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Earthly Delights by Lightning Bolt

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Reviewed on 26th October 2009.


Earthly Delights

By Lightning Bolt

Rhode Island's Lightning Bolt have been knocking around since 1994, but have only more recently been skirting the space between mainstream and ultra-leftfield. For some, too "out there," for others a masterful duo who answer to their own rules, and produce some of the most peculiar music around today. This, their fifth studio album, takes over from their combustible 2005 effort, 'Hypermagic Mountain.'

The ear-splitting frenzy of Lightning Bolt's previous effort shows no sign of fading away on this record which begins with a bone shaking seismic event. 'Sound Guardians' kicks off in typically pulverising fashion with a thumping backbone and cosmic bass warbling. Uncompromisingly abrasive and stroppy, 'Earthly Delights' subjects the listener to another torrential surge of heavy rock that is virtually unrecognisable to any previous manifestations of the genre. The amazing irony of Lightning Bolt is their attention to detail and the complexity of the tracks, but they still manage to retain this unholy chaos. There's very little danger that your Dad could ever embarrass you by getting into these lot. It's almost impossible to tell if Brain Chippendale's unintelligible yelps are but a figment of your imagination as the duo's maelstrom sucks you into a gulf of lacerated bass lines, processed to within an inch of their life and drumming that raises concerns about Chippendale's health.

The casual observer of Lightning Bolt may see little difference between this and their earlier records, in what could all melt into the relentless onslaught of their pandemonium. And perhaps they're right. It is out and out noise, but then again 'Earthly Delights' does throw up a few new-found territories for the band. 'Funny Farm' is a bit more traditionally riff-based, and the alien atmosphere of 'Flooded Chamber' is a rare moment when the boys sit down, take stock and cool off. But then, even that manages to erupt into blood and guts. The cyclic churning can get a bit much, particularly as the last track 'Transmissionary' will take twelve minutes of your life away. The utter brutality and intensity has by this point pummelled you into a shadow of your former self, this track reiterating their offensive bass/drums denunciation of music as we know it. So, not for the faint hearted, but an interesting pair who make music which stands out as truly experimental: even if you do need oven gloves to handle it.



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