Lightning Bolt

Less like Thomas Mann's portent tome and more like the Disney roller coaster, Lightning Bolt again lets flail with only bass and drums for its third album, Hypermagic Mountain. While other noise bands (like Hella or Black Dice) have grown more ambitious (or at least climbed up on a stage), the duo perpetually upshifts riffs from 90 mph to light speed. The full-throttle pineal pummel as witnessed on 2003's Wonderful Rainbow remains unadulterated. If anything, Lightning Bolt's density has been further clarified so that every telepathic gesture and bead of sweat is elucidated on tape. Which isn't to say that the strafe runs of the title track or "Captain Caveman" aren't harried and frenzied; it's just that when the band stops climbing for a breather (as on "Mega Ghost" or amid the weird puppy yips on "Infinity Farm"), it allows for a quick look at the precipices ascended.

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Andy Beta