Lightning Bolt - Hypermagic Mountain (Cover Artwork)

Lightning Bolt

Hypermagic Mountain (2005)


Over the last few years, Providence's power duo Lightning Bolt have been in an envious position for most bands. Flagshipping a fast growing and well-respected independent label, they almost single-handedly sucked people into their own underground scene and have managed to keep all of them there, with bells on. Their live shows are borderline legendary, packed with more volume than ten bands twice their size. In the last year, they've been featured in Spin, played with Sonic Youth, and headlined All Tomorrows Parties festival (tha shit), all under their own terms and resources.

Hypermagic Mountain is quickly becoming the highest selling album on Load Records, reportedly selling out of all vinyl LPs in the first week. If that's not encouraging, then I don't know what is. It is however, somewhat of a typical Lightning Bolt album. Their setup, for you newbies, is bass, run through a million effects, and drums, with the occasional yelp from drummer Brian Chippandale and his gas mask microphone. This album has its ups and downs, but overall is an important step in the deflowering of new music. More riff-heavy than most of their previous work, Hypermagic Mountain finds Lightning Bolt a little more song-oriented than before. More emphasis is added to that with the lyrics, previously anybody's guess, clearly printed in the booklet. The full-on, blasting break beats are there, as well as a good amount of experimentation with different effect pedals on the bass. Brian Gibson has always treated the bass more like a guitar, and on several tracks, reaches nirvana with metal-ish runs and very catchy melodies. The audo assault lasts over 50 minutes, birthing demons crossbread somewhere between Slayer and Sonic Youth. The downsides to the album, and with LB in general, is the tendency to play a riff or part so long, it becomes redundant and even a little annoying. While this approach is extremely effective live, it drags a little on the recorded end.

This album will prove to be a gateway drug for LOTS of people jaded with the state of aggressive music. It is experimental enough for noise fans, catchy enough for punk fans, and loud enough for fans of whatever, galaxies away. This isn't my favorite of Lightning Bolt's albums, but there are moments of pure bliss throughout, making it a worthy composition of ROCK.

Oh, the artwork you say? Possibly the best I've ever seen.

Go see them live, and feel free to dive into Load's extensive roster for more bands "in the same food group."