Though in many ways embracing the torpidity of its title, there is very little that is dull and apathetic about Hibernation, the new album from Lightsabres. An encounter which ebbs and flows in intensity and drama, the ten track release is a raw and compelling fusion of fuzz sculpted psychedelic textures and adventures aligned to stoner-esque riff heavy rock ‘n’ roll; a meeting ears and imagination can only feistily devour.
Lightsabres is the solo project of John Strömshed, the front man for Swedish hard rock/blues outfit Tunga Moln. Hibernation is his fourth album and the successor to the acclaimed Beheaded which was released early 2015. Hailing from Swedish city Luleå, Strömshed has pushed his sound away from the garage-rock influences which marked previous offerings into warmer but in many ways rawer explorations. The result is a collection of tracks bathing in a Deftones meets Queens Of The Stone Age climate, though that certainly over simplifies the rich creative landscapes of songs and album.
Hibernation opens with its title track and a gentle shimmer of guitar which quickly engages ears with a sonic romancing. As the track stretches its scenic expression, a throbbing bassline joins an electric flame of guitar whilst beats jab and lure dormant instincts into its scuzz cloaked blossoming. It is a fiery but controlled incitement, a sonic bonfire of emotive textures and vocal tones luring complete attention which the heavier throb of Endless Summer quickly grips with its own blistered touch. Flirting with distortion through its fuzzy nature, the track equally spins a web of melodic intrigue around the hazily surfaced vocals, offering a lively captivation of suggestive sonic invention which has the spirit as aroused as the imagination.
Cascades Of Blood provides a mellower proposal next; its body a bubbling simmer of melodic spotting within a melancholic yet inviting atmosphere. There is a touch of Billy Momo to the intimate melodies and harmonies which entangle and seduce ears, an alluring calm too which enthrals before the climate heats up with the more volatile Whisper To Me Softly. Again vocals are a richly enticing blend of harmonies and emotive expression, this time within a harsher ambience which eventually infests vocals and the sonically brumous and inflamed air of the song.
Breaking Bones is just as feisty and climatic; it’s QOTSA like proposal grouchy in its sonic glaze and virulent in its weave of spicy hooks and sultry riffs whilst the following Throw It All Away has thick and robust substance to its meandering, almost prowling fusion of snaky grooves with a similarly magnetic tonal skulk. Both bewitch ears, luring thoughts deeper into the emotionally autumnal album before leading them into the slightly sinister but inescapable spatially tinged beauty of Satan’s Pilgrim.
In contrast Blue Smoke is a confrontational blaze of raw volcanic sound within a funereal gait, Providing a raw and searing proposal compared to its predecessor, it is more than a match in evocative and dramatic persuasion before Possessed adds its own psychedelically pensive and sombre elegance to the album’s temptation. Like drifting on a sixties/seventies psych rock cultured cloud, the track immerses body and thoughts before closing track Blood On The Snow leaves its tenebrific yet transfixing and sultry imprint on the senses. It is a lingering infestation of ears and emotions, a final blaze of rock ‘n’ roll with a lava-esque flow to its trespass of seventies inspired riffery and inflammatory melodic invention.
Hibernation makes a very potent first impression but really grows into the high praise it warrants over time and attention. It is a release which lures you back and is destined to be, for a great many, one of the adventures which perpetually finds its place in weekly soundtracks.
Pete RingMaster 16/03/2016
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