The west coast sludge metal trio High On Fire have returned with their sixth album, “De Vermis Mysteriis”. At first glance, I thought maybe it was a nod to the Norwegian black metal group Mayhem, but turns out it’s more of a H.P. Lovecraft influence. High On Fire’s frontman Matt Pike explains what the album’s about, “What if Jesus had a twin who died at birth to give Jesus his life? And then what if the twin became a time traveler right then? He lives his life only going forward until he finds this scroll from an ancient Chinese alchemist who derived a serum out of the black lotus—which is actually in Robert E. Howard’s ‘Conan’ stories—and then he starts traveling back in time. He can see the past through his ancestors’ eyes, but his enemies can kill him if they kill the ancestor that he’s seeing through at the time.” And I do love me a good mystical/sci-fi concept album.
I’m just going to say it: “De Vermis Mysteriis” is a damned good album and High On Fire are a damned good band. The first track “Serums of Liao” explodes with a sound that could be likened to Motorhead thrown in a blender. It’s fast, gritty, and packs a fucking punch, which most of the album resemebles. A couple more songs that really stood out to me on “De Vermis Mysteriis” are “King of Days” and “Warhorn”. These are real sleazy, slowed down sludge metal that really bring out what I like about groups like High On Fire. “Madness of an Architect” (track 4) is real brutal concoction that could be the soundtrack to a nightmare; it’s then followed up by a great instrumental entitled “Samsara”.
High On Fire have been around a decade now, and if they keep putting out albums of such a high caliber as “De Vermis Mysteriis”, they’ll be around for another decade or two.
Artist: High On Fire
Album: De Vermis Mysteriis
Release Date: April 3rd, 2012
Label: E1 Music