Lightning Born is the self-titled debut album from North Carolina based doom rockers Lightning Born, which feature on bass Corrosion of Conformity‘s Mike Dean. The eleven tracks here capture a quintessential sound and spirit that has defined the doom and heavy metal genre for over 40 years. Heavy, bluesy riffs with slow stoner-groove meet an impassioned clean vocal style to triumphant effect.  

There is a powerful presence to the introduction of the songs; brisk offbeat drum work (‘Renegade’, ‘Magnetic’) meet sludgy rhythm guitar-work characterised by a cloudy fuzz (‘Silence’, ‘Power Struggle’). Combined, these give the album a direct and unambiguous appeal – there is no time for winding guitar solos or indulgent psychedelic interludes. Instead, a straightforward groove and melodic style to both the rhythm and lead guitar-work allow the listener to bask in the dense tones that the instruments emanate. It proves an effective approach that plays to the vocal centre-piece of Brenna Leath, which moves from deep soulful resonance, to high, otherworldly keening, drenched in reverb. The latter gives rise to some entrancing choruses (‘Shifting Winds’, ‘Salvation’); a technique that recalls the legendary Ozzy Osbourne’s hypnotic vocal style. Away from the choruses the vocals have a warmth and richness that would equally suit r’n’b or soul, giving an eerie, smooth veneer to the rough gravelly tones of the guitars, the lyrics hitting on the classical doom-metal themes of damnation and anti-authoritarianism.

Lightning Born make no secret of pursuing a retro style of doom-metal that has its origins in the work of Black Sabbath. It’s an emphatic style that doesn’t over complicate its content. Yet, through excellently produced distorted guitar and bass tones alongside impressive vocals, it manages to have a hypnotic and fresh appeal, an effect all good doom-metal should conjure. In that respect Lightning Born is a lean, straight to the point work, that is worthy of any doom fan’s attention.  

Lightning Born is released on 21st June via Ripple Music and can be purchased here.

Words: Omur Sowar

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