Skinner and Hey Beautiful Jerk's new animated video is a wild psychedelic fantasy epic presented for your enjoyment in tandem with the sonic malevolence of the legendary High On Fire!

The new music video for High On Fire, which is an animated tour de force, brought together by visionary art freak (and Juxtapoz cover artist), Skinner and visual effects empresarios Hey Beautiful Jerk, is a wild psychedelic fantasy epic presented for your enjoyment in tandem with the sonic malevolence of the legendary High On Fire!

The plot of "The Black Plot"
Our hero, Balthanon leads his army into battle! His intentions are not entirely noble, as he sacrifices his army to reach his arch nemesis, the Technomage, who is holed up in his castle, magically creating his army of bio-tech monsters and chilling with his powerful yet stylish helmet. Upon his arrival at the castle, Balthanon is easily defeated by the Technomage and his army and hauled to the graveyard like it ain’t no thing. On the verge of death, Balthanon is not doing great, when all of a sudden, a mystical yeti witch shows up to save the day! She heals him with some magic shrooms that make him trip his balls off and ultimately gives him the strength he needs to take on the Techromage again. He runs back to the castle for revenge, but whose revenge is he actually exacting? Watch and find out!

How it all came together
After finishing the video for “Asleep in the Deep” by Mastodon, the Skinner, Mark and Gina knew that they wanted to work on another project together. They didn’t know exactly what is was going to be so they just let their enthusiasm guide them. Skinner had been communicating with his longtime friends in High On Fire about a music video based on a fantasy story he had been developing. At first, Skinner’s suggested that the story be kept simple but then came back with the most complicated story ever and everyone was like “LETS DO THIS!”. Gina and Mark got their start as Hey Beautiful Jerk with the short animated film “Sleep Walk” and had been really wanting to produce another animated film. The chance to do that with Skinner was an opportunity not to be missed. It had to be epic in scope, something that was inspired by the work of Ralph Bakshi, Miyazaki, Moebius and Frank Frazetta but was very also very original, very Skinner and very Hey Beautiful Jerk. They ended up with an immersive, psychedelic, sci-fi fantasy short film that treats High On Fire’s song “The Black Plot” as an intense film score.

The Design
With such a strong story to tell, fully rendered animation in the classic hand drawn style was a requirement by all parties. Something classic that could then have new vfx techniques applied to it to create a piece that is nostalgic and modern at the same time. The bright, saturated color palette speaks to both Skinner’s and HBJ’s design sensibilities as well as their hearts. Skinner’s character design automatically brings an ownable look to the piece. Simon Ampel, the animation director, has been drawing barbarians since childhood and was also trained by Ralph Bakshi, so his incredible talent and ability to animate muscular anatomy was a huge value add to the project. All of these design choices paired with rich, layered visual storytelling, the team was able to create something that is truly memorable.