by Larry "Fuzz-O" Dolman (except where noted)

A real simple presentation of two very heavy tracks, this might be the most stunning Lexington, KY album since Warmer Milks' Penetration Initials. It starts with the title track, a gorgeous two-and-a-half minute song, a little haunted melange from the history of music that will stay in your head for days, the two women in the band singing an angelic medieval folk melody ("in three houses, tra la la la la"), while someone slaps out an ancient dance rhythm on a hand drum (yes, I said dance) and evil electronics from the future lurk in the corners. And then suddenly that ends and freefalls into a super-extended 25-minute Al Silva/Celestial Communication-style freakout with almost the same title ("In 3 Houses"), deep-space violins and reeds clawing and wailing while electronics grind out would-be bass lines and voices haunt and it all sounds like it's coming from a couple space stations over, except that in space no one can hear you jam.....unless they have this CDR on their astro headphones. For this gigantic coda, Tremaine and Beatty are definitely jamming from their hours of experience in the Hair Police Terror Tank, while Molle and O'Keefe bring in all sorts of tones that allow the sweet and spooked strains of the stunning opening song to linger throughout. I'm telling you, it's a doozy . . . . . (And hey, by the way, the Terror Tank was Wolf Eyes' practice space, not the Hair Police's, I knew that, give me a break, I've got a lot to keep track of here....)

FE-MAIL: Voluptuous Vultures 10" (PSYCHFORM)
(review by B. Edwards) I've had the pleasure of seeing these Norwegian ladies twice in the US; once in Chicago and most recently in Seattle. The Chicago show was more "delicate," if you will, with crackles, drones and intermittent gurgles and crashes punctuating their set. The Seattle show, though, was a completely different beast: more like 30,000 cattle prods jammed into a 600 foot wall of flashbulbs while razorwire wrapped anvils were catapulted through flaming cars.
       This 10" brings together the best of both of these elements, convincing me that Maja and Hild are determined to kindly raise the dead, but only as a means to strapping the physical remains to railroad tracks and watching them splatter unpleasantly (and amusingly) all about. On Voluptuous Vultures, the ladies are armed with an array of electronics, voices that switch between caterwauling ear shear and glass grinding in the throat of an irate pit bull, and an instrumentation list that (perhaps surprisingly) includes french horn, pan pipes, and harmonica.
       In short, Maja and Hild spit out a wild array of electronic mayhem: guttural, filth-encrusted gristly drones are sent down the river with shrill sine wave accompaniment; eventually a rockslide jams the river and the water turns to blood and bathes innocent animals with the guilt of the ill prepared. Not only do these ladies decimate, placate, and flagellate, they balance (and blur) the lines between such things beautifully. The apocalypse never had such grace or swiftness. The releasing label aptly describes parts of this record as an "electronics smorgasbord that will leave your pets hiding in a dark corner of the bathroom," and that's a pretty solid assessment. Oh yes; and the cover art! Verily, a fine cross-pollination of sassy and tacky: not exactly what you might want but definitely more than you deserve. Grab it now and get on the right side of the charging bull.

The Afrika Korps? Gays in the Military? Lou Rone Alone?? Thundertrain??? How does Gulcher get MORE retarded with every release? And I still love 'em all, and these guys Fearless Leader from L.A. are definitley in the running for Gulcher's 'most retarded,' cavorting around (as they do) in way-too-colorful corpsepaint, and playing vulgar rock that sounds almost as much like friggin' Faster Pussycat as it does The Dictators. And you know, they're pretty great. They do know how to rock, with at least some mebers having also played in the Lazy Cowgirls and/or Clawhammer, and they're funny, they really are. But then, I can enjoy a song that goes "She's got a toxic crotch / You know it stinks a lot." Maybe you can't. Even better is the lyric: "Sittin' at home in my underwear / Baby, I-I-I-I-I I don't care!" I can relate, I'm in my underwear right now! And it's almost noon!

This album immediately sounded to me like Twin Infinitives-era Royal Trux and Bullhead-era Melvins had collaborated on an album and then baked the master tapes in a radioactive kiln for the last 15 years. Now don't go running off to the record store YET, come on, stay here and read the rest of this review, at least -- I wanted to point out that it doesn't quite sound like Neil made the session, just Jennifer on vocals, but Buzz and Dale are there with the endless Sab-devolution riffery, unafraid to just let a low E (D? C#??) ring for long periods of time. But it's not Buzz, Jennifer, and Dale, it's "Max" (guitars, other), "Leslie" (vocals, other), and "Steve (drums, other)." On most songs there seems to be an electronic hailstorm going on also, somewhere in the vicinity, but I have no idea where it's coming from. Must be the "other." Every song seems to be at least 7 minutes long, and this is some pretty lowdown decrepitude -- a lot of the guitar riffs sound like they're coming through a huge radio with a really bad antennae. I know nothing about this band or where they're from, except: Max, Leslie, and Steve.

Speaking of power trios, the Hair Police usually line up with Mike Connelly on guitar/vocals, Robert Beatty on electronics, and Trevor Tremaine on drums. But on this album Connelly and Tremaine both play guitar while Beatty processes the whole thing in real time. So Beatty is this album's secret weapon, and he really rises to the occasion, creating what I just might call a rock concrete masterpiece! Granted, he has some great material to process here -- one guitar roars and quakes low while the other scythes and slashes up high, and the combination creates a perfect horror mood and just stays there, smoldering very loudly ("the sound of a burning human body" says the press release!). Sometimes there are screams, but the whole thing is really one long smoldering song, and when it moves, it usually moves only slightly, in sudden harsh shift-splices, just often enough to keep you jumping out of your seat. A real supremely focused piece of work...

Y'know, people send me CDs they've worked on their entire life, and half the time I don't even listen to 'em. When and if I finally do, it takes me months to start a review about it, and another year after that to 'edit' the damn thing. Then, a guy sends me a song-for-song cover album of Slayer's Reign in Blood, and I put it on about 5 minutes after it arrives and here I am writing a review less than a week later. What can I say, anything related to Reign in Blood always seems to perk the old ear up. And in a way Erik Hinds has been working on this CD all his life; he's been listening to Slayer since he was young (in the press release, he writes, "It's no exaggeration to say Slayer helped sustain me through middle and high school. I nearly wore out the grooves of my Hell Awaits LP, stared at Live Undead until the corpses moved, and freaked the fuck out upon hearing Reign in Blood, one of the strongest artistic statements ever"), and he's learned how to play an entire Slayer album on "an upright acoustic instrument with 12 sympathetic strings," something called an h'arpeggione (although his website just says he plays "devil cello"), and I don't know what a h'arpeggione looks like or how complicated it is to play, but it sounds like he's gotten pretty good at it. I think all that qualifies as a life's work. It's definitely a unique interpretation of Reign in Blood -- after all, it is all acoustic, with no vocals and lyrics, and the riffs don't always seem to be 'note for note,' and the tone of the instrument is almost like a hammer dulcimer -- not very metal -- though it can also sound like a cello (very metal) and a rather sweetly humming tambura (ethno-metal). So not as heavy as Slayer, of course, but still pretty dark and aggressive, while being strangely beautiful and elegant too. Even if you don't recognize the specific Slayer song, it still sounds like you're listening to a nice and heavy post-Bach classical music CD. And when the Hanneman/King riffs do unmistakably emerge, they will put a smile on your face and perhaps even non-ironic horns in the air.

Here are three new CDR releases that have a few things in common. For one, all are released by Belgium label Audiobot (a division of the Freaks End Future empire). For another, all have great color artwork on quality paper. For another, all feature crushing waves of doomed-out power-noise, and for yet another, in each case I can't really tell what the album name or artist name is. The bright pink one with the monster on it (Todekapitel by Ichorous) is harsh evil noise with more vocals than usual for the genre, here scary demon talk like a gore/grind singer doing spoken word. It's cool and gives the noise a different spin. The next one (Cycles by Villa Valley) is pink too, a paler pink, with more subtle viral art. The noise, on the other hand, is even harsher than that of Ichorous, but less focused. It also has vocals, more traditional screamy stuff. Not bad. Two-and-a-half, maybe three stars. And then there's the black one (Durga by Mrtyu). It has the best cover art of the three, and the best start, the sound of at least one-hundred warplanes to hell making their final descent while at least one hundred lost souls moan in anticipation. And it pretty much stays there for the whole disc. And "there" is a stranger place than the usual noise, a little more occult and arcane, almost like Double Leopards or some shit. Best of the three, in my humb. op. Anyway, some unknown names here, but from what I can tell Ichorous is a new dude from Lowell, MA (future site of the United States Noise Hall of Fame), Villa Valley seems to be from Royal Oak, MI, and I have no idea where Mrtyu is from (hell -- ed.). (Actually, I think I just heard that Mrtyu is Antony Milton from New Zealand, recording under yet another name. Down under, just not as far as I thought! -- ed. again.)

ID M THEFT ABLE: I'm On Flourescence CDR (MANG-DISC)
How am I gonna convey to you how good I think this album is? You'll never believe me, you'll just be like, "Oh, some guy from Portland, Maine that records noise and then packages it in hand-assembled junk? That's a new one -- what is this, his 27th CDR release? I'm sure it's really CUTTING EDGE." Oh, if you only knew -- it sounds like there's about 440 cuts per minute on the 19-minute title-track opener. It's not a loud piece, but there's just tons of fast-moving harsh/weird sound, pushed out with a degree of control and fine detail that just seems unfathomable compared to the squalling average of today's noise. A fast sliver of cut-up whatsis slips out of the speakers, then stops suddenly for a deep breath of silence, after which another one follows, whipping eel-like. This happens again and again, and before long the sections are increasing in duration, detail, and intensity -- but never particularly in volume. It just keeps moving forward, implacable, nothing to prove, nothing to yell and/or scream about. For example, the fragmented voice of a woman is expertly worked in and out of the slipstreams, and it's not unitl about ten minutes in that you briefly realize it's a porn sample, another noise cliché turned on its head in the hands of an expert. Also, awesome hand-made cover art, and awesome crayon-scrawl all over the top of the CDR.

ID M THEFT ABLE: The cover art again -- I just wanted you all to see the lovely detail in this garbage collage.

Not only are George Herriman references always welcome, but this is a good weird CD. Ignatz is the stage name for a guy who lives in Belgium and has long been into lo-fi home recording. There's some good stories in the one-sheet about him as a younger lad, unrolling a cassette and mangling and crumpling the tape as much as possible, then rolling it back up and recording onto it, not to mention getting some "wow and flutter" effects by just kicking his four-track around the room while recording. Talk about "extended technique"! That's not what this sounds like, though -- he's evolved into a noisy glitched-out lone bluesman who occasionally sings but mostly just lays down strange zoned-out instrumentals. I like the tracks with vocals the best, in which fractured guitar blues-chugs push along a weird blank drone slate with alien singing clipping in and out of the mix. Nothing else quite like it right now....

EDWARD KA-SPEL: Laugh China Doll CD; A Long Red Ladder To The Moon CD (both BETA-LACTAM RING)
The rather curious name of Edward Ka-Spel is one that has been teasing around the back of my mind for awhile, but I was never sure why. I'd certainly never heard the man's music, not that I knew of (and knowing is indeed half the battle). I later found out that he was/is the leader of the legendary Legendary Pink Dots, but I've still never even heard them. What I have now heard, thanks to Beta-lactam Ring Records and the United States Postal Service, are two Ka-Spel solo records. And I'm pretty damn intrigued.
        First of all, these come in VERY nice 'true gatefold' sleeves that actually do justice to the lovely (and rather creepy) artwork. They look and feel exactly like a deluxe gatefold LP that just happens to be reduced to CD size, complete with readable spine. If all CDs were packaged like this I would be pretty happy -- to hell with jewel cases and even digipaks. Kudos to Beta-lactam Ring for pulling it off so well. As for the music, Laugh China Doll is a reissue of Ka-Spel's very first solo album from 1984, and A Long Red Ladder To The Moon is a brand new solo album from 2005. 21 years apart, but the '05 electronics are just as vintage as the '84, and the singing voice sounds just the same. Ka-Spel's music is basically strange synth-pop, with arcane-but-often-sweet and way-English melodies, literary lyrics, weird instrumental interludes, and a lot of vintage electronic pulses and tones that emit a spaced-out vibe and the influence of various things like Pink Floyd (all eras) and even a little bit o' Jamaican dub. Songs come and go with odd subtle surprises -- it can be listenend to as challenging electronics, and also as mellow synth-pop, but Ka-Spel really sounds like himself more than anything, and it's pleasantly hard to put your finger on exactly what's going on here.

A heavy set of quiet country songs by a guy named Cast King, from Sand Mountain, Alabama, who looks to be really getting up there in years spent on a hardscrabble life, like any romanticized 'musical relic' of a 'fast disappearing past'. But nobody needs to say any of that 'we'll broker that for you' bullshit about Mr. King because he and his songs are the real-deal stuff and Locust has put them out with appropriate plainness. His former band The Country Drifters recorded some songs for Sun Records in the 1950s, but this is basically his solo debut, some 50 years later. He wrote all the songs, and they're about such things as murders, drinking, and hard times -- in other words, the usual, but with an uncommon style that is both soft and severe. Simple stuff, it won't make your eyes flash and glitter, it won't make your head explode, you'll just sit back and let it sink in, like any sad American mist in the air.


Our old friends at Last Visible Dog are really kicking it into high gear with the psychedelic compact disc releases. By my count, they released TWENTY-SIX discs in 2005, and show no signs of slowing down in the New Year. And they're sending Blastitude HQ a copy of almost every damn one of 'em. Believe me, this would be easy if they weren't all so good, but almost every single one of these deserves some attention. Let's see if I can't wrangle up some sort of label roundup here.....
        The biggest surprise of the bunch is definitely Renato Rinaldi's Hoarse Frenzy CD. Out of all these releases, he's perhaps the artist I knew the least about (turns out he's from Italy and has one or two previous releases on Public Eyesore), but it's the album I liked the most. I don't know what to call this music. It's not drone, it's not noise, it's not improv, it's not folk. It's pretty damn psychedelic, but isn't everything? It's a guy sitting around his house playing stuff, in real time, or is it? After all, it doesn't even really sound human, more just like something the air might do. It IS drone, it is noise, it is improv, it is folk. It's a guy sitting around his house trying on different moods, slowly and patiently building them up into song-forms. It seems like a one-take 45-minute performance, and at the same time it seems like a well-rehearsed ambient pop album with lots of overdubs. Last ish I said the Es album Kaikkeuden kauneus ja käsittämättömyys was the only album I had ever heard to specifically remind me of Plux Quba by Nuno Canavarro. Well, all of a sudden here's another one: Hoarse Frenzy by Renato Rinaldi.
        Let's see, what else can I wrangle out of this absurdly large batch of music from 2005 . . . . one recurrent theme seems to be releases by solo dudes going under their given name, as with the aforementioned Renato Rinaldi. Solo dudes do often make killer albums (even when credited to their given name!), and this year the Dog has proved this several times over. Example #2 is Stefano Pilia, with Healing Memories And Other Scattering Times, also from Italy, also going by his real name (at least I assume), and also recording drony music that is both traditionally lovely and uniquely personal, otherworldy and arcane while also unabashedly pleasant, like the soundtrack to a dreamy sci-fi movie where nothing bad happens. Mr. Pilia is credited with "electric guitar," "loops," and "feedback," and there are obvious guitar moves on the album, but mostly I have no idea. Track 4 "The Holy Ghost Bird" is especially gorgeous. And sidebar: checking the credits, I notice the name Valerie Tricoli. She seems to be an important part of the album, as she appears on two of the very best tracks, playing "live electronics" on one, and "synth and turntable" on the aforementioned "Holy Ghost Bird." She also recorded four of the tracks, including the two she played on. I google her name, and it turns out she also plays music with Dean Roberts (ex-Thela, New Zealand expat, key joiner-up with Tower Recordings), and was on his Be Mine Tonight album, which crossed paths with me briefly when it came out in 2003, sounding really intriguing in a Talk Talk Spirit of Eden kind of way, and then kind of disappearing. (It's still available, and maybe I'll just go and order it, but it seems to have disappeared in the sense that no one talks about it much.) Anyway, there's another name from the worldwide underground spiritual railroad: Valerie Tricoli (not to mention Dean Roberts!).
        Third new Last Visible Dog CD in a row by a dude going under his given name: Humbled Down by Matthew DeGennaro. If you're really an expert, you know DeGennaro's name from a New Zealand-based long string drone duo he performed in with Alistair Galbraith, back around the turn of the millennium. (They released a CD called Wire Music in 1999, on Corpus Hermeticum.) That's how I know his name, but this is the first time I've ever heard him, and it's definitely not long string drone. This is DeGennaro playing solo acoustic guitar, and adding subtle Enoid overdubs -- sweet electronic treatments going on in and around the corners, and sometimes outright keyboard melodies, and is that a treated violin on track six "Cathedral Square"? It's fingerpicking stuff, post-Fahey of course, but in a very soft and pretty style, without the thorns and roots of Fahey (after all, hardly anyone else has 'em besides Chasny and Rose, right?), but the ethereality works well -- thanks to those low-key floating electronics, this unassuming album is actually shot through with the same looking-down-on-heaven vibe as the Stefano Pilia.
        Next solo-dude release is Antony Milton with Sirens / And where the coloured planes are rafts, compiling two albums he had previously recorded in 1997 and 1998. Mr. Milton has been praised in these pages before -- we reviewed two exquisite late-night fragile-drone releases he recorded under the moniker A.M. (Episteme and Strata), and he was interviewed by LVD proprieter Chris Moon in Blastitude #16. Naturally, I was excited to hear some new stuff by the guy, but this album represents a different direction -- a late-night bedroom folk-song style, basically acoustic guitar and voice. Alistair Galbraith comparisons seem unavoidable, not just for the home-taping song-sketch approach, but for the actual timbre of the singing voice. However, Milton's songs are quite a bit more jittery and caffienated -- they move faster, and seem a little 'punker' if that means anything anymore. Not as dreamy and relaxing as Galbraith, this album actually made me kind of nervous. I felt a little more in sync with another solo Antony Milton album released by LVD, this time under the guise The Nether Dawn, called Whiskey mute-down. This is a moniker he uses when the works are instrumental deep-drone, not exactly noise, but definitely more weighted down into the dirt than those high-floating ultra-delicate A.M. releases.
      Shifting away from New Zealand to her paterfamilias, the United Kingdom, we have Ashtray Navigations. This is yet another solo dude project, the dude being one Phil Todd, except when he's joined by other musicians, as is the case with The Love That Whirrs, which is like his 36th release overall and 1st for the Dog. It's a pretty mammoth piece of work – almost 80 minutes of music spread out over six heavy tracks. They tend to start as intense sun-blinding drone-fields, but if you hold on tight for a minute or two and adjust yourself to these new conditions, you'll start to notice a wealth of detail, provided by a real band of ringers. Todd has got Alex Neilson (Directing Hand, the Jandek Blues Band) on shimmering, fracturing percussion and Ben Reynolds on raga-style guitar and banjo. (Also, one Melanie Delaney appears on one epic track, playing reeds & tapes.) “Trash drone,” free skiffle, new electric raga, sun blindness music, call it what you will, this is a powerful statement. I love all the soul-scouring post-Matthew Bower elevation-drones, but my real favorites are when the band takes it down a notch and really chills the place out, as on the lovely “Psychedelic Psamosa” and the closing “Sho Shin Sky Poem.”
       And the Last Visible Dog "complete unknown" factor strikes again with Area C. It took months for me to get this album, called Traffics and Discoveries, into the player. I had about 12 other CDs to listen to from the Dog alone, let alone the 1,112 non-Dog discs beyond that, and (as can happen with the Dog but please don't let it stop you) nothing seemed too stand-out about the cover/artist/title, so I didn't think too much of it. But when it finally did make it in, and its pronounced slow-bliss (sober Spacemen 3??) effects started to take hold, I'll be damned if it didn't melt all of my stress and worries into small limpid pools of protoplasmic aura that were, perhaps not coincidentally, the very same color as the ambient green that bathes the CD cover. Go figure! (Area C is another solo dude, this one from Providence, RI -- LVD keepin' it local.)
        Oh yeah, last and obviously not least is Last Visible Dog's The Invisible Pyramid: Elegy Box, which might just have to be THE album of the year. First of all, it's a six-CD compilation, but the big news isn't the quantity, it's the sheer quality. I've hardly ever heard even a single disc compilation that is this staggeringly consistent -- 31 artists (around 5 per disc) are each given 10-20 minutes to stretch out, and the finished product has a deep psychedelic tone that is haunting, lovely, and elegaic indeed, and it simply never lets up. (This issue's Popol Vuh award? Yes.) I was playing one of the discs at work, and my co-workers, who are not especially into drone music, requested another one when it was over. In fact, on that day we listened to 4 of the 6 discs, with nary a complaint. That's high praise indeed, trust me. Of course it's a little futile to talk about individual highlights with this much quality, though early standout tracks are by Sunken, Tomu tonttu, Fursaxa, and the entirety of Disc 5, which is just a stunner, starting with sublime work by Ashtray Navigations, then Peter Wright, then two gorgeously expansive super roots tracks by another Providence, Rhode Islander that I'm not previously familiar with named Geoff Mullen, and then a suite by another Providence artist, the band Urdog, that is perhaps even better than their really good recent album Eyelid of Moon (on Secret Eye), and finally the perfect closer, by Japan garage-psych alchemists Miminokoto, that is perhaps even better than their really good recent album Orange Garage (also on LVD).
       And, as if all this great music wasn't enough, the album's "elegy" concept takes it to an even higher level. Inspired by the writings of "naturalist, anthropologist, and essayist" Loren Eisely (another great Nebraskan), the Elegy Box is dedicated to extinct animal species, and for each of the 31 contributions label head Chris Moon pens an elegant dedication, such as "Dedicated to Hydrodamalis gigas, Steller's Sea Cow. Native to the Bering Sea; discovered in 1741 and extinct by 1768. Slaughtered for meat and leather." Or, "Dedicated to the Pteropus subniger, the dark flying-fox of Mauritius and Réunion; disappearing from both in the late 1800's, apparently the victim of deforestation and local hunting." Or, "Dedicated to Nesiota elliptica, the St. Helena Olive. This tree became rare in the 19th century when its population was reduced to only 12 to 15 individuals due to felling, pests, and fungal infections. In 1977 a lone tree had survived, perishing in 1994." And, speaking of Urdog, their farfisa organist Jeff Knoch contributes an additional longer essay that does a nice, reasoned job of putting mankind in his proper place on the scale of nature: really fucking low. Make sure you read all this stuff while listening -- with six awesome discs, you know you'll have enough time.
        And jeez, in the meantime, LVD has released even MORE compact discs that I highly recommend, all of them in fact more so than some (if not most) of the albums above that just got actual reviews. They are by Fursaxa (Amulet, voice loop lament from deep haunted space, mostly live stuff and live she rules), Davenport (Free Country, stoned, feral and rural), the aforementioned Miminokoto (Orange Garage, star-dusted deep-roots hard-rock trio), Mudboy (This Is Folk Music, jesus, psychedelic solo church-organ troubadour), and two separate massive 3-disc stunners by Uton (Whispers From The Woods, full-on vine-steam-and-shadow forest-breath) and My Cat Is An Alien (The Cosmological Eye Trilogy, impossible chasms of drone space). Don't let this afterthought treatment dissuade you; I sincerely recommend all six to psych heads of today who are interested in a deep post-drone music that consistently rests at the sweetest apex of light and heavy....

LIGHTNING BOLT: Hypermagic Mountain CD (LOAD)
I'm telling you, I got an immediate rush of nostalgia when I took Lightning Bolt's new CD Hypermagic Mountain out of the bubble mailer it came to me in. The 'explosion in the 1970s Marvel Comics factory' cover art is enough all by itself, but I had a feeling the disc was going to contain even more rushes and explosions, in the form of new Lightning Bolt music, so I quickly put it in the player, and when the first hooked-out solo bent-bass strains tensed and then surge-released into the drum-blast riffola of opener "2morromorro Land" I was practically right there again, negotiating the wall of thrashing humans at the Fireside Bowl in 2002 (Oops! The Tour, night two). Song 2 "Captain Caveman" has lyrics right out of a Uriah Heep song: "I don't know what you've been told/that streets should be paved with gold/i can't know just what you read/but health is all the wealth i need (sure)," and somewhere in there are riffs that could indeed be arranged for a well-produced 70s hard rock band, but run through such a filter of post-noise recording aesthetics and post-television-and-internet-spazziness that, well, yeah, you know. The Brian & Brian duo sounds tigher than ever, with Chippendale's drums especially honing their Pollock-splatter into a preposterous jazz-fusion time-keeping frenzy, and, as with Wonderful Rainbow before it, there are instro-hooks galore on here. Ah, but there was a comment about Hypermagic Mountain on the Agony Shorthand blog that I can't help but agree with, that "there is no fucking low end on this record." This is true -- the LB recording aesthetic has gotten noticeably weirder and definitely more trebly. Yes, it would've been amazing to hear all these new bombastic riffs with the same monstrous roomsound production of (the terrific and I think a little underrated) Wonderful Rainbow, but I do think the Hypermagic production is an interesting new spin, that makes them sound more like alien insects than ever before. (The endless barrage of Randy Rhoads licks on bass helps too, as do late-album excursions into -- Faustian! -- cut-up concrete rock improv.)




















IMAGE: cover of Hypermagic Mountain CD by Lightning Bolt, artwork by LB