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De Vermis Mysteriis

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Editors’ Notes

Even in High on Fire’s hometown of Oakland, attempts to usurp Matt Pike’s throne (replete with screaming, shirtless frontmen) have only served as a reminder that there's absolutely nothing like the real thing. Titled after a 1936 book of magic, High on Fire’s sixth and most ferocious album, De Vermis Mysteriis, was produced by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou. “Serums of Liao” opens with a sonic assault, as Dez Kensel’s double kick-drum fires on all cylinders alongside Jeff Matz’s mountain-moving, Cliff Burton–born bass leads. Over this, Pike unleashes a blustering onslaught of six-string maelstroms as he howls in descending tones about potions forged from a black lotus. Throughout the album, Pike’s conceptual musings are threaded by a supernatural mythos about Jesus Christ being born a twin brother with the ability to travel through inter-dimensional time portals. Anyone familiar with Pike’s days in the band Sleep will appreciate the similarly sludgy “King of Days” and “Warhorn.” Still, it’s on aggressive songs like “Bloody Knuckles” and “Fertile Green” where High on Fire burns brightest.

Biography

Formed: 1998 in Oakland, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike, bass player George Rice, and drummer Des Kensel formed High on Fire in 1999, following the collapse of Pike's previous band, doom metal titans Sleep. But while Sleep had built their fame on impossibly slothful tunes and copious weed consumption, High on Fire's first release, The Art of Self Defense, displayed a far more aggressive though still fantasy-themed style of heavy metal. Released to mildly enthusiastic reviews, the album's prospects suffered from label Man's...
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De Vermis Mysteriis, High On Fire
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