With a heavy-handed approach and a sound that crashes like thunder, High On Fire has put the power back in 'power-trio'. Less a band than a supersonic exercise in conquest by volume and sheer heaviness, the group has burned the metal rulebook and forged a new archetype. High On Fire was formed by guitarist Matt Pike in the late summer 1998. Formed out of the need to simply play guitar again, Pike jammed with and settled on a line-up of powerhouse drummer Des Kensel and longtime guitarist friend George Rice, who made the switch to bass to round out the trio.
High On Fire got straight to the point, bashing away with a Neanderthal sense of purpose and creating hypnotic, droning waves of powerful riffs and low-end thunder of the likes not heard before. Before the band had even made it's first live appearance, labels flocked to get a piece of the trio. In the end the band chose to record with the Mans Ruin label. Their 2000 debut full-length, The Art of Self Defense, was welcome respite from commercialized rap-metal and warmed-over stoner-rock cliches of the time. It served up a rock hard, unorthodox form of modern metal cloaked in strange religious theology and the trio's style was unique, distinct, and absolutely crushing. Accolades poured in the world over.