High on Fire guitarist Matt Pike announces debut solo album, Pike vs. the Automaton, releases ultra-heavy lead single, Alien Slut Mum

High on Fire's Matt Pike performs at the Arena Berlin on May 6, 2018 in Berlin, Germany
(Image credit: Andrea Friedrich/Redferns)

Stoner/doom metal electric guitar pioneer Matt Pike has announced his debut solo album, Pike vs. the Automaton.

Set for a February 18 release via MNRK Heavy, the album was born out of the challenges of the pandemic, when Pike found himself unable to jam with his High on Fire bandmates.

Written by Pike with former Lord Dying drummer Jon Reid, Pike vs. the Automaton was produced with longtime Pike collaborator Billy Anderson, and boasts the colorfully-titled lead single, Alien Slut Mum. You can check out the song's goofy, horror-influenced music video below.

Fans of Pike's work with Sleep and High on Fire coming for wall-shaking, devil-summoning, down-tuned riffage won't be disappointed. Reid, meanwhile, proves to be a fantastic partner for Pike, laying down a powerful groove that ebbs and flows perfectly with Pike's playing, which itself shifts from the aforementioned demonic rhythm work to some almost-psychedelic leads (tinged, of course, with plenty of minor-key spooks).

“I was just going bonkers during the pandemic," Pike said in a press release. "It was like really, truly miserable. And then all the riots here in Portland and all the political shit. I was trapped in my garage, which was the only place I could go and jam and do anything.

"I was trapped in there ‘cause I couldn’t go jam with High on Fire, I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t do that, no one could fly. I was going crazy. My friend Jon Reid, who was the original drummer for Lord Dying, had moved to Portland and was babysitting my dog, Crom, and he was drumming for my wife’s band, so he had his drums already set up at my place. 

"I finally said, 'Dude, do you want to come over and just start jamming?' So, I just started this thing with my friend Jon," Pike says. "I was like, 'Dude, fuck it. Let’s start a side band and we’ll just demo this and act like we’re starting it as teenagers, you know?'"

Pike vs. the Automaton boasts plenty of guest features aside from Reid, with appearances from Mastodon's Brent Hinds, Chad "Chief" Hartgrave, West End Motel's Steve McPeeks, El Cerdo's Josh Greene, Lord Dying/Grigax's Alyssa Maucere-Pike, High on Fire's Jeff Matz, among others.

You can check out Pike vs. the Automaton's cover art and track list below, and preorder the album via Pike's website.

The cover of Matt Pike's forthcoming album, Pike vs. the Automaton

(Image credit: MNRK Heavy)

Matt Pike – Pike vs. the Automaton:

1. Abusive
2. Throat Cobra
3. Trapped In A Midcave
4. Epoxia
5. Land
6. Alien Slut Mum
7. Apollyon
8. Acid Test Zone
9. Latin American Geological Formation
10. Leaving The Wars Of Woe

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.