gigantour 2008 Lineup Revealed - in Metal News". Metal Underground.com. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  11. ^ "Opeth Announces More Headlining US Tour Dates - in Metal News". Metal Underground.com. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  12. ^ "High On Fire To Enter The Studio - in Metal News". Metal Underground.com. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  13. ^ "Dethklok and Mastodon Announce Massive US Tour - in Metal News". Metal Underground.com. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  14. ^ "High On Fire Reveals New Album Artwork - in Metal News". Metal Underground.com. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  15. ^ "High On Fire Streaming New Song Online - in Metal News". Metal Underground.com. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  16. ^ "High On Fire Posts New Music Video Online - in Metal News". Metal Underground.com. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  17. ^ "High on Fire - new album (MP3) & 2010 tour dates w/ Priestess, Black Cobra & Bison B.C". Brooklynvegan.com. February 9, 2010. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  18. ^ "High On Fire: announces spring tour dates with METALLICA". Centurymedia.com. April 6, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  19. ^ O'Hagar, Sammy (April 4, 2012). "High On Fire's De Vermis Mysteriis: The Best Metal Album With "Mysteriis" In The Title Not Made By Mayhem". Metalsucks.net. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  20. ^ Pelly, Jenn (June 8, 2012). "High On Fire Cancel Tour, Matt Pike Entering Rehab". Pitchfork.
  21. ^ a b Begrand, Adrien (June 7, 2015). "First Listen: High On Fire, 'Luminiferous'". NPR.org. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  22. ^ Epstein, Dan (June 8, 2015). "High on Fire Talk Aliens, Acid Trips and Why New Album 'Doesn't Suck'". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  23. ^ "High On Fire Win Best Metal Performance". Grammy.com. February 1, 2019. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  24. ^ "High on Fire Win Best Metal Performance at 2019 Grammys". Loudwire. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  25. ^ "High on Fire Founding Drummer Des Kensel Announces Departure After 21 Years". Pitchfork. July 25, 2019. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  26. ^ Kennelty, Greg (June 21, 2021). "HIGH ON FIRE Recruits Drummer Coady Willis (BIG BUSINESS, Ex-MELVINS)". Metal Injection. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g "High On Fire Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  28. ^ a b "High On Fire - Spitting Fire live Vol. 1 & Vol. 2". Discogs.com. Discogs.com. Retrieved September 8, 2015.

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