Struck By Lightning

Serpents

Written by: PP on 28/11/2009 18:23:54

The credentials of Struck By Lightning are definitely in order considering their vocalist/guitarist Gregory Lahm previously used to be in the critically acclaimed post-metal / atmospheric sludge band Mouth Of The Architect. The other three dudes Mike Leach, Travis Kline and John Peters are less known, but are bound to change that with the group's new (debut?) album "Serpents", a record which takes a similar but divergent path of their label mates Fight Amp in that both bands sound like Mastodon, just from completely different eras.

Where Fight Amp explore the progressive and surreal musical landscapes of the last two Mastodon records, Struck By Lightning instead seem to be inspired by "Leviathan"-era and before, when slick riffs were the number one priority in Mastodon's sludge/post-metal interpretation. Although vast similarities exist between SBL and "Leviathan", such as the long and multi-layered song structures that take quite a while to digest, Struck By Lightning seem to incorporate slightly more hardcore and post-hardcore to the mix than their obvious inspiration. That's where an influence like Disfear begins to count, as the faster pace and the caustic atmosphere of "Serpents" owes at least as much to that band as it does to Mastodon. Sharp listeners will even be able to deduce Coalesce and Botch inspired material from the mix, mostly thanks to the corrosive sound that screwdrives its way through your skull until you're completely overwhelmed.

But aside from the catchy instrumentals and great vocal work by Lahm, the number one highlight of "Serpents" is without a doubt the band's drumming, which is great at worst, unbelievable at best. It's not just that it's technical, but the drums are actually one of the leading instruments in Struck By Lightning's expression because they add so much depth. Not a moment doesn't go by where the drummer deviates from generic beats into his own, dare I say signature sound. When you combine that with the guitars, I start thinking along the lines of: "this is how most sludge bands should sound like", even though Struck By Lightning's partake in sludge genre can be disputable. In a way, their instrumentals pay tribute to the genre without being afraid to break out into melodic clean leads and hooks that draw the listener in for the drone sections. If any of the mentioned bands tickle your fancy, be sure to check these guys out, because even though they aren't necessarily amazing, they're still a damn solid act who sound like Mastodon, and we can't get enough of Mastodon can we?

7

Download: Silent And Still, The Watchful Eye
For the fans of: Mastodon, Disfear, Coalesce
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.09.2009
Translation Loss Records

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