LIGHTNING BOLT ‘Fantasy Empire’ (Thrill Jockey)
They’re both called Brian. They like wearing masks, drawing comics and playing reverberating rock music. Usually very loud, in the middle of a room, with a crowd close enough to get soaked with the precipitous flailings of a drummer with a mic taped to his face and a guitarist with a terrifying array of FX pedals below his plimsolled feet.
‘Fantasy Empire’ is their first for Thrill Jockey, and the first album in two decades to be recorded in a proper studio, and yet none of the immense in your face power is diminished by higher fidelity.
Picking up from Brian Chippendale’s Black Pus split LP with Oozing Wound last year, the songs here involve drops that crash bang dollop into drill & bass style exclamations of which Powell or Russell Haswell would be proud.
Repetitious at times, rhythmic certainly, restrictive like a boa constrictor around an adam’s apple especially on the hypnotic “King of My World”, this album is like all those terrifying moments of fairytales. There are wolves in sheeps clothing, needle pin-pricks, breadcrumb trails from imminent danger and it even features “Snow White (& The 7 Dwarves Fan)” in an epic album closer which is truly a psychedelic trip into an enchanted forest of doom.
Rating: Ten Stars in front of your eyes
‘Fantasy Empire’ is available to buy now: thrilljockey.com/thrill/Lightningbolt