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High On Fire, hailing from Oakland, California, is a prominent act in the American heavy metal scene. Identifiable as classic heavy/sludge metal, High on Fire’s playing style also includes elements of thrash and stoner metal.
The band consists of founding members Matt Pike on guitar and vocals (formerly of the California doom metal band, Sleep) and Des Kensel on drums, with Jeff Matz (of the hardcore punk Zeke) on bass, since 2007’s “Death Is This Communion.”
High on Fire’s debut album, “The Art of Self Defense,” was released by Man’s Ruin Records in 2000. From there, High On Fire went on a five-year, three-album tenure with Relapse Records before signing with E1 Music for their 2010 release, “Snakes For the Divine.”
High On Fire’s latest record, “De Vermis Mysteriis,” produced by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, was released on April 3, 2012, and was well-received by both fans and critics alike. It is a concept-album, loosely based on the idea of time-travel,
The band has performed on several large national and international tours, including Gigantour in 2008, and opened for Metallica during the European portion of their 2010 tour. The band was listed to play 2012’s lengthy Mayhem Festival, but had to drop out of the tour due to guitarist Matt Pike’s health, and admittance into rehabilitation.
Despite this, High On Fire is expected to play at 2012’s DeLuna Fest in Pensecola, Florida, on September 21 through 23, adding a surprising punch to the already diverse and eclectic lineup.
High On Fire is recommended for fans of similar metal acts Baroness, The Sword, Electric Wizard and Kylesa.
Charismatic multi-instrumentalist and jack-of-all-trades Franz Nicolay played a free show at Ybor City’s New World Brewery on April 25. Nicolay has performed with an impressive list of musical acts, most notably the circus-punk World/Inferno Friendship Society and indie rockers The Hold Steady.
An affluently skilled vocalist and performer, Nicolay spoke with Bulls Radio’s Andie Cunniffe in between his two passionate, eclectic sets about growing up, and his views on building a diverse presence in the music industry.
Matthew Ward’s highly-anticipated seventh studio album and follow-up to 2009’s Hold Time, A Wasteland Companion, was released April 6, 2012. The album sees a welcome increase in energy from Ward’s previous releases, and builds upon Ward’s airy, folk/jazz vocal style.
A Wasteland Companion also features two tracks in collaboration with actress/musician Zooey Deschanel, only previously donating her voice to Ward’s side-project She & Him.
Sixteen students from USF’S Try New Things Club caught a behind-the-scenes look at the operating facilities of The Florida Aquarium in Channelside, Tampa on April 14. During the visit, the club learned what keeps the aquarium and its thousands of aquatic wildlife specimens alive and well.
The half hour tour was given to the club at a reduced, $10 group rate. It began midday with a peek into the facility’s kitchen, where Grade A provisions are kept to keep the aquarium’s many species well-nourished.
Admittedly, I’d never heard of The White Buffalo, led by singer-songwriter Jake Smith, before picking up their debut full-length album, “Once Upon A Time In the West”. At bare, first glance, the album matched many of my strict criteria for new musical obsessions.
When I caught English folk act Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls in October 2011, the show quickly took the position as one of my favorite performances. Always checking event dates at The Ritz in Ybor City, I noticed the band would be playing with Boston-based celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys for their annual St. Patrick's Day Tour on March 5: Two acts I'd fallen madly in love with, sharing a stage. Double whammy. This wasn't going to be a show to miss. I ordered my ticket, and began counting down the days until the big night. The event sold out two weeks before the show, an inevitability any good Murphys fan would have anticipated.