Headbanging like it's 1985 is California's Lightning Strikes. Why? Because that's when the band, created by drummer Karpis Maksudian, started and folded, releasing only one single on seven inch vinyl. Some thirty years on, Mr Maksudian has picked up the pieces and formed a new band, which includes another founding member Cat Tate (Snew, Red Again) on bass, Rob Math (Leatherwolf, Player) on guitar and Brazilian Nando Fernandes (Hanger) at the microphone. Even more, Lightning Strikes has some impressive guests with vocalist Tony Martin from Black Sabbath, vocalist Noah from Japan's Avanchick, and Derek Sherinian from Dream Theater adds some keyboards. Well-known producer Roy Z mixed the album.
So with that background and cast of musical characters, what can you expect from Lightning Strikes? Basically, this is straight up "keep it true" classic heavy metal, touched with more than a little speed and power metal. The riffage is brisk and strong, yet characterized by harmony and melody. Rob Math lays down some slick and soaring guitar lines and solos, perhaps the highlight of the album, definitely impressive. Nando Fernandes has assertive, yet controlled, vocal style, singing melodic and clean, then giving some solid heavy metal screams when necessary.
Musically, the songs can be heavy and brisk as with Victim, Can't Cross The Rainbow and 301 AD Sins Of Our Fathers. Yet the latter song is an example of how Lightning Strikes undergirds a song with rock groove. Another example of the same comes with We Don't Rock Alone, also another song with blistering riffage and a crazy ripping guitar solo. Even better is Kamikaze (featuring Noah from Avanchick), which might remind some of how Judas Priest could put groove into a heavy metal song. The vocal melody and harmony combined with the groove and guitars sell this song, probably one of the best here. Those are simply some highlights.
Overall, the album is pretty killer, especially if you love guitar forward classic heavy metal. With some thirty years in making, my only hope is that this not just a "one-off" gig for Lightning Strikes. Easily recommended.
Lightning Strikes long-awaited debut album is pretty killer, especially if you love guitar-forward (read: crisp riffs and blazing solos) classic heavy metal. With some thirty years in making, my only hope is that this not just a "one-off" gig for Lightning Strikes. Easily recommended.
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