Through helping to start the groundbreaking artist & music performance space Fort Thunder in the Olneyville section of Providence from the mid 1990s until the early 2000s, touring constantly, making every record they've done in a pure DIY format and promising to put on one of the most insane live performances you've ever seen, noise band Lightning Bolt has made quite the case for being the most important band in the Providence music scene for the past 15 years. A mind-blowing sound that combines Brian Gibson's crazily distorted bass and numerous pedals along with Brian Chippendale's seismic displays on the drums and screaming into a microphone thats attached to a homemade pro wrestling mask, Lightning Bolt will definitely shock you with their amazing sound that's nearly impossible to compare anything to. They have their sixth studio album out, Oblivion Hunter, and it's definitely one of the best albums I've listened to so far this year.
Loud, intense, raucous, no holds barred is the best way I can describe how Lightning Bolt's music sounds like. A crazy combination of the avant-garde nothingness of No Wave bands like Mars, DNA and James Chance & The Contortions, punk rhythms of bands like Black Flag, Minor Threat and Discharge and the free jazz tinges influenced by artists like Sun Ra and Ornette Coleman form together in a mashed up slush of chaos and pandemonium to create what is Lightning Bolt. The new record is the result of a bunch of recording sessions Chippendale and Gibson did back in 2008 and it shows a band progressing more and more, almost at an infinite pace. Horns, bleeps and other assorted effects mix in with the feverish drums, loudspeaker-esque voice of Chippendale and the raw shredding of Gibson's bass to spawn the sound that makes the duo so legendary across the world.
- Rob Duguay
Now here comes the hard part, that time again where I pick my favorite tracks off of the record. It's always a difficult task to say the least but at the same time the music lover in me feels like I'm in a golden palace of wonder. If Oblivion Hunter is a golden palace though, it's always tough when you have to pick your favorite gems when every gem is as beautiful as the next. Well, you know where I'm getting at: "Oblivion Balloon" has Gibson's bass hitting your ear buds like a wrecking ball destroying a brick building with Chippendale's spine-tingling drum skills guaranteeing to make your head spin in classic fashion. "Fly Fucker Fly" shows the spectacular syncopation Gibson and Chippendale have while performing together, it's pure audial gold when Gibson kicks it up a notch with his bass and makes it sound like he's playing electric guitar along with it when he's not. "King Candy" is ultra-sludgy and pulsating, with Gibson's bass getting heavier and heavier and Chippendale's drumming getting faster and faster. "Baron Wasteland" uses a lot of effects and Chippendale just shrieking into his mic while he's hammering the drums and Gibson using numerous pedals to go along with his bass, a great clash of loud and quiet. As I always say, don't just be lame and take my word as gospel without doing something about it. Get yourself a copy of Oblivion Hunter if you know what's good for you.
Lightning Bolt just finished up a 34-date tour of the United States in support of Oblivion Hunter that started at The Rock 'N Roll Hotel in Washington, D.C. on August 21st and ended last night at The Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Fanatics in Providence got a chance to see Lightning Bolt at the Providence Underground Freak Fest Eco Rave Shaman Slam 2 (Also known as PUFFERS) this past Saturday in the old factory district of Olneyville where they played in the middle of the street in front of over 1,000 people. Even though they play shows sporadically nowadays and the best way to find out when Lightning Bolt is playing next is through word of mouth, the live experience of seeing Lightning Bolt live is absolutely worth the wait. Until Lightning Bolt graces your favorite venue, pick up a copy of Oblivion Hunter. It'll take your eardrums places where they've never been before.
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