Grammy-Winning Heavy Metal Icon Adds to Ever-Evolving Legacy
From rewriting the hard rock rulebook with his Grammy award-winning trio, High on Fire, to reverse engineering doom metal with his genre-defining trio Sleep, Matt Pike has channeled his natural talents and chiseled a steely path straight to the heart of modern-day metal’s molten core. Pike‘s debut solo LP, ‘Pike vs. the Automaton’, was released on February 18 via MNRK Heavy. Music, merch and more is available at PikeVstheAutomaton.com.
Today, Matt Pike announces the very first live shows with his solo band, which includes drummer Jon Reid, bassist Chad “Chief” Hartgrave, guitarist Chris Evans (Lord Dying), and “possible special guests”. The group has booked live dates in Seattle (May 5), Tacoma, WA (May 6), Port Angeles, WA (May 7) and Portland, OR (May 8) with additional live performances expected to be detailed soon.
On the topic of the first “Automaton” shows, Pike bellows, “Who’s ready to be crushed by sound?!? Rehearsals for our inaugural shows have been deafening! We are primed and ready to deliver and destroy! See you soon!”
‘Pike vs. the Automaton’ live dates:
May 5 Seattle, WA Barhouse
May 6 Tacoma, WA Plaid Pig
May 7 Port Angeles, WA Devil’s Lunchbox
May 8 Portland, OR High Water Mark
Born out of the challenges brought on by a worldwide pandemic, ‘Pike vs. the Automaton’, is both a musical and emotional release. The record features contributions from a slew of family and friends, and was recorded with longtime conspirator Billy Anderson, the producer who brought the best out of Pike previously on touchstone titles such as ‘Surrounded by Thieves’‘Sleep’s Holy Mountain’.
‘Pike vs. the Automaton‘ has met to a landslide of fan and critical acclaim, being called “a psych-rock blowout” by the Chicago Reader, and “thrilling” by Revolver. Blabbermouth stated, “It is a certified Heavy Metal Fact that Matt Pike is a badass,” Decibel called Pike “a trailblazing visionary,” Glide named Pike “one of the most badass rockers on this planet”, Guitar World deemed Pike “a modern-day equivalent to Tony Iommi”, and Pitchfork opined, “Pike is biologically driven to write and play bodacious heavy metal riffs.”
The album title, ‘Pike vs. the Automaton’, wasn’t an ego thing for me,” says Pike. “Billy and Jon said, “Dude, you should use your name in this. This is your solo project.” I said, “I don’t want to do that”. “The Automaton, in Greek mythology, is the big robot that’s the guardian of the Gods, basically. It’s a soulless, big machine named Talos. The big machine that’s working against mankind at this moment. In ‘Jason and the Argonauts’, Jason and the Argonauts have to battle this big machine guy that protects the island. Basically, what the album title is saying, metaphorically, is ‘Pike against the World.’”
Amongst the album’s slat of skyscraping songs, ‘Pike vs. the Automaton’ features videos for the bizarrely-titled “Alien Slut Mum” (featuring Pike, Anderson, and the PVTA crew on an eye-opening wilderness adventure) and “Land” — featuring Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds — which Pike describes as, “totally different, like an old blues song”. View “Alien Slut Mum” here and watch “Land” at this location.
“I made a psychedelic rock record that Sleep and High on Fire fans would like,” Pike continues when asked for a CliffsNotes description of ‘Pike vs. the Automaton’. “And maybe if you’re not a Sleep or High on Fire fan, you might like it too. I definitely think it’s interesting; it has D-Beat punk, two-step. It’s got everything and it still works together, it doesn’t sound odd. It’s just an off-the-wall psychedelic rock record.”
Guest musicians on ‘Pike vs. the Automaton’ include Alyssa Maucere-Pike (Lord Dying, Grigax), Chad “Chief” Hartgrave, Brent Hinds (Mastodon), Steve McPeeks (West End Motel), Josh Greene (El Cerdo), Todd Burdette (Tragedy, His Hero is Gone), and High on Fire bassist Jeff Matz, who lays down Turkish electric saz on the album’s towering closing track “Leaving the Wars of Woe”.
‘Pike vs. the Automaton’ track listing:
2.) Throat Cobra
3.) Trapped In A Midcave
5.) Land (feat. Brent Hinds / watch VIDEO)
6.) Alien Slut Mum (watch VIDEO)
8.) Acid Test Zone
9.) Latin American Geological Formation
10.) Leaving The Wars Of Woe
In additional news, Pike recently released ‘Head On A Pike: The Illustrated Lyrics of Matt Pike‘. Described as “a retrospective of musical poetry”, the book showcases the lyrical works of Pike across his more than twenty year career. Beginning with High on Fire‘s 1998 album ‘The Art Of Self Defense’, and through to 2018’s ‘Electric Messiah’, each chapter of ‘Head on A Pike‘ features Matt‘s distinctive lyrics flanked by artwork — specifically inspired by each album — from creators that Pike has trusted since the beginning to depict his unique musical vision.
“My illustrated lyric book, ‘Head on A Pike’, is exactly what it says it is!,” comments Pike. “It’s perfectly titled: the head on the body I live in.” ‘Head On A Pike: The Illustrated Lyrics of Matt Pike‘ is available in hardcover and e-book; signed hardcovers and limited edition bundles are available at rarebirdlit.com.
“Matt Pike’s creativity as a songwriter and guitarist in era-defining bands such as Sleep and High on Fire has made him a key figure in underground metal…Pike is one of the best guitarists you will ever hear.” – CHICAGO TRIBUNE
“Frontman Matt Pike’s compositions always had a latent doom streak…Pike’s guitar sludge is particularly hypnotic, and his shout is at its most adroit” – ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
“Matt Pike is the walking embodiment of heavy metal…High On Fire helped usher heavy metal into the 21st century” – NPR
“Matt Pike is having a busy year, and a pretty great one, too…he reworks the stoner-rock boilerplate into a mantra of transcendental awe.” – THE ONION
“High On Fire guitarist Matt Pike slings one of the heaviest axes in metal…famed stoner-metal hero” – SPIN
“Pike is a guitar wizard like Eddie Van Halen, but Pike is here because he’s also a bare-chested rock wildman like David Lee Roth” – STEREOGUM
About Matt Pike:MattPike1972.Matt Pike is an American musician known for his work as guitarist, vocalist and front man for Grammy Award-winning metal band High on Fire, and guitarist and founding member of the influential doom metal trio Sleep. Universally recognized as one of the most potent acts in music today, Pike‘s High on Fire creates dynamic metal that merges primal fury and aggression, hesher bombast and hall of fame heaviness. Described as “a supersonic exercise in conquest by volume,” High on Fire has rewritten the hard rock rule book since its formation in 1998, forging a style and sound that is at once critically celebrated, extremely influential, and utterly unique. Follow Matt Pike on Instagram @