Lightning Bolt – Wonderful Rainbow – the best album from 2003 that I purchased in 2009

God I don’t even know where to begin here.

I’m not 100% sure where on the internet I heard of them, but I was in a music purchasing mood around that time. I decided that this band in pure concept sound loud enough, crazy enough, to warrant a blind buy; and they had some pitchfork cred too. (What pitchfork cred counts for I’m not really sure, but hey)

I had about a month earlier purchased a CD from a band called Harry Pussy. It is sometimes hard to quantify their sonic output as music as it sounds like the tortured screaming of some insane person trying to kill an instrument for the most part. You don’t so much listen to their music, but endure it. I felt that just for the simple fact that they created and album of what has sometimes been called Anti-music, something that amounts vaguely to ear-rape, I should pay 9.99 to own it. It’s something special.

From there I moved to the more musical parts of the noise rock genre. Somewhere in my stumbling through various musical recommendations I came across Lightning Bolt. I read of insane live shows with ear splitting volume levels, musical freakouts, and saw the fact that the vocals are delivered from a microphone that the drummer wears taped inside of a ski mask. They sounded insane, and the fact that they’re just a Bass & Drum duo made them even more enticing.

I generally like minimalism.

Lightning Bolt is not about minimalism.

Lightning Bolt is about about pure sonic force and density.

The album begins with Hello Morning, a 55 second string of strange bass noises and drum beats that evokes waking up, assuming you’re a bass, waking up, on cocaine.

It promptly explodes into Assassins. A song that shows the core of the bands sound. Dense, chugging noises that builds, shifts, flails, swarms, and erupts. There’s vocals in the background, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call them lyrics, as they’re pretty much just crazy noises made from inside the drummer. The effect of the music is immediate, and it’s hard to believe that it’s just two dudes putting for such power.

Dracula Mountain, a song so awesome that even MUSE has done a cover. The main riff is first sung before the song evolves into a series of bass riffs and freak outs.

Two Towers, the fourth track, is a marathon of intensity.

On Fire, is a song full of time changes, and even has parts that could be considered mellow. In other words, it’s awesome.

Crown of Storms is my favorite song from the whole album, has noises that could almost be described as actual lyrics, and has a rhythm that is essential a crazy tapping solo that changes back and forth into a sluggish riff. It’s amazing. There’s a ton of melody here, and that’s what put Lightning Bolt in a class above most of their peers.

Then there’s Longstockings, which starts off as easily the most melodic portion of the whole album, with nice sounds and drumming that doesn’t sound crazy. But it devolves into one of the albums weirdest freakouts, full of sounds that don’t even sound identifiable as coming from a bass.

Wonderful Rainbow, is a breather song that allows you to catch you breath, right before 30,000 Monkeys shows up sounding like multiple guitar solos jam packed into one time frame. One of the noisiest songs on the album.

The album closer Duel in the Deep starts with long bass twangs that crescendos into a sort of tribal sounding beat that sounds like it’s being played in the ocean. It continues until it dies in a slow dissolve of shrill high pitched feedback, it’s like the cool down after a workout.

The album is amazing and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who is looking for relief from all the dreck on the radio, or think metal has gotten too stale. This is music made for blasting with the windows down and for getting dirty looks from old people while you drive by in parking lots. This is music for those of us who know that it takes more than just chops to sound good, it takes innovation and the willingness to try new things.  If you like rock and don’t need silly lyrical theatrics getting in the way of the sound you crave.

Wonderful Rainbow is a monument of sound, and whether you like it or not you cannot deny that it has power.

Lightning Bolt - Wonderful Rainbow

I’d recommend just buying the album cause it’s great, but if you click the link below you’ll go to a download page.


  1. September 14th, 2010

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: