Lightning Bolt - Hypermagic Mountain review


3 users:
Band: Lightning Bolt
Album: Hypermagic Mountain
Release date: October 2005

01. 2 Morro Morro Land
02. Captain Caveman
03. Birdy
04. Riffwraith
05. Megaghost
06. Magic Mountain
07. Dead Cowboy
08. Bizarro Zarro Land
09. Mohawkwindmill
10. Bizarro Bike
11. Infinity Farm
12. No Rest For The Obsessed

The problem with bands as original and unique as this is that there is no easy way of describing their sound to the curious readers of this review. I cannot just dump Lightning Bolt into any genre or category, no matter how elaborate. The three genres you see at the top of this review are just loose associations that do not do the band's real style justice.

The bottom line is that despite the hippie cover art of this album, the music here is absolutely crushing and will leave the listener whimpering in the corner with blood flowing out of their ears. The compositions on Hypermagic Mountain are far too complex and left-field to be described in any plausible way with words. We are faced with a wall of controlled chaos. Interestingly, the band does not use guitars so the entire grind that we are pulverized with is made by a bass and some electronic manipulations. A suitable comparison can be made to Cop Shoot Cop's similarly bass-driven sound; however, Lightning Bolt does this at an absolutely breakneck speed. The drummer is simply insane and plays as if he was being electrocuted. Rarely does he resort to using blast beats and most of the time he plays fairly complex drum patters but at a speed usually associated with the most extreme forms of death metal. This is not just mindless bashing though or any kind of elaborate prog wankery, instead, its conscious harnessing of energy for specific purposes. Lightning Bolt is an extreme band but not in the traditional sense of the word that most metal fans immediately associate with grindcore, death metal or black metal. It is extreme in a free sense and exudes the same creative energy found both in early grindcore and seminal post-punk.

Most of the tracks here don't follow any sort of traditional rock song structure. Instead, a lot of the time, the duo will create chaotic drum and bass patterns that interlock at key moments in the song. When they are not doing this, they tend to settle on some sort of killer groove, such as the one in "Birdy", which reminds me of Aphex Twin's "Come To Daddy". Rarely does the band sound like a proper rock band but when it does, such as on "Captain Caveman", it pulls it off masterfully. When vocals are used, Lightning Bolt basically becomes an even crazier and more chaotic Jesus Lizard. Still, describing the band's extremely unusual brand of sonic terrorism with words is simply a lost cause.

Hypermagic Mountain totally destroyed me when I first heard it. There is truly no other band like this out there right now. The drummer is one of the best I've ever heard and the songs themselves have the same effect as being shot repeatedly with a rapidfire UZI sub-machine gun. Highly recommended.


Written on 11.12.2005 by With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. He lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he does his best to avoid prosecution for being so cool.

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