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Lightning Bolt: Ride the SkiesRide the Skies (2001)
Reviewer Rating: 4
Bass/drums duo Lightning Bolt play music that strikes more like an electrical fire than a solid bolt; like their Providence heritage (Six Finger Satellite, Arab on Radar), Lightning Bolt thrive on the abrasive. Where Arab on Radar fill the high-end up with shrill, irritating shrieks of guitar,
Lightning Bolt saw through the midrange of your cortex with one instrument, heavily amplified and processed to sound like a buzzsaw. It's some of the tiniest bass guitar I've ever heard, and the drums sound like plastic cups, but the record is so full of energy that this goofy production works really well.
I've heard rumours that these guys play through a 1600-watt bass rig in a quest to be the loudest band in the world. I can only imagine how overpowering they must be live. The Skin Graft sound is almost reinvented as the noise is only a side-effect of the speed and aggression. Ruins and Crom-Tech come to mind before the Flying Luttenbachers or Melt- Banana; the prog-rock influence in undeniable. "The Faire Folk" is the spazzcore soundtrack to a Rennaissance Faire--it's airy riff is suggestive of the quieter parts of Crimson; a flute, playing a paean to the Faerie god would not be out of place, despite the grindcore parts.
Mostly instrumental, the vocals come out on "13 Monsters" and a few other tracks--shouted, tortured, and intense, they actually add well to the mix without being tired. Did I mention that they are incredibly tight, despite playing at a blinding speed? I've also heard that they play mobile shows--flyering for a street corner and time, then driving around town playing on the back of a flatbed truck (with an electricity generator) while kids follow on bicycles. All hail Lightning Bolt!
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