High On Fire is a power trio from Oakland. "De Vermis Mysteriis" is the sixth release by the trio and it's supposedly a high minded concept album about a very strange story.
The story line revolves around a character who's the twin brother of Jesus Christ who has to give his life force to the incubating messiah so that Jesus may live and redeem the world as foretold, but then after giving his life force to his in utero brother, he becomes a time traveler on the order of Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap. Confused yet? So was I, but I became very intrigued and I bought the CD.
I was honestly very excited about the concept of this album and I was ready to really bite into it and hear the story. This was excitement was redoubled when I read the tracklist and I saw the titles on there that referenced things like Romulus and Remus as I would certainly like to see those two get more play in pop culture. Their casual reference in "Teen Wolf" and the Romulans and Remans is about all I can mention.
Upon putting in the CD, I was greeted with a very heavy track with very throaty vocals and by throaty I'm kind of being kind. I suppose what I should say is that he sounds like he ate some broken glass before telling the producer to hit the record button. I really wish I could say that I was blown away by the lyrics and the story, but as I've not listened to the record with lyrics in hand to read as he growls, I have no clue what the specifics of the story line are. I could tell you if Sam Beckett Christ saved anyone. His vocals are about as indecipherable as Carcass, but not quite on the order of Napalm Death. (Which by the way, I'm still not convinced that guy was even speaking in English or words on those records.)
Much of the album had monotonous droning guitars. He was strumming chords basically the entire time in very simple patterns. I suppose this is the groove element of the band. I cannot honestly say that I anything significant really stuck out to me in terms of the music. In the end, I really can't tell the difference between Stoner Thrash and boring old death metal. The only major difference I can discern is that Stoner Thrash has less fretboard acrobatics than standard Death Metal. High On Fire goes into the same place as Carcass, Obituary, and Morbid Angel. They're all great for a song or two, but I don't know that I can sit through the entire album. I listened to tidbits of this one before I purchased it, and I did hear the cookie monster growls, but I was hoping there would be some variance and there just wasn't. So, all in all, I was a little disappointed with this purchase, but I don't regret it because I typically don't listen to albums much anymore.
Genre: Metal (Sub: Stoner Thrash)
Run Time: 52:19
1) Serums of Liao
2) Bloody Knuckles
3) Fertile Green
4) Madness of an Architech
6) Spiritual Rites
7) King of Days
8) De Vermis Mysteriis
9) Romulus and Remus
11) Speak In Tongues