Lightning Bolt – Fantasy Empire

Album Review by Will Fitzpatrick | 09 Mar 2015
Album title: Fantasy Empire
Artist: Lightning Bolt
Label: Thrill Jockey
Release date: 23 Mar

Noise rock cognoscenti of a volatile disposition might want to cover their eyes and ears: the unthinkable has happened. Yes, Lightning Bolt – that riff-happy, paradigm-shifting, four-legged-behemoth from Rhode Island – have finally cleaned up their sound in a 'proper' studio. Admittedly, 'cleaning up' is a relative matter. Despite the higher fidelity, Brian Gibson's scuzzified bass still rattles in the red, while Brian Chippendale flails psychotically at the drums like a nail gun at warp speed.

Truthfully, Fantasy Empire is an ear-splitting delight – Over The River And Through The Wood retains all their signature moves, shuddering rampantly through hi-octane thrills before a moshworthy second half. Teeth-chattering headcharges like Horsepower provide the purest (and dumbest) moments of euphoria, but concerns should be most satisfyingly addressed by epic closer Snow White (& The 7 Dwarves Fans), as the two Brians repeatedly deconstruct and reinvent their roles – musically and texturally, individually and collectively – over eleven scintillating minutes.