Lightning Bolt

Hypermagic Mountain

Over the past decade, Lightning Bolt -- that mighty bass-and-drums duo from Providence, R.I. -- cultivated a brand-new form of underground rock, a powerful fusion of free noise, pounding dance grooves, the technical precision of metal, the low-end thump of hip hop, the intricacies of prog-rock, the insanely gleeful hooks of pop, and the wild fury of hardcore. Unfortunately, Lightning Bolt's albums -- recorded as if jamming in the studio were just another gig -- have lacked the intensity of the band's ritualistic live performances, wherein Brian Chippendale (drums) and Brian Gibson (bass) sport ragged neon masks and rock out on club floors, smack dab in the middle of their rabid fans. In this respect, the pair's new disc, Hypermagic Mountain, is no different from its predecessors. However, it is the first release to sound like a well-produced, big-time hard rock LP, as if these two finally learned that album-oriented music requires some studio wizardry beyond simply pressing the "record" button. I mean, it's no Queen record, but Lightning Bolt's anthem-rock qualities (blistering, reverb-soaked solos; monster riffage; and fuzzy "rawk" vocals) are much more clearly defined here, making freaky techno-metal jams like "Dead Cowboy," "Mohawkwind in the Willows," and "Mega Ghost" the perfect soundtracks for pumping some iron.

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