Misc. Day – Bad Acid Trip


Though only a duo, consisting of Brian Gibson and Brian Chippendale; the Thrill Jockey incorporated group Lightning Bolt is electrifying on their sixth studio record, Fantasy Empire. Like an indescribable bad acid trip, Lightning Bolt has to be experienced to really get a grasp on the intensity and the mind-bending will that the two possess.

Fantasy Empire features some of the hardest performative drumming with electronic elements boosted in to be a real standout for sonic ability. Lightning Bolt immediately holds the attention with their opening track, “The Metal East” which lasts four minutes, but feels like years.

The harsh strumming on the guitar is almost at times corrosive to the speakers and droning until the percussion comes in like a barrage of bricks. While the English language is present here, the lyricism from Chippendale who also covers the percussion is almost impossible to decipher. It appears as a pigpen cipher that takes the audience through the seven layers of musical hell with little to be desired in terms of breaks or reprieves.

Simply fascinating however on “The Metal East,” Lightning Bolt wastes no time standing around and wants to get the audience involved in the movement. Even though only a duo, Lightning Bolt has the brevity and ferocity of ten armies. Especially on the rampaging “Horsepower” that spends more time trying to catch up with itself than it does doing anything else. Tracks here feel as if they are both melting and becoming so fast that they represent the Large Hadron Collider.

Acceleration… acceleration is the name of the game and represents some of John Dwyer’s rampaging playstyle if the tracks were played at double speed. Lightning Bolt simply wants to take a track and pile as many notes into it with a twitching trigger finger to make explosives happen. The lucidity of the band shows through on later pieces like “Mythmaster” that want to collectively create the loudest and most intense grouping of noise that vinyl has ever seen.

The shouts from Chippendale that spark over the carousels of sound, there is a survival instant that makes the hair stand up as the electronics warp more and more. The percussion halfway through the track is growing similar to a performative bomb that eventually explodes like a nuclear warhead. Eerily close to the tunnel of terror ride in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, the pits of the stomach feeling grows until it can finally burst at the scene.

No doubt Lightning Bolt continues to be an elusive hellscape that fits the most desolate landscapes. Fantasy Empire takes its time constructing hell and pitting the listener’s own mind against itself.

Listen To Fantasy Empire Here!!! – BandCamp/Spotify/Amazon/iTunes

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