"De Vermiis Mysteriis"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Never in your life will you hear drumming as powerful as Des Kensel does it here. Every strike is a hammerblow that rattles your skull, delivered with the precision of a piston revving in a race car. The drumming just thunders in this album, matching the infamous guitar of Matt adds so much to  the overall recording. Full kudos to producer Kurt Ballou, who is getting to be quite the busy boy on the production front.

Is it still fashionable to hate on High On Fire or have people gotten their heads on straight yet? I give a hearty "fuck you" to any fool that denies the power of "De Vermiis Mysteriis", named after a forbidden book of lore. I thought the last High On Fire "Snakes For the Divine" was quite acceptable but it sounds like Asking Alexandra next to the sludge storm we get here. Wormscribe Thor accurately described first song "Serums of Liao" as "caveman raw"...right on the money, bub! Wow, this shit is fierce and heavy and Pike's guitar growls in a way it hasn't since "Surrounded By Thieves". Just a massively brutal kick to the head, followed by the groovy gut-punch of "Bloody Knuckles" and the raging "Fertile Green", where Des again knocks 70 tons of fertilizer out of his drum kit, which must be screaming for mercy by now

With "Madness of the Architect", this album really goes into overdrive. Beginning with oozing sludge guitar echoing the tones of early Sunn 0))), this turns into an absolutely amazing track of gooey goodness. High On Fire have gone back to their roots completely on this one. "Samsara" lightens things up with a psych guitar workout before "Spiritual Rites" again brings the pain with bare-fisted glee. Points also to bassist Jeff Matz, who keeps it low and mean. The rest of the album blows through more raw tracks before ending with the lumbering battle dirge of "War Horn", where Pike sounds like his throat hasn't had any moisture for ten years.

A mixture of the old, the new and the altogether heavy, "De Vermiis Mysteriis" fill force anybody who said High On Fire was past it to eat massive amounts of crow.