It was the late, great novelist and caffeine enthusiast Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) who said, "Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true." And yet High On Fire have managed to do all three. Since the Oakland power trio's inception in 1998 they've released six earth-splitting albums, each seemingly more unstoppable than the last. Forever haunting the halls of the Iommic Temple—the band's own philosophical monument to Black Sabbath riff master Tony Iommi—High On Fire have become legends in their own time. As bong-huffing genre music rises and falls around them like so much windborne detritus, guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike, drummer Des Kensel and bassist Jeff Matz comprise the all-seeing eye of a perpetual riff-storm, always looking toward a future in which The End is always near.

After unleashing one of the most momentous debuts in the history of heavy music with 2000's The Art Of Self-Defense, High On Fire doubled down in 2002 with the absolutely punishing Surrounded By Thieves, an album that even notoriously finicky music website Pitchfork rated an 8.8 out of 10. "Surrounded By Thieves pushes drones to its limits, with a crushing wall of bass tones guaranteed to alter heart rhythms and weaken building infrastructures," they gushed, before adding the obvious disclaimer: "If you've never experienced street drugs, it's a safe bet you probably won't enjoy this album."

And the hits just kept on coming: High On Fire's 2005 album, Blessed Black Wings, was named one of the top 50 albums of the 21st century by prominent UK music weekly Kerrang! In 2007, the band's Death Is This Communion ranked # 3 on Revolver magazine's year-end list, while landing the # 4 spot in Total Guitar. That same year, Matt Pike was named one of rock's "New Guitar Gods" by Rolling Stone.

Fast forward to 2012 and High On Fire's new album, De Vermis Mysteriis. Produced by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou at God City Studios in Salem, MA, the record marks the next devastating chapter in High On Fire's gloriously unhinged metal saga. "It's a fuckin' awesome album," Pike enthuses. "I think it's kind of a cross between the experimentation of Death Is This Communion and the driving darkness of Blessed Black Wings. There's plenty of thrashy stuff, but there's also a lot of Sabbathy doom-type stuff."

"We didn't try to plan it all out this time," he adds. "We kind of waited 'til we were on the spot and had to do something. We had the basic skeletons of the songs—we were prepared—but there was a lot of improvisation. There's a lot of soul on this one, and it's got a rollercoaster kind of feel."

The album's title (translation: "The Mysteries of the Worm,") is a nod to a fictional grimoire conceived by the late, great Psycho author Robert Bloch in 1935 and later incorporated into horror master H.P. Lovecraft's renowned Cthulu Mythos. "It's a concept record, a little bit," Pike offers. "I got this idea about Jesus Christ and the Immaculate Conception: What if Jesus had a twin who died at birth to give Jesus his life? And then what if the twin became a time traveler right then? He lives his life only going forward until he finds this scroll from an ancient Chinese alchemist who derived a serum out of the black lotus—which is actually in Robert E. Howard's 'Conan' stories—and then he starts traveling back in time. He can see the past through his ancestors' eyes, but his enemies can kill him if they kill the ancestor that he's seeing through at the time. Basically, he keeps waking up in other people's bodies at bad times. It's kinda like that old TV show Quantum Leap. Kurt actually pointed that out to me after I told him the idea. But whatever—time travel is a killer concept."

"Most people won't even get it, so I'm explaining it now—once," he concludes. "After this, I'm done telling the story to people. So please make sure this gets printed."

They're called punk and metal, but at their hearts Norwegian berserkers Kvelertak are the living, firebreathing embodiment of rock and roll. Since their formation in 2006, they've built a die-hard fan-base hungry for their utterly ferocious live shows that have already burned two flaming tire-tracks across the globe.

"Buzzworthy" doesn't even begin to describe Kvelertak, and their roll-call of achievements reads like a legend waiting to happen. Their rapturously-received self-titled 2011 debut – produced by none other than Converge's Kurt Ballou – was termed "the best Norwegian debut of all time" by Norwegian rock authority Asbjørn Slettemark, "Best Debut Album" by Metal Hammer Germany, "Best New Artist" and "Best Rock Album" at the Spellemannprisen (Norway's Grammy equivalent), and iTunes US's Metal Breakthrough Artist of The Year in 2011. Along with unanimous praise from Metal Hammer UK, Terrorizer, Rock Hard, and Kerrang! who called them "the most exciting new band on the planet," Kvelertak – or "chokehold" in English– are showing no signs of slowing down.

From storming 2011's SXSW festival to being personally invited by Mastodon to support them in Bergen, Norway, to Dave Grohl presenting them with their first gold discs at a sold-out Foo Fighter's show, this Scandinavian sextet have already circled the globe, hitting every fest from the UK to Australia, including a gig in Singapore that finished out on the street, stopping traffic and ending up as a viral hit on YouTube.

At the core of it, though, is the music – a brew of rock, punk and metal so infectious it should carry a warning label. Look out, world, because their second album, Meir, is on its way.

"It's like the first one, but way more in every way," says six-stringer Bjarte Lund Rolland. "The big songs are bigger, the harder songs are harder, the poppy songs are poppier, and…"

"This is going to blow your brains out," adds singer Erlend Hjelvik, whose riot-inducing vocals may be in Norwegian, but they speak a language of badass bravado like no other. "The first one was pretty much all party; this time around it's the hangover where you go round two and start drinking again the day after. You get drunk real quick and you're generally in a weird fuck-you-all-mood. It's known as the shampoo-effect."

Call it the shampoo-effect, or one of the most uproarious displays of recorded lunacy of the 21st century, but these Stavanger natives are set to take on the world. Think stunning guitar-leads that recall the heady days of Guns N' Roses tempered with the down-stroked muscularity of Metallica, with the party-vibes of a rockabilly hoedown, Kvelertak are nothing short of a fjord fiesta.

"The most important thing is that it's just as fucking shameless as the first one," says Bjarte. If not more. "I'm really excited about it."

We are too, Bjarte. We are, too.

Doomriders

Formed in the polar caverns of antarctica Doomriders have honed their genius into a pure and concentrated laser that can shoot right out of their eyes. As their radioactive mental waves melt off your hair and skin you will know the true power and prowess these otherworldly beings possess. They can also piss tidal waves out of their dicks. Doomriders......THE GREATEST BAND IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. EVER TO EXIST.

Doomriders released their debut album "Black Thunder" on Deathwish in 2005.

Doomriders "Black Thunder", was recorded and engineered by Kurt Ballou (Converge) @ Godcity Studios. Recorded primarily in a live setting, "Black Thunder" is a collection of thirteen unbridled songs filled with spontaneity and vigor. From the infectious hook of the title track, to the soul wrenching track "Voice of Fire", "Black Thunder" is as eclectic of an album as they come. Paying homage to their collective musical heroes, while boldly serving as a monster of an introduction to the independent music community.

After the release of "Black Thunder" Doomriders toured the world with bands like Saviours, Coliseum (also releasing a split CD/LP with them), and more. They even managed to get shows with Danzig and Blue Cheer under their belts. In 2008, the band paired up with friends Disfear to release a split 7"EP on Deathwish. This release showed the band growing into something truly musically infectious.

Rage and gloom came home to roost in Doomriders' second proper full length album "Darkness Come Alive".

Recorded and engineered at Godcity Studios by Kurt Ballou, "Darkness Come Alive" shows a more monstrous Doomriders emerging from the depths. Songs like "Jealous God" and "Heavy Lies The Crown" carry a precision and infectious quality that is rare to experience, while the title-esque track "Come Alive" is a stunning example of their new found muscle. The opening seconds of the aforementioned sets an electrifying backdrop before erupting into one of the most hook laden ebb and flows of recent memory. Effortlessly throughout the album they continue this bombardment, with rhythm section JR Conners (Cave In) and Jebb Riley (Disappearer) as the hurricane force wind at the back of Chris Pupecki's (Cast Iron Hike) riffs and Nate Newton's (Converge) gritty duel guitar/vocal attack. Shedding influences to stand with them as contemporaries, Doomriders "Darkness Come Alive" is a monumental full length achievement. Proving not only that aggressive music still has much to offer, but that Doomriders are, in fact, more soulful and heavier than all.

$20.00

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High On Fire & Kvelertak with Doomriders

Monday, November 18 · 7:00 PM at Opera House