Lightning Bolt, a dynamic duo from little old Rhode Island, is not what you would call “metal” by any means. Classified as experimental or noise rock, this band snugly wraps themselves and this album within that genre. Fantasy Empire is a bold excursion through the ebb and flow of just feeling. With no audible or recognizable lyrics, sudden musical shifts, and abrupt break-ins of what can only be described as cacophony, the album doesn’t hold anything back from the audience nor explain it; you just get it or you do not.
The band does not waste time on introductory or useless tracks. It is all go, all the time. “Horsepower” is a prime example, sporting a flourishing drumline and a repetitive two or three chord bass line through most of the track. There is shouted words, barely audible, through the track, encouraging moshing and jumping about. Even the weirder tracks, such as “Mythmaster” force you onwards through the syncopated motions, tribal drums and war bass building up into a horrendous calamity of distorted slides and cymbal crashed at the choir.
For as loud and showy as the tracks tend to be, they aren’t overwhelming. This is the major issue of the album. Nothing about it is memorable, nothing sticks. The most standard song on the album “Snow White The Seven Dwarves Fans” has a sweet, melancholy distorted bass and tapping pensive drums that builds up to intense, quick and fathomless shredding. This should be, in theory, the most memorable, replay-able track, possibly the greatest 11 minutes and 20 seconds of your musical life. However, it completely vanishes from thoughts once it is over. This renders the album in its entirety more akin to a movie score; something you tell your indie friends about once to get cred, but probably wouldn’t write home about.