Release Date: Apr 24, 2012
Record label: Translation Loss
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
Anyone still wondering just what possessed Mouth of the Architect's Gregory Lahm to turn his back on his former band's more, shall we say, ethereal song constructions and esoteric lyrics, will find a clear and forceful answer in Struck by Lightning's sophomore album, True Predation. Rage. That's right: rage. And does one really need a better motivating emotion when it comes to heavy music? The good news is that, unlike the common, unwashed hordes of crustcore bandwagon jumpers all over the planet, Struck by Lightning aren't just going through the motions -- as evidenced by the noticeable injection of clever ideas throughout.
As even the smallest corners of daily life get increasingly cluttered, I find myself reaching for streamlined and straightforward music, things that remind me of what I was listening to before I had an email address. It's not nostalgia, really-- it's finding ways to simplify and navigate the present. For the past few months it's been a certain kind of hardcore, metal, and punk, both older (Tragedy, Dystopia, Stormcrow), newer (Disfear, Trap Them), and 2012 modern.
Befitting their name, Struck by Lightning stimulates the listening senses with a punishing first “strike” (no pun intended; well, maybe pun intended). “Sickening Reality”, the first track, enters with a flourish of feedback coined by a slow, heavy climb to what then becomes a punk drumbeat with unblemished guitar chugs. The natural transition from the build-up to the verse is executed with ease and Struck By Lightning then surprises by trading the punk-ridden mid-section of the song for an ending that balances both the slow beginning and the furious verse and chorus like that of a tightrope walker juggling fire.
Columbus, OH crust/grind smellies Struck by Lightning may contain Gregory Lahm (ex-Mouth of the Architect) behind the mic and six-string, but there's no attention-span-testing, post-interesting, er, post-metal on the group's second full-length (following 2009's Serpents). Nope, there's just straight-up, grinding crust, sludge and some old-fashioned, dirty, black-scented death'n'roll. "Mindfucker" shows the band exhibiting some restraint, as it's a more mid-tempo stomper, while tracks like "Stalk and Prey" bring the faster tempos and "Rabid Hysteria" finds that sweet spot between Venom, Tragedy and Motörhead.