Album review: Matt Pike – Pike Vs. The Automaton

Sleep and High On Fire guitar hero Matt Pike’s imagination runs wild on solo album, Pike Vs. The Automaton…

Album review: Matt Pike – Pike Vs. The Automaton
Angela Davey

Thanks to his huge success with Sleep and High On Fire, Matt Pike has become something of a stoner-metal household name, so it’s surprising that he’s waited until now to release any solo material. Less surprising are the A-list metal musicians he’s enlisted the help of for his debut, including Jeff Matz (High On Fire) and Brent Hinds (Mastodon).

The record gets off to an enormous start with the thunderous Abusive, before galloping forth into Throat Cobra. Both tracks yield strong High on Fire influence and promise great things for the rest of the album. However, it’s here that the wheels start to come off. Left to his own devices, Matt allows for songs to outstay their welcome. They’re not without standout riffs, but are overshadowed by self-indulgent guitar chugging that seems endless. Land is an unexpected bluesy sounding number which offers a brief respite to the aimless meandering, with the country edge complemented by an absolutely killer solo from Brent.

A few more songs like this would have made a welcome addition. Matt has all the tools at his disposal here to create something mind blowing – stellar production quality, insanely meaty percussion and an arsenal of great hooks. The issue comes with his inability to trim the fat. As the record pushes on it becomes more of a test of endurance than a pleasure to listen to.

There are some genuinely fantastic tunes on Pike Vs. The Automaton, you just need to be able to sift through the filler to find them.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: High On Fire, Mastodon, Sleep

Pike Vs. The Automaton is released on February 18 via MNRK Heavy

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