Released July 31, 2012
Cult metal favorite High On Fire was formed by former Sleep guitarist Matt Pike in late summer 1998. Berthed 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. They had scarcely been together for a few months before demo-ing three songs. That demo, featuring Master of Fists and instant classics 10,000 Years and Blood from Zion, became among the most sought-after tapes in the underground metal scene. 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. In 1999, the 3 songs were eventually pressed onto compact disc by a brand new label called 12th records who also doubled as the US dealer of Pikes amp of choice: Matamp.
The Art of Self Defense, 2012 issue by Southern Lord, was remastered by Brad Boatright who also helmed the remaster of Dopesmoker.