Tuesday 15 February 2022

Pike VS The Automaton - S/T (Album Review)

Release Date: February 18th 2022. Record Label: MNRK Heavy. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Pike VS The Automaton - S/T - Tracklisting


Throat Cobra

Trapped In A Midcave



Alien Slut Mum


Acid Test Zone

Latin American Geological Formation

Leaving The Wars Of Woe

Members including Guest Appearances

Matt Pike

Brent Hinds

Jeff Matz

Chat Hartgrave

Steve McPeets

Joshua Greene


Matt Pike finally releases his debut album after thirty years of releasing classic albums with both SLEEP and HIGH ON FIRE. Pike VS The Automaton is Matt Pike at his most flamboyant, over the top best and allowing his “WILD MAN OF SLUDGE/STONER METAL” persona run wild. Though, Matt does have help with some of his buddies on this release with appearances from Brent Hinds, Jeff Matz, Chat Hartgrave, Steve McPeets and Joshua Greene throughout the album.

The record allows Matt to create and play some of the wildest grooves and songs of his legendary career. The album does feel like High On Fire in places but has enough brilliant and thrilling variety not to sound like High On Fire either. As the album draws on themes and sounds from other areas of music we haven’t heard from Matt such as Surf Rock, Punk Rock, and Classic Hard Rock. There’s also a ton of cool soundbites from films and shows spliced on the album.

Running over sixty minutes in length, this album does have a lot of different styles and sounds on each of the songs. If you dig the classic High On Fire riffage then songs such as Abusive, Throat Cobra, Trapped In A Man Cave and Alien Slut Mum will stand out for many. However, the album truly comes in it’s own when Matt takes bold creative steps and plays music we haven’t heard from him before with some Semi-Acoustic/Country/Americana based jams on the excellent song Land.

The later stages of the album does veer into experimental style but all handled with Matt’s “Showman” persona. As the album once again splices different styles of music for a heavy bombastic style of Sludge/Stoner Metal with a snarling Punk-ish, Psychedelic and Thrash vibe. Songs such as Apollyon, Latin American Geological Foundation and Leaving The Wars Of Woe may be considered the heaviest songs on the album but these are the most experimental.

Pike VS The Automaton does have an epic “MOTORHEAD” influence to it. The vocal work is impressive and perhaps some of his best vocal work over the last decade or so. That’s perhaps due to the wild ideas held on the album. The album’s production is most definitely in the Punk Rock way of life with a style that is quite different to both SLEEP and HIGH ON FIRE. 

I’m hoping for a new HIGH ON FIRE album this year but if the Sludge/Stoner Metal Gods have other ideas then this is without doubt the next best thing. This is quintessential and classic Matt Pike through and through but also an album that you will need time with to fully understand and appreciate. 

Pike VS The Automaton is a brilliant and must have album that will no doubt end up becoming one of the best Sludge/Stoner Metal albums of the year. This is a must have album showing folks why Matt Pike is perhaps the greatest modern day Sludge/Stoner Metal guitarist currently out there and I stand by those words.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Action PR and Hold Tight PR for the promo. 

Pike VS The Automaton will be released on CD/DD/Vinyl via MNRK Heavy from February 18th 2022.


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