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High On Fire
De Vermis Mysteriis
September 2012
Released: 2012, E1 Music
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: UK Team

High on Fire are a three piece band from California with members of Sleep and Om in the barracks and chaotic sounds in deliverance the band themselves who formed in have built up a reputation of being a tornado sound wall that reconstructions the boundaries of genre. The latest album or “The Mysteries of the Worm” is a based on a cryptic tale that takes a couple of listens to grasp in it’s entirety but works sublimely.

Opening the story with “Serums of Liao” combines the similar power punch of minimal members in the sound arsenal but creating many layers of chaotic stances that all interlace into bombastic creations of destruction. This melee of rich sound continues into “Bloody Knuckles” which is a another busy and crunchy distortion fuelled song that quickly dissipates into “Fertile green” that crashes into the sound waves like angry horse leaving a paddock.

With similar sounding tracks “Madness of an architect”, “Samsara” and “Spiritual rights” all have looping uncomfortable grating sounds that flow in like ribbons of riff ready deluges. While in full flight of the experimental mid-section of the album with speed triplets and complexities of majestic musicianship the tracks wonder off in many directions while still telling the same story in the end. With power hungry drum thumps and screeching vocals that get trapped by walls of feedback. With the slow tracks breaking into a high point then back into the cryptically elusive structures in distortions making stories of their own and creating something quite beautiful.

“King of Days” comes back down from the haze with mammoth chord progression and drum loops playing out the battle sounding track. The title track “De Vermis Mysteriis” sounds like a combination of mastodon meets doom with tangents of talent bursts flowing throughout the track, making for an interesting piece of straight forward music. With the returning to the complex with “Romulus and Remus” sounding like something from Sleep’s back catalogue which spins familiarity and new together that defines High on fire’s style.

Ending with the porous to prog sounds the track “Warhorn” is laced with deep thought conjuring vocals telling the finale of the story, joined by waves of chaotic guitars and multilayered groove metal power.

Review by Ashlinn Nash
Track Listing

1. Serums of Liao
2. Bloody Knuckles
3. Fertile Green
4. Madness of an Architect
5. Samsara
6. Spiritual Rites
7. King of Days
8. De Vermis Mysteriis
9. Romulus and Remus
10. Warhorn


Matt Pike - Guitars, Vocals
Des Kensel - Drums
Jeff Matz – Bass

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