High on Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis (Eone Music)

You know the drill by now...
Release Date: 
2 Apr 2012 - 11:30pm

Despite the fact that High on Fire have been releasing albums for years (12 to be precise – fact-fixated Ed.) there’s something gratifyingly static and gloriously immobile about them.

Not static in a non-progressive, AC/DC kinda way, though; There’s a very definite progression between the band’s first release on Man’s Ruin all those years ago (The Art of Self Defense) and their latest outing. I’ts just the sense of dreadful heaviness, the reek of ‘no compromise’ that the band gives off in 2012 is just as strong as it’s ever been, leading people like myself to loyally follow whatever Matt Pike chooses to do safe in the knowledge that there will be no sellout, no disappointment for the faithful.

If anything, within the parameters that the band has set for itself, De Vermis Mysteriis is the most opulent, most ambitious High on Fire album yet (note: I didn’t say best, because I think any of the bands Relapse releases are just as good if not better). There’s an epic sense of grandeur linking much of the material (especially the thoroughly magnificent King of Days), a sense of completion that suggests the band themselves feel that they’ve finally attained the sound they’ve been striving for all this time. The good news is this level of sophistication has been achieved without sacrificing any hint of heaviness; The result being an album that, whilst not featuring any of the standout highlights that have peppered the band’s other albums (although King of Days may well, in time, prove to be such a highlight) is easily the bands most accomplished and cohesive work to date.