Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lightning Bolt: "Fantasy Empire"

I am not sure if you would call Lightning Bolt metal, but the influence they have had on Liturgy is undeniable, even from the first song on this new album which is their first album in six years. The thick distortion and the relentless herky jerk of the duo's attack, is almost every thing black metal should be. it does lack the key component being evil, instead these guys are mean. They are sonic bullies. There is a math rock element to what they do . This is given crystal meth. It finds a turbulence that blast beats create without ever having to play a real blast beat. There is a noisy color to the painting they are throwing colors at, but to call it noise rock misses the point.

"Horsepower" feels like it's stallion is being beaten to death in the way the simple groove is pounded home in a almost droning manner, that would be more obvious if the song was being played slower instead its the pulse of a manic heart being flooded with. endorphins. the bass takes more of the spot light here, giving a bit more boom to the static distortion. Sometimes these guys remind me of the Butthole Surfers at other times older Today is the Day, neither band would you be quick to associate with  black metal. The more angular bass throb of "King of the World" some how manages to drone it's way into bleeding over into the following song with my attention diverted from the song. There is an element to the drumming that reminds me of Hendrix's "Manic Depression" a song that has always haunted ever since the night I was tripping and the CD player got stuck on that song and I was too fucked up to figure out how to change it or turn it off,so I had to listen to it for six hours. "King of the World' feels the same on many accounts.

There is a more tribal drive to "Mythmaster" that fights against the bass driving you into the closest thing to a blast beat. Their is a thick muscular rumble to the almost rock n roll paced "Runaway Train". This one seems to have deliberate noise and finds the guitar taking a noise solo midway in that sounds like Tom Morello.  There is a stonerish sludge to the more locked in syncopated sections. In some ways it's the closest I have heard the band adhering to a more conventional approach, even if it is fighting against the noise.

They back off and take a breath for the more indie rock groove of "Snow White the Seven Dwarves Fans", they launch into a more Dead Kennedys styled punk rock. This album seems to be rougher than previous work the raw monster tone of "Dream Genie" finds the vocals that stay buried in the guitar's distortion for the entire album , heading in more of a Today is the Day direction. The drummer is insane often reminding me of homeboy from Hella. This album achieves the perfect balance of being lo-fi yet sounding good, so that factors in as I round this one up to a 9.

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