Reviews Lightning Bolt Hypermagic Mountain

Lightning Bolt

Hypermagic Mountain

Preparation for listening to the new Lightning Bolt record for the first time:

' Call up around a dozen of your closest buddy's and get them to haul ass to your place.
' Splash out your last forty bucks on as much low grade beer as your arms can carry.
' Take the last ten bucks you earned pumping gas all week and use it to bribe your parents to leave the house for the evening.
' Once everyone is round and the lot of you have demolished a good quarter of the beer, all make your way to the basement, where you spent the afternoon clearing a large space in the middle of the floor and erecting your stereo system along with a few extra sets of speakers.
' Chug a few more of the beers. Spark up a joint. Everyone's laughing, getting comfortable. Good times.
' Now is the time to pull out the new copy of Hypermagic Mountain you've had in the back pocket of your jeans for the past few hours.

An hour has passed and you're sprawled out on the sofa. Your Black Flag t-shirt is now in two pieces somewhere on the other side of the room and you're sweating beyond normal levels. The last hour is only visible in short glances. Flailing bodies. Spastic dancing. 'Stage Diving' sans the stage. Bodies slamming into one another. Spilled beer. Spilled blood. And yet more spilled beer.

This is Lightning Bolt. This is what they do to people. Ten years since their inception in Rhode Island and onto their fourth full length, they make a reasonable living off of making people go fucking insane. For you novices out there in Internet land, may I start by asking, where have you been? Lightning Bolt is a two piece outfit, bass and drums, whose members are both named Brian. Musically they sit within the same very broad genre you're likely to find The Boredoms, Pink and Brown, Ruins, and some of Hella's more foot on the gas output. If this means nothing to you then take AC/DC, strip away the shit and throw them in studio with some 80s thrash and modern day power violence musicians. Even more simply: take an already irate Bull, poke it in the eye a bunch of times then force it to develop a speed addiction to rival that of Wattie Buchan. That's Lightning Bolt.

Similar to 2003's Wonderful Rainbow, Hypermagic Mountain's first track acts as a precursor to the main event. It warms you, prepares you for the inevitable. Two years ago the inevitable was 'Assassins', which still stands as one of the greatest balls-to-the-wall rock songs of this short century. Not much has changed as 'Captain Caveman' equally manages to stroke your cheek and ask you to lie down on the concrete before he goes hell for leather on the base of your skull. Jumping. Stamping. Kicking. He's got some basic moves, but they still fucking hurt.

'Birdy' contains some mean Bad Brains bass beating - alliteration, fuck yeah! - before driving straight into 'Riffwraith' which gives you a few seconds to breath. After it miss-starts, the song beats your entire body into a disheveled mess in the corner with its unbound aggression. Pure Rock Fury may be the name of a Clutch record, but by God they should hand it over to Lightning Bolt because they personify the phrase.

In many respects Hypermagic Mountain actually resembles their 2001 album, Ride the Skies. While Wonderful Rainbow traded in some of the carnage for off-the-wall melodies - they're there, honest, just look below the feedback - their new effort once again invites the riotous car crash brutality back in. "Magic Mountain" is almost Melvins-like, if Buzz and company played at a hundred miles an hour, while 'Mohawkwindmill' is just shy of ten minutes and is a heavy workout just listening to it. So God knows what it's like to actually play the fucking thing. This isn't the 'experimental departure' that has been mentioned in passing and the source for much internet gossip. It's very much the Lightning Bolt we already knew, just faster. Time will tell whether they branch out like their contemporaries Black Dice.

Hypermagic Mountain is either the sound of instruments falling down stairs or one of the best rock bands on the planet at the height of their powers. I remain firmly entrenched in the latter camp, drinking my beer and smoking my weed.

8.4 / 10Neil
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