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Friday, Nov. 18, 2005


Lightning Bolt: "Hypermagic Mountain"

"2morrow Morrow Land," the brilliant lead-off cut on Lightning Bolt's new album "Hypermagic Mountain," starts as the calm before a mighty storm -- a calm obliterated 15 seconds in when a bolt of musical lightning is hurled through your speakers with a chaotic fury.

On its fourth album, the American act continues to willfully punish ears with a refreshing sonic assault, and the formula remains largely the same: mash raw elements of punk, metal, hardcore, indie, shoegazer, prog, and jazz with Japanese-inspired noise rock -- then play it loud at unfathomable speeds. Dense and technical, the wonderful racket is made, incredibly, by only bassist Brian Gibson and drummer Brian Chippendal.

Like past releases, "Hypermagic Mountain" tracks retain a steady groove, but LB hammers in new sounds and textures, as mammoth compositions grow into more destructive beasts. Closing number "No Rest for the Obsessed" erupts from a series of spacey noises, before heavy riffs usher in pulverizing drumming and then, suddenly, the album ends without warning. Initially the silence is a little eerie, but it provides a much needed opportunity to try to comprehend the sheer magnitude and power of what you just heard. An awesome display of musicianship, originality and talent, this is a near-perfect storm.

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