After four years without a release, the sprawling epic menace that is Lightning Bolt is back with a new record. If you are familiar with this band then you already know what you are in store for and this album delivers in full force what Lightning Bolt fans have grown to love about the band, heavy chop-shop bass guitar, and spastic beats.
For those that don't know, the band consists of the two-piece of Brian Gibson on bass and Brian Chippendale on drums and distorted-ass vocals. The band formed out of the Fort Thunder noise scene in Providence Rhode Island in the late 90's and is arguably the most influential band to come out of the scene as they have helped progress noise music in general throughout the decade.
This album in particular strays just slightly from its predecessor Hypermagic Mountain that was released in 2005. While that album saw more of the high register shredding from Brian Gibson, this record shows Gibson's riffs as driving swampy steamrollers that stay for the most part in a gritty lower register. Chippendale's drumming goes along with this motif in that much of his beats are straight pummeling instead of the crazy sporadic beats that come out of Hypermagic Mountain (although there are plenty of moments where the drumming goes out of control, in a good way). With the opening track "Sound Guardians" you get the latter out of Chippendale, those frantic snare hits and unyielding kick drum are going a mile a minute while Gibson's bass chugs along bringing a full dose of the heavy. The next track "Nation of Boar" (my personal favorite on this record) you get a sense of the riff based straight driving momentum that stands out next to the spastic rhythms of the majority of their catalog. Most of the album is recorded by the same engineer as their previous three records who does a great job capturing the power and precision of this band, but a couple of the songs were recorded by Lightning Bolt themselves. These songs give off a pleasantly more gritty sound similar to Chippendale's solo project Black Pus and brings some extra variety to the already massively dense record.
This record has been in the making for a long time, I remember hearing some of these songs for the first time when I went to see them in New York two years ago. Finally it is here, printed, in all its glory. Anyone who has an interest in this band will not be disappointed, and if you have not heard them, this is actually a good record to start with, it covers a great variety of the sound the band has been developing over the past decade. If you decide to buy it, cause come on, we all know you download music ferociously, then get it on vinyl, it has a sweet etching by Chippendale on the last side of the second LP and the artwork is incredible!
1. Sound Guardians
2. Nation of Boar
4. The Sublime Freak
5. Flooded Chamber
6. Funny Farm
7. Rain on the Lake I'm Swimming In