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Albums Of The Week: Pike vs. The Automaton | Pike vs. The Automaton

The rebellious metal iconoclast takes on the world and marches to the beat of his own drum — as usual — on his fearlessly freewheeling, expansive new solo offering.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “I wanted to play guitar since I was born, basically,” proffers Matt Pike when asked about the formative years of his musical maturation. The iconic guitarist of High on Fire and Sleep seemingly came into the world with inherent talent. And from reverent youth to Grammy-winning riff-wielder, Pike has always housed a boundless enthusiasm for the six-string and the stupendous sounds that — in the right hands — the instrument can produce.

Look no further than his latest missive Pike Vs. The Automaton. “The Automaton, in Greek mythology, is the big robot that’s the guardian of the Gods, basically,” he says. “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.’

Trapped in A Midcave was the first song we wrote. It’s kind of like God of Thunder. I tried to make my vocals mimic a David Lee Roth-type melody. Then I thought, ‘Who should I play the solo like?,’ so I studied a bunch of Michael Schenker solos and then put a Michael Schenker solo that’s like four minutes long on it. It’s such a good riff. Soon after, it felt like ‘I want to record this, this shit’s really good,’ ” Pike admits.

“I made a psychedelic rock record that Sleep and High on Fire fans would like,” he says 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.”