Lightning Swords of Death - The Extra-Dimensional Wound (Metal Blade Records)
By: Sara Heitman
[6/10] If you've never heard of Lightning Swords of Death before, and have come across their album The Extra Dimensional Wound, you might be intrigued. First of all, the band name is unusual, and one may wonder if these people are actually serious. It sounds like they are trying too hard to sound brutal, or maybe English is their second language.
Upon further investigation we discover that the band is based in Los Angeles, so most likely there is no language barrier. We also learn that Lightning Swords of Death is taken from part of the name of a film from the 1970's, Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades which was titled Shogun Assassin 2: Lightning Swords of Death upon release in the United States. Also, the album cover is quite detailed and depicts death with a bit of mystery; seeming to tell a story. In a recent interview with Lightning Swords of Death (hereafter known as LSOD), when referring to the album art, they stated, "The image depicts the polymorphic, emanations of living chaos erupting from the extra dimensional wound (a rip in the membrane that defines the hyper-modular latticing of the multiverse)." For lack of a better expression...huh? Did this guy just exude a higher intelligence? Anyone can projectile psychic disfigurements of crepuscular proportions. Just pick up a thesaurus and start making shit up!
The way this band expresses itself in writing reminds me of Seth Putnam's (Anal Cunt) side project Impaled Northern Moonforest. With knee-slap drums and song titles like "Grim and Frostbitten Moongoats of the North" and "Gazing at the Blasphemous Moon While Perched atop a Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Forsaken Crest of the Northern Mountain," one cannot help but to be amused. This style of writing and song titling is definitely entertaining, but, unfortunately for LSOD, it does not carry over into their music.
The Extra Dimensional Wound contains little variety, especially in the first half of the album. The guitar riffs are unoriginal and unimaginative. They hover in the safe zone of low tones and hardly surface into the higher octaves. There is nothing to keep the listener interested. To be fair, it is not all bad. The bass is distorted throughout most of the album, and in "The Extra Dimensional Wound" the vocals bring to mind the sound of cracking branches smothered by a ghost, and later suggest sounds of howling wind. The drums shine at the end of "Nihilistic Stench" and in "Invoke the Desolate One" it becomes apparent that this band is comparable to Dark Funeral.
Everything changes once we arrive at "Zwartgallig," however. Hope returns during this short and sweet track with clean guitar. Even though this instrumental song is gloomy, it is the most interesting out of all eight tracks. It suggests the numb aftershock of a long battle; scanning the masses for a glimpse of life. If LSOD were to take the style shown in this song and insert it into any section of the others, for variation, it would make them much more enticing. Also, the final track, "Paths to Chaos" is another song that shows this group is capable of variation. It is more interesting than the rest because it goes beyond what LSOD have presented to us until now. Heavy drum beats and lead guitar followed by ambient rolls of thunder make this song stand out from the rest. In my opinion, for the next album, the elements of this song should be developed and expanded.
"Venter of the Black Beast" slows everything down for dramatic effect and incorporates long, tormented roars. In this song it sounds like the musicians are either on drugs or half asleep while playing, which, research shows, may not be far from the truth. "Vorticating into Scars" is personally disturbing. Do you know what "vorticating" means? Probably not. Itís not really a word.
On the other hand, LSOD must be doing something right. They have been fortunate enough to land themselves with a major record label and tour with well-known bands. Also, viewers say they put on an extraordinary live show. This album is LSOD's second professional recording experience, and they have potential. Let's hope that it continues to grow.