Last year, Sleep and High on Fire mastermind Matt Pike announced his debut solo album under the name Pike vs. the Automaton. In December, the sludge-metal lord previewed the record (out February 18th) with a ripping psych-metal jam called "Alien Slut Mum," and now he's back with another much-different taste of the LP — an old-timey blues song called "Land" that features Mastodon's Brent Hinds.
The six-and-a-half-minute cut plods forward with acoustic guitar strums, banjo plucks and Pike's gravelly singing, never quite taking off in the way a High on Fire song does but still supplying some gratifying guitar shredding. Its black-and-white video is edited like a silent film and shows Pike, Hinds and various other characters getting into saloon fights, guzzling drinks and living the hard lives of 1930s drifters. Watch and listen above via YouTube.
"'Land' was written after I had just come home from a tour," Pike said. "It's like an old blues song. I was thinking of it as like a bunch of old dudes in a subway doing a doo-wop thing. It has the feel of a two-step like my mom used to dance to, like country-western. It's totally about depression and leading a hard life. Later, I was playing the song for Brent Hinds from Mastodon who had come out to Portland to jam with me and he laid down this smokin'-ass Billy Gibbons kind of solo."
"I did one solo and then he did his solo and I'm like, 'You're a dick,'" Pike added with a laugh. "The bass player from Brent's other band West End Motel, Steve McPeeks, played some stand-up bass — both plucking and with a bow — and it really brought out this depth to the song. I've never written a song like that and recorded it and made it as cool as it is. It's totally different."
Pike vs. the Automaton is due out February 18th via MNRK Heavy and is available for pre-order now.