Monday, September 21, 2009

Struck by lightning!

Some bands have a knack of picking a name that seems to perfectly capture what they are and what they do. Lightning Bolt is one of those bands. Their music just throws you to the ground with its intensity and power, leaving you wondering what hit you; and, just as it seems hard to believe that all that force of nature can be set off just by a couple of differently charged atoms interacting with each other so, too, is it pretty hard to believe that this head-blastingly powerful music could be coming from just two musicians.

You would think it was a battery of drums pounding away here but in fact it’s just Brian Chippendale smashing away with a ferocity and speed that would probably leave the average bolt of lightning for dead. It is crazy, crazy stuff, and, when it’s fused with the mad, wild guitar sounds of bassist Brian Gibson (with his bass tuned up to cello level), making the sort of noise that sounds like the planet itself is on fire, and the occasional wild vocal screaming at you from the distance, the whole thing creates an overwhelming tsunami of sound that destroys everything in its path.

I bought two Lightning Bolt albums – Wonderful Rainbow and Hypermagic Mountain – both of which arrived today and both of which are just so unbelievably good that it really seemed impossible to single one of them out. But don’t be deceived by the feel-good colour of the titles: this is music at its most extreme, its most unrelenting and severe, and, not least, its most noisy. It just pounds away at you, like a manic boxer, beating you to a pulp but somehow daring you to come back for more. And you do.

Since my foray into rock music, I’ve had a bit of a penchant for the extremities of metal and noise, but I have never heard it played with such awesome command as here. The precision of the drums, even at this light-breaking speed, and the way that it and the bass weld together, like molten lava, shows that these are musicians with a phenomenal talent.

Thank god or the devil or whoever it is that is responsible for bringing Lightning Bolt to both Melbourne and Geelong for some gigs in November – and thanks, especially, to Marty R for introducing me to this amazing experience. This is music with its phasers set to kill – but, boy, what a way to go!


  1. can't wait to see them!!! hope my ears will recover between the 2 gigs!

  2. Yes, me too! I think half of St Leonards is still trying to recover from my slightly too loud run through the CDs yesterday. And now the electricity has gone off. I wonder if this might be a conspiracy?