High On Fire – “De Vermis Mysteriis” Review

Oakland power trio High On Fire release their 6th album “De Vermis Mysteriis ‘on the 23rd April across Europe via Century Media Records. The album’s title (translation: “The Mysteries of the Worm”) is a nod to a fictional grimoire conceived by the late, great Psycho author Robert Bloch in 1935 and later incorporated into horror master H.P. Lovecraft’s renowned Cthulu Mythos.

“It’s a concept record, a little bit,” Pike offers. “I got this idea about Jesus Christ and the Immaculate Conception: What if Jesus had a twin who died at birth to give Jesus his life? And then what if the twin became a time traveler right then? He lives his life only going forward until he finds this scroll from an ancient Chinese alchemist who derived a serum out of the black lotus—which is actually in Robert E. Howard’s ‘Conan’ stories—and then he starts traveling back in time. He can see the past through his ancestors’ eyes, but his enemies can kill him if they kill the ancestor that he’s seeing through at the time. Basically, he keeps waking up in other people’s bodies at bad times. It’s kinda like that old TV show QuantumLeap. Kurt actually pointed that out to me after I told him the idea. But whatever—time travel is a killer concept.”

“Most people won’t even get it, so I’m explaining it now—once,” he concludes. “After this, I’m done telling the story to people. So please make sure this gets printed.”

Are you ready to go on this journey? From the very opening of ‘Serums Of Liao’ you are confronted by a wall of noise think solid wall of guitars, drums, bass and  Matt growly vocals barraging you from the split second it starts! This powerful pace is kept up throughout the album. ‘Bloody Knuckles’ and ‘Fertile Green’ have a thrashier feel to it due to the powerful relentless beats they are blasting out.

Madness Of An Architect’ you can feel the Sabbath style vibe however it is defiantly beefed up and you can really hear Jeff bass line and Matt great guitar work while Des keeps the tempo going! This led us into ‘Samsara’ an instrumental track, giving the guys a chance to demonstrate what they can do. It has a more somber  (Ed. sombre?) sound to it.

Spiritual Rights’ brings the album right back up to pace again before the solemn sounding ‘King Of Days’ with it sludgy doom vocals and style. The title track ‘King Of Days’ and ‘Romulus And Remus’ they return to their trashy Sabbath style assault. They slow down slightly however losing none of their power for the final track ‘Warhorn’ it round off the album well.

“De Vermis Mysteriis” was produced by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou at God City Studios in Salem, MA. It has a ‘grittier’ feel and vibe to it compared to their other albums, it certainly gives it an edge.  With concept style, mysterious lyrics, they manage to obtain a great balance of thrash whilst keeping in the doom feel that gives the album its distinctive solid powerful sound.

Rating 8/10


Track Listing:

1. Serums Of Liao

2. Bloody Knuckles

3. Fertile Green

4. Madness Of An Architect

5. Samsara

6. Spiritual Rights

7. King Of Days

8. De Vermis Mysteriis

9. Romulus And Remus

10. Warhorn



Matt Pike – guitar & vocals

Jeff Matz – bass

Des Kensel – drums


HIGH ON FIRE online:






About Sheila

Former Editor, Team Co-ordinator as well as PR, news poster, pass requester, Ex-Scottish Team Leader for PM since 2011 \m/ \m/ Also owner of the infamous Garfield L'arpie, who is a official mascot of RACPA UK. Check out RACPA UK (Rock Against Child Pornography and Abuse UK) http://www.racpauk.org/