High on Fire's Matt Pike makes slow, heavy music with doom-laden stoner trio

In High on Fire, singer and guitarist Matt Pike channels his aggression into ferocious, riff-splattered metal rippers that slice like a broadsword. With stoner rock trio Sleep, Pike's songs are slower but no less heavy, built on sludgy, doom-laden riffs that spread and cover the landscape like cooling magma.

The band, which reunited in 2009 following a hiatus, releases music just as gradually. Its most recent studio album, Dopesmoker, first surfaced in bastardized form in 1999, chopped into nine tracks and released under the title Jerusalem. The record has since achieved near-mythical status, owing to both its ambition (in proper form, the album, composed over four years, is meant to be heard as a single, hour-long track) and its deep slacker roots (it's about smoking weed and was written and recorded under heavy influence of the herb).

Rumors of long-in-the-works new recordings started circulating in 2014, and in late 2017 the band finally posted an update to its website … in Morse code. Translated, it read that Sleep was “nearing completion of [a] new album,” making the prospect of hearing new material on this current tour all the more likely.