Lightning Bolt

This is Lightning Bolt

I have two favorite albums at the moment-Wonderful Rainbow and Hypermagic Mountain, both by Lightning Bolt.  Two half-albums if we want to get into it.  They share the same problem-Strong starts, weak finishes.  Lightning Bolt makes noise.  There’ nothing pleasant about their music, the vocals are barely audible, the bass is distorted beyond all recognition, and the drums sound like free jazz on meth.  They’re the loudest, noisiest, most intense band I’ve probably ever heard and I love em.  Their music feels like doom metal via DFA via abstract jazz via Night on Bald Mountain.  It’s a little hard to describe.  Most importantly though, their music is evil.  It’s important to keep music evil.

Wonderful Rainbow

Of the two records, Wonderful Rainbow is the more diverse one.  It peaks early, but it manages to keep going after the album’s seven minute monsterpiece “Two Towers.”  “Two Towers” is a hard act to follow.  I imagine the other songs felt a bit like Dewey Cox performing after Elvis, and they’re good certainly good songs, but with the memory of “Two Towers” still not done steamrolling your spine, it’s hard to get through the rest of it.  The album’s biggest problem is arrangement.  The three best songs are all at the beginning, and they all come in a row.  I hate it when that happens, but it’s a problem we have to live with.

Hypermagic Mountain

I’ve been tossing “monsterpiece” around a lot lately, but I think it’s entirely applicable here.  Lightning Bolt’s best songs are monsters.  Fucking behemoths that either crush your skulls, or the skulls of your enemies.  Hypermagic Mountain is more monstrous than its predecessor.  I think they took my advice here, and waited till the seventh song before they got to the skull crushing.  Even the sixth track, “Magic Mountain” feels like a march to battle, a fucking death march as an army of orcs prepares to crush the skulls and drink the blood of their human enemies.  I dunno.  I might be getting carried away with this skull crushing stuff, but I it’s a damn good time for it.  If I’m gonna indulge in hyperbole, it’s either that or “orgasmicly brutal”  Mypermagic Mountain’s monsterpiece is “Dead Cowboy” and it’s probably the most epic, skull crushingly heroic, orgasmicly brutal song ever recorded.  That’s right.  Heroic.  The demon hordes are on our side this time and they’re gonna crush our enemies skulls.  Lucky us.  Dead Cowboy is so fucking good, the remaining 5 songs on the album are rendered pointless in the wake of its awesomeness.  Also, they’re not very good.  There’s nothing left to say after Dead Cowboy.  It’s an album ending song.  Not only because it’s impossible to top, but because I imagine the studio fucking exploded in the shape of a skull after they finished recorded it.

Like this,but waaaaaaaaaaaaay cooler.

There’s nowhere left for them to go after that song.  And they don’t go anywhere after it.  The remaining songs all sound the same.  They’re just noise.  I seriously thought the album was over after that one, but then the noise started up again and I thought “What the hell?  Shouldn’t everyone be dead now?”  Dead Cowboy is probably the most heroic, skull crushingly epic song ever written.  I guess there aren’t any lyrics about Vikings or shit like that, but maybe there are because it’s impossible to understand what they’re talking about.

If you really like singing or instruments that aren’t distorted beyond recognition this probably isn’t for you.  If you laughed at the part when Juno calls Sonic Youth “just a bunch of noise” then maybe it is.  Maybe.  Man, fuck you Juno.  We thought you were cool.  You can’t handle Sonic Youth?  You pussy.  You say you like the Stooges, but I bet you don’t even own Fun House.  Did you know that that’s Jack White’s favorite album?  Look at you now Juno, not so cool anymore are you?

Yeah whatever Juno.

(Update-apparently Dead Cowboy is about George Bush.  Okay.  Whatever.)

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  1. “The album’s biggest problem is arrangement. The three best songs are all at the beginning, and they all come in a row. I hate it when that happens, but it’s a problem we have to live with.”

    That’s why I follow the “Alfred Molina Technique” and create mixtapes of all my albums where I CHOOSE which FUCKING songs GO WHERE I FUCKING WANT THEM.

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