Artist: Pike vs the Automaton
Release Title: Pike vs the Automaton
Label: MNRK Heavy
Release Date: 18 February 2022
Location: Portland, Oregon
Digital Price: $9.99
Matt Pike is a name that requires no introduction in the metal world. He is a living legend and was a member of one of the most revered stoner doom bands of all time, only to go on to form one of the most legendary doom/sludge metal acts of all time. I’m talking of course about Sleep, and High on Fire (HOF), and I’m here to tell you that if you’re more a fan of the latter then you’re probably going to enjoy Pike’s new solo release Pike vs the Automaton.
In true Matt Pike nature, his voice can really carry, and not just carry, but tower over other elements on albums. His vocal style is somewhere between harsh vocals and simply shouting over the top of the music with his impressively gruff tone. As far as what he is shouting about, Pike vs the Automaton shares similarities in theme and concept with HOF too. Song titles such as Throat Cobra and Alien Slut Mum should give this fact away clearly.
On the topic of Throat Cobra, that happens to be an absolute banger of a track that should be able to get the blood pumping in just about any listener. This track has undeniable HOF energy, essentially drawing on their instrumental style too with high energy galloping riffs, furious drum work and thick chunky bass. On top of this of course is Matt Pike howling his lungs out, driving the song ever forward without any desire to slow or cease.
There are however slower, fuzzier, groovier tracks such as Trapped in A Midcave that serve as a nice change of pace and remind me of something that could easily have been taken from the HOF album This Pale Communion. Land is a somewhat unusual track that has a real bluesy twang to it and sees the entire album’s style abandoned for what almost feels like an Alice in Chains inspired song. Then of course we have Alien Slut Mum directly following which is literally exactly what you expect it to be, another ass hauling high energy pummeler.
Overall, aside from a few surprises here and there the album is exactly what I expected it to be, which luckily for me is exactly what I wanted it to be: one more glorious album where Matt Pike gets to be his awesome self and hit us with track after track of aggression, fuzz and swagger.
Blast this at loud volume and enjoy.