And the band achieved a fame that had eluded Sleep: High on Fire's mythological lyrical bent coupled with Pike's shredded screams and molten riffwork and Kensel's Satanic drum-corps attack has made them a legendary force in heavy music. Each album has seen the band refine their uncouth burliness; many consider this spring's Snakes for the Divine (Koch Records) their best for channeling unchecked aggression into epic tracks of pure rock majesty.

Pike himself is seen as the next Lemmy, a wizened rock lord endowed with a primal metal gift. But he's skeptical of this sort of demagoguery. "Sure, there's superstitious hype, and a superstitious mythology. And I can't control that — I'm used to it, I guess, and I don't get mad about it. But to me, it seems like it's just the nature of populations and crowds and the hysteria that people get into. Humanity needs something like that to believe in, you know? That's where all religions come from, the popular hysteria of crowds. I mean, I didn't create myself, you know? But I guess it's something that people need — and it's hard for me to complain. Personally, I'm just trying to get to work every day, to persevere. That's all I can really do, in the end."

HIGH ON FIRE + TORCHE + KYLESA | Middle East downstairs, 480 Mass Ave, Cambridge | October 23 at 9 pm | 18+ | $18 | 617.864.3278 or

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Related: Photos: Torche at the Middle East Downstairs, Photos: High on Fire at the Middle East, Photos: Autolux live at the Middle East, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Music, Matt Pike, Middle East Downstairs,  More more >
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