House of Lightning are back. Where were they? Who knows? Who cares? What’s really important is that they’re back with a new full-length since their 2014 debut, Lightworker. Consisting of members from Torche, Wrong, and Floor, these dudes don’t mess with Frankenstein-esque genre experiments or tomfoolery. Instead, they invest their talents into the piss-and-vinegar energy of an in-your-face blend of metal, rock, and punk.
The six-track self-titled release kicks off with “Fear Merchant,” a blend of punky and angular thrashiness with enough zigzagging stop-and-go breaks that they could shake the wiliest of cops. In fact, this momentum shifting is where the band focus a lot of attention, forging a discernable signature by breaking up segments of full-throttled fury with whiplash-inducing regularity. Rick Smith’s drumming keeps things rolling and flowing during even the slugiest moments (of which there are few), staying on top of things and keeping everything within easy headbanging reach, making it a fundamentally easy (and fun) listen.
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Henry Wilson’s vocals have that airy sort of way of almost necessarily floating above everything given how frequently they shift gears (check out “Rapture” or “Trust”). The punky backbone with limber bass fills (courtesy of Eric Hernandez) give way to a range of simple, yet effective guitar styles. There’s something about getting back to the basics that feels fresh and invigorating. Much like Mutoid Man’s all-killer brand of rock’n’roll, House of Lightning forge something new out of familiar building blocks by employing some good old fashioned veteran knowhow.