Mushroomhead, with its radio-friendly riffs and Freaker’s Ball theatrics, might seem like an odd billmate for sluggish-paced sonic-assault trio High on Fire (pictured), but neither group can be judged on first impressions. Some accuse Mushroomhead of riding Slipknot’s coattails into the discount bin of history, but for the record, the Cleveland group did the whole masked-rocker thing first. High on Fire, on the other hand, must endure comparisons to Black Sabbath and singer/guitarist Matt Pike’s former group Sleep, two touchstones for the riff-heavy, distorted-bass movement known as “stoner metal.” But even with only three members and slightly fewer time changes, HOF shapes sludge into a wall of sound intriguing enough to keep even sober fans occupied for hours.

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