From deep in the underbelly of Cardiff’s music scene for the last year or so, slowly honing their craft, preparing to unleash their sonic assault on an unsuspecting public, come stoner/space/prog rock upstarts Lighthammer. Sure 2020 had different plans for us all, but that hasn’t stopped this three piece outfit from putting together a strong eleven track rock opus to see us through these dark times. And if it’s positivity you are looking for at the moment then their debut album Galaxy is the musical tonic you need. Has anybody ever coined the phrase “posi-metal?” If not Mass Movement demands £1 every time it’s said from here on in, because that’s exactly what these boys deal in.
Back to the issue in hand Galaxy kicks off with a countdown leading us into the absolute sublime riffing of Entering The Atmosphere. A laid back bass line and drum beat combo provide the backbeat to some fancy fret work from front man J.T, whose soaring vocal also presents us with the perfect introduction to the album. With that out of the way, the band get down to the business of rocking out with Galaxy Rise, a more upbeat track where drummer Duncan gets to flash his punk credentials. As we hit the Shoulder of Orion the band are in reflective mood. Bassist Andy brings it in with a simple yet effective bass line, beautifully textured with some clean guitar and a chance for J.T to stretch his vocal chords once more bringing to mind Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd at times. While heavy riffing is the beating heart of Lighthammer’s work, there’s no doubting their penchant for pop rock sensibilities, which they introduce effortlessly in tracks like “Adventure Time” bringing to mind the awesome Angels and Airwaves.
A dirty fuzzed out bass line introduces the punked up Comet Tails, showing that they can mix it with the punks when needed. Anthemic is the only way to describe the awesome Navigating The Stratosphere. As J.T requests you to “sing with me” the only thing that comes to mind is “stadium stoner rock” (again cheques payable to Mass Movement please.) This is brilliant stuff. The epic feel of the album continues with May Lanterns Bright and Blue In Hue where we stumble into the Torche territory of heavy riffs and soaring vocal lines. A break from the heaviness now with the ethereal vibes of Esperanza, a stripped back instrumental number which has an almost Ennio Morricone feel to it, with its gentle guitar picking. Normal service resumes as the band plough into Volume 1: Into the Light I Command Thee before perhaps the grooviest of all their offerings- 4 Million Stellar Masses kicks in, stomping and pummelling its way through to the final track. Exiting The Exosphere plays us out with some beautiful guitar work making sure we go away from the album with nothing but positivity.
Lighthammer’s energy is infectious, their positivity shines through their work and their talent for writing bloody catchy tunes whilst retaining that all important heaviness is unmatched. Galaxy is not just a collection of songs. They are cleverly thought out arrangements, which tell the first part of what I’m sure will be a bigger tale. In a world full of negativity, where human endeavour is so often frowned upon and dissected, we need bands like Lighthammer now. So look to the stars people. That’s where you will see Lighthammer. Cardiff’s best kept secret are about to become your new favourite band…..…Chris Andrews