From snakes for the divine to the mysteries of the worm, Oakland, California’s stoner/sludge titans, High On Fire, have a way of winding their deepest philosophical ruminations into complex lyrical tapestries framed by a face-ripping sonic alchemy. Over the Memorial Day weekend bassist Jeff Matz took some time to enjoy the great outdoors and discuss with Metalholic the mystery of the worm, or as the trio’s new album title relates– De Vermis Mysteriis.
The album marks the band’s second effort for new label E1, and their sixth studio recording overall. The brainchild of guitarist, vocalist and Sleep alumni Matt Pike, High On Fire are renowned for their twisted album concepts and De Vermis Mysteriis is no different. The time traveling brother of Jesus sent back in time… It’s a convoluted tale only the warped mind of Pike could create, which makes it all the more intriguing.
For the new album, High On Fire tapped Converge guitarist and master producer Kurt Ballou (Kvelertak, Rise and Fall, and a truckload of others) to man the helm. Matz and the rest of the band were highly pleased with the end result, and have nothing but praise for Ballou’s work. “Aesthetically he really kind of knew what we were going for,” offered Matz. “He definitely brought an element of rawness to the sound that wasn’t as present on the previous record. At the same time maintaining clarity and punch. It just sounds massive. And that’s what we really liked about his stuff to begin with. I can’t say enough good things about the guy.”
This summer the band will get its first opportunity to play Rockstar Energy’s Mayhem Festival. “It’s a high profile fesitval for sure,” enthused the bassist. “And man, come on, to get to watch Slayer and Motorhead everynight. I mean that right there, you know? We’re really stoked for sure. Hopefully we’ll turn some new people on to what we’re doing that have never heard us before.”
Matz also revealed that he is an avid fan of reading science fiction novels. “I’m into a lot of obscure sci-fi from like the 60s and 7os. An author, A E van Vogt— he’s a really good one. There’s a book of his called Slan that I really enjoy. He’s got a lot of good ones.”
High On Fire will be tearing up the road this summer as part of the 2012 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. Appearing with High On Fire will be Slipknot, Motorhead, Slayer, Anthrax, As I Lay Dying, The Devil Wears Prada, Asking Alexandria, Whitechapel and many others.You can get a full list of tour dates for Mayhem here.
You can listen to our full interview with Jeff Matz below and read our review of De Vermis Mysteriis here.