Matt Pike’s lyrics probably aren’t the first thing you think of when you think of High on Fire. Gargantuan riffs, sure. Shredding solos, definitely. Imposing walls of amps, yep, and if we’re being completely honest, Pike’s unceasing shirtlessness comes to mind before any of those. All that rock n’ roll iconography has helped contribute to the fact that dude is a wildly underrated lyricist, a fact that Head on a Pike: The Illustrated Lyrics of Matt Pike aims to rectify. With the help of a bunch of all-new work by a cadre of heavy hitters from the visual art world – including Arik Roper, Tim Lehi, Skinner and Santos – Pike is consciously placing his lyrics and front and center for the first time.
Decibel is thrilled to be able to exclusively share the first chapter of Head on a Pike in its entirety. It collects all of Pike’s lyrics from High on Fire’s essential 2000 debut, The Art of Self Defense, with a pair of original illustrations by Santos inspired by the album. Is it possible that “Bagdad” goes even harder when you listen while reading along to the lyrics and staring at a drawing of a hooded mystic whose body is made of the night sky? We tested the hypothesis a couple dozen times and are nearing a definitive answer. Better drop the need one more time to be safe.
Check out the Art of Self Defense chapter of Head on a Pike with illustrations by Santos, and read Pike’s brilliantly straightforward explanation of the new book below.
“My illustrated lyric book, Head on A Pike, is exactly what it says it is! It’s perfectly titled: the head on the body I live in.”
Head on a Pike: The Illustrated Lyrics of Matt Pike is out November 9. Pre-order here.