One day, after the apocalypse comes and we’re all living in caves, covered in soot and gnawing on human bones for calcium, doom metal will take its rightful place as the true voice of the streets. Until that day, we have Matt Pike to hail, with chalice and battle-ax aloft. As the frontman of defunct stoner icons Sleep and neo-primitivists High on Fire, Pike knows a thing or two about monolithic guitars that bludgeon with sonic density rather than speed.
Pike’s latest project, Kalas, smokes better weed from the same bong. The riffs still lumber and crush oppressively, but unlike High on Fire’s monochrome purism, they come as logical end points to the songs’ intertwining leads and shifting structures. For the first time in his career, Pike exclusively handles vocal duties, and he’s convincing whether he’s howling, screaming or “singing” in a throaty demon rasp. Although Pike’s guitar solos are sorely missed, his Kalas bandmates (including veterans of Eldopa, Econochrist and Cruevo) are all terrific players, loose on the verses and lockstep tight on the chunky dinosaur riffs. It’s as dynamic a statement as the doom-metal subgenre has released recently. Here’s hoping that Kalas finds its audience before the apocalypse.