Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Lightning Swords of Death - The Extra Dimensional Wound

Lightning Swords of Death
The Extra Dimensional Wound
Metal Blade

American black metal bands tend to be on the arty side. Acts like Nachmystium, Leviathan and Xasthur don’t stint on the power, filth and brutality that drive black metal, but they like to experiment, folding in other musics and generally pushing the boundaries of the form. While that’s never a bad thing, I have to admit that it’s refreshing a USBM group that so clearly emulates the more stripped-down, straightforward ugliness of its Norwegian forebears. Though the band hails from sunny Southern California, Lightning Swords of Death takes its inspiration from crude Scandinavian innovators like Immortal and Darkthrone on The Extra Dimensional Wound. Tunes like the savage Invoke the Desolate One, the bleak Venter of the Black Beast and the majestic Damnation Pentastrike (which has got to be the greatest song title of all time – seriously, who wouldn’t listen to a song called Damnation Pentastrike?) give the middle finger to niceties like keyboards, clean vocals and dynamics. With the exception of the breath-catching Zwartgallig, every song here is about massive riffs, ravaged larynxes and scorched earth. Monstrous.

- Michael Toland

Rotor - 4


Germany’s Rotor is nothing if not consistent. Its appropriately titled fourth album is in the same vein as its previous work: angular psychedelic hard rock with melodies that stick and jams that stay focused. De Weisse Angst and Costa Verde flow over the speakers like the molten heart of a cracked star, all dark chocolate guitars and cosmic vibes. Derwisch rocks like your favorite 70s metal band after it fired that annoying-as-all-hell singer that sang like a castrated badger and drank all the beer.

The difference here is the addition of vocals to a pair of tracks, to inconclusive effect. Andre Dietrich’s screech does nothing to improve the fortunes of the angry An3R4. Nico Kozik’s vox are far more appropriate to the cover of the Obsessed’s Neatz Brigade, but said version is so faithful to the original it seems kind of pointless. Wanting to expand beyond your own self-imposed boundaries is a good thing, but the larynx experiments don’t put Rotor on any plane it couldn’t have raised itself to by doing well what it always does.

- Michael Toland
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