Struck by Lightning - True PredationFollowing on from their acclaimed 2007 debut, “Serpents”, Columbus Ohio’s Struck By Lightning return with an album more direct and ferocious, but ultimately less satisfying.

The band features Greg Lahm on guitar/vocals and sludge fans will know him from revered noiseniks Mouth Of The Architect whose style was altogether more eclectic and ambient.

Whilst “Serpents” didn’t feel like a huge departure from MOTA it was clearly more aggressive and metallic, but still had the progressive edge of bands like Torche, Baroness and even Mastodon woven within the songs.

“True Predation”, oddly, is a devolution rather than an evolution of their sound. The riffs are more machine gun hardcore than bombastic prog metal and the vocals are a swathe of snarl, spit and shout. Lots of “fuck you” and “no fucking future” bellowed with conviction, but this has been done before by everyone from the Cro-Mags to Biohazard with greater punch and originality.

Why the band have chosen to focus their sound more tightly in one direction and reduce the dimensions and scope of their songwriting is a mystery. It seemed that the blueprint was one of experimental creativity and the debut had such promise that this release could have been the Mastodon meets Disfear cacophony that their press release boasts.

Sadly it falls way short of such greatness. It is by no means a bad album and brings together some fine riffs and a gritty production, but ultimately music this brutal should move you and stir something primal as you listen. Instead it feels like a hotchpotch of several other bands who ultimately do it better.

I really wanted to adore this album and even after three listens it hasn’t started to grow on me. An abundance of talent, ideas and energy have gone into this and it pains me to say it, but it just doesn’t reach the heights it should and instead simmers away gently and inoffensively in the background.

An undeniably promising band and one that time may prove to be a huge success, but at this stage “True Predation” does very little to set  them ahead the pack.

Struck By Lightning – Facebook