Snakes For The Divine. So when their latest, De Vermis Mysteriis, hit record stores (yes, I still go to record stores) I went and got myself a copy of their latest album.
The first thing I want to mention here is that the band went and got another different producer for this album, and once again, it shows. This album has a stylistically much different sound from their last two efforts. I think this is now five different producers for their last five albums. That seems kinda crazy to me. I'd like to see the band settle in with a producer and develop their sound. Instead, I feel like each producer has a different vision of what this band is all about and how they should sound. The result is that each album, (while still being distinctly High On Fire), on a technical level, sounds a lot different from the previous one.
The High on Fire I came to love is one that masterfully blends the heavy and melodic and delivers some crushing riffs and face melting solos. That musical signature can be found in abundance on their two previous albums, Snake for the Divine and Death is This Communion. However, it is scarcely seen here on De Vermis Mysteriis. In place of that is a sound that reminds me of the worst parts of the Thrash sub-genre; loud, fast, frantic, crunchy and lacking cohesion.
That's not to say that this is a bad album, it's not, it's just not nearly as good as their last two efforts. In the past, High on Fire has been a band that I usually cant listen to loud enough. No speaker I own has been able to fully do justice to their music. Call it the decibel test if you want, but whatever it is, De Vermis Mysteriis is not an album I want to crank up and rock out to. Taken as a whole, the album does not offer up much that really hits my music loving nerves.
There are a couple good tracks here though, Fertile Green being the very best of the bunch, followed by King of Days but other than that, the rest of the album has failed to really impress me. If you are like me and were hoping to get shredded and beheaded by this one, you will likely be disappointed. I'm hoping that a few more listens will endear this album to me a bit more, but with a half-dozen listens already under my belt, I'm not so sure that will be the case.
If you are a casual metal fan, or new to High On Fire, De Vermis Mysteriis may not be the one for you. However, die hard fans of the band, and listeners less picky than myself will find some value in the album, but likely not as much as their past efforts have offered up.