High on Fire are keeping it fresh, with guitarist Jeff Matz delving into some Turkish folk influences on the band's new Cometh the Storm album, and on Full Metal Jackie's weekend show, he offered up some of his influences and what started him down this newer musical path.

Matz and Matt Pike were the guests on Jackie's show, digging into how the recent changes with a new drummer and the guitarist's focus on incorporating new sounds impact the Cometh the Storm disc.

In addition, Matt Pike speaks to some of the album's lyrical themes and what Cometh the Storm means to him. Plus, the guys dig into why their musical partnership has worked so well throughout the years.

Check out more of the chat below.

It's Full Metal Jackie and we have got High on Fire's Matt Pike and Jeff Matz back on the show. We talked a lot about some of the music for this record last time, but now we've got this new record with the best album title of all time. I feel like I gotta put my hands in the air when I say it and go "Cometh the Storm."

This new record marks a bit of a new beginning for the band. The record not only features the arrival of new drummer Coady Willis but some of Jeff's recent explorations into Turkish folk music have played a role in this new record. At 25 years in how refreshing has it been to infuse new ideas into the mix?

Matt Pike: I mean it was like necessary. Plus, playing with Coady took some getting used to a new person even though we've known Coady. We've been through two earthquakes with him. I've been on tour with him, Jeff's been on tour with him..So we knew what he was like personality wise, like what we were gonna get. But then I hadn't played very much with them. I think I did a couple of Big Business songs but getting to know him really took a big turn.

I don't think Coady was like trying to fill Des [Kensel]'s shoes so much as he was putting his shoes where.Des used to go.

Jeff Matz: it always takes a while to feel out a new member, especially with Des's drums. They were a very integral part of the band sound and writing and everything but Coady's definitely stepped up in a big way and made his presence known. It's been really awesome writing with him and I think he's just doing a stellar job. But yeah, we're always trying to introduce new elements and just try to keep things interesting and refreshing, fun for us.

High on Fire, "Cometh The Storm"

Jeff, we had previously spoken to you about getting into Turkish folk music. What initially led you down this path. And for those who want to dig a little deeper, who are some of the artists or songs that informed your musical journey with this style of music?

Jeff Matz: I started getting into Turkish folk around the time I joined High on Fire in 2006. My roommate at the time, Rich Doucet, was playing in a band called Secret Chiefs 3 with Trey Spruance from Mr. Bungle and he's the one that really turned me onto this stuff.

I had a little bit of exposure to it before, but I'd never really delved into it. But he really kind of opened my ears to this kind of music. And the thing that struck me immediately was how many similarities there were to the kind of music that we were doing in High on Fire, just melodically and just with the overall vibe of it. It just seemed like it would integrate really well.

So my first experiment with trying to integrate more traditional musics into the band's sound was on Death Is the Communion, the song "Khanrad's Wall." That was sort of a little experiment trying to do a heavy metal, Middle Eastern folk fusion track.

But around 2019, I started taking it a lot more seriously, started studying with a few different teachers in Turkey, and just kind of dove in head first. So that influence is very prevalent on the new album.

There's an instrumental track on there that's kind of my attempt at writing a traditional Turkish folk dance or something like that, but done in a High on Fire sort of way. And then you can hear it in a lot of the guitar riffs that I come up with for the new material. A lot of that is really steeped in the Turkish folk tradition.

As far as artists go, for somebody just wanting to check it out. For the first time, I'd recommend listening to Asik Veysel. He's kind of one of the granddaddies of Turkish folk. Muhlis Akarsu. Gosh, there are so many. There are just so many. Ali Ekber Cicek. Yeah, those are a few good ones to start out with.

Asik Veysel, "Kara Toprak"

You guys had mentioned "Burning Down" as having roots in the band's earliest music. Was it a conscious decision to revisit the influence of your first album, or did it just come naturally in creating that song?

Matt Pike: Well, me being the kind of the leader on that song, before we put it together I just had this riff bouncing around for, I don't know, I'd say, four or five months that I just kept developing it and developing it, and I hadn't really taken it to the band yet. But I was getting some of my material prepared.

Yeah, I want to say that I always kind of go back to the beginning sometimes and hear what I've done at the very beginning of the band. And I think it just had that kind of flow to it. Cause we could have played that faster, we could have played it even slower. And I think it just has that weird bouncing, mid tempo, stoner shuffle beat with some timing things in it, you know? I had that and I just presented it and it just went in really easy. Coady played to it really easy, and I was working on it with him, and Jeff walked in and just was like, "Dude, that's killer."

That's what I'm talking about. We encouraged it. That song went together pretty quickly, I'd have to say. It was kind of confusing at first, but then when you play through it, it's like, man, it snaps. It's good. It's got the stoner shuffle, you know.

Jeff Matz: It's got some really interesting timing hitches in it, you know, but it's totally a classic High on Fire riff. As soon as I heard that, I was like, "Oh, yeah, this is going to be good."

Matt Pike: Yeah. So, in other words, it was pretty natural to me.

High on Fire, "Burning Down"

It's Full Metal Jackie, we've got Matt and Jeff from High on Fire on the show with us. The new album is titled Cometh the Storm, and that's a very foreboding title. I've seen elsewhere of you talking about the public desensitization to current crisis. Can you elaborate a little more on the title and how it plays in thematically with what you're doing?

Matt Pike: Most of the time, the lyrics fall on me because I'm the one singing them. But, yeah, the desensitization of nuclear war ... basically what I'm saying is in the lyrics is there's no kings here. Queens lament why the tragic thought was ever born. It's like, there's no fools left. There's no anybody left. Once you start that, once someone pushes that button, there's no coming back from that. And for us to talk about it like it's normality is crazy. So that's my stance on that. I think everybody needs to re-evaluate what we're doing to this world.

Matt, High on Fire started with you, but Jeff has been here through a majority of the run. Can you talk about what it is in your musical partnership that has made this work so well? It seems like you're never lacking for material. What's made this such a rewarding pairing for you two and one that people keep coming back for repeatedly?

Matt Pike: Well, Jeff's a hard worker. I mean, from my stance, Jeff puts in the time. He's not a lazy man when it comes to music and he got me very fast. He played guitar as well as bass, too, and we'd just pick up whatever instruments were around us.

I think there's been times where I played bass just to see the difference, you know? And he picked up on my style really, really fast, what I had done up into then. So that made it obvious that this is the dude, and then where do we go from here?

I trusted him enough to let him write and not be kind of ... you know, every time you get a new person, sometimes the guy who started it can be a band Nazi. I took a totally different approach to that. I was like, "Jeff, I want YOU to write."

And then as he started writing, we just paired very well. I didn't get along with other guitar players very well before that.

Jeff Matz: So, yeah, I felt like it was a really good chemistry just off the bat. When we first started jamming and kind of playing around. Obviously, we started off just kind of playing the band's existing songs, but when Matt and I started just jamming one on one, kind of throwing new ideas around, we pretty much wrote the riff for the song "Death is This Communion" right off the bat, Like, wow, that's cool, you know?

Matt Pike: Is that the first one we wrote together?

Jeff Matz: It is, yeah.

Matt Pike: That song kills. So we kind of knew we were in right about then. Jeff, I think he stated it better than me if I said that oddly.

Jeff Matz: I think the fact that we also have a lot of the same musical tastes sort of grew up listening to a lot of the same bands.

Matt Pike: You know, that wasn't all metal. It was like punk rock. There's lots of Misfits and Poison Idea and we just had a lot of that in common as well.

Jeff Matz: There's classic rock stuff like we both love Jethro Tull and a lot of weird '60s and '70s bands. But, yeah, we share a lot of a very similar musical language.

Jeff, earlier this year, you spoke about getting the vinyl test pressing back and how great the new album sounded. Do you have a preferred method of listening to your music, and what are you looking or listening for specifically to give it that green light to move forward?

Jeff Matz: I love listening to music on vinyl. I grew up listening to records. I love the whole experience of it. Just putting a record on the turntable and seeing it through from beginning to end, hearing the entire album as the artist intended it. So that's usually my preferred method. But that said, I listen on a number of different streaming services and on digital as well.

But as far as listening to our own music and what I listen for, I guess you want it to feel powerful. You want it to fill the full sonic spectrum and just be fully engaging. For me, at least.

Matt Pike: I mean, for me, I haven't had a turntable in a while, and I've had three girlfriends steal all my vinyl, but I have all my vinyl again. I just haven't had a turntable in a while. So when I get a test pressing, I'll take it over to what my current girlfriend has a turntable, so I'll take it and listen to it on vinyl as my preferred way. And definitely most of the time through headphones if I can, if that's available. But yeah, I'm working on that. I don't mean to be a bad musician by not having a turntable.

READ MORE: High on Fire Members Reveal Their Most Rewarding Tour Cycle

Thanks to High on Fire's Matt Pike and Jeff Matz for the interview. The Cometh the Storm album is available now. You can also keep up with the band through their Facebook, X, Instagram and Spotify accounts.

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Gallery Credit: Joe DiVita, Loudwire