California’s High On Fire let loose an album of gargantuan proportions with De Vermis Mysteriis, the follow up to 2010’s massive Snakes For The Divine. Similarly huge, De Vermis Mysteriis is a much dirtier affair; pummeling riffs and absolutely gigantic swells of sound make up this mystical journey into darkness. Based loosely on a grimoire written by Robert Bloch (the author of Psycho) and subsequently incorporated by H.P. Lovecraft into his universe of Cthulhu, this is an unashamedly heavy and punishing record.
Charging out of the blocks immediately with opener “Serums of Liao,” De Vermis Mysteriis lays out its cards for all to see. That stoner rock vibe flows throughout the voice of Matt Pike and his wails render all those around to dust. Rough and drenched with unrestrained venom he crunches and bellows in sync with the coarse tone of his guitar, the swelling riffs taking on a life of their own around the base structure of the track.
Driving with a militaristic drum beat (Des Kensel), “Madness of the Architect” takes a slower approach without sacrificing the gritty texture of the record. Marching along with a sordid atmosphere, the rumbling bass (Jeff Matz) sounds pulse with a heady breath of intoxicating desire leading into the instrumental “Samsara.” Again a slow burning piece that shows High on Fire pushing the traditional heavy metal aspect of their music, the riffs screaming like the 80’s doom explosion happened only yesterday and launching into the Motorhead worshipping “Spiritual Rights” and the gorgeously melodic “King of Days.”
Closing De Vermis Mysteriis (translated as The Mysteries of the Worm) with “Warhorn,” the electric charge cuts through the initial meandering pace. High on Fire content to let the flame burn slowly and deliberately whilst layering diabolic roars of sound.
De Vermis Mysteriis is downright filthy. And it is glorious with it.
8.5 / 10
Posted Aug. 18, 2018, 10:32 a.m.
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Posted March 20, 2018, 5:59 p.m.
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