By Dr. Abner Mality

Here's a heavy album that will challenge the hell out of you. Kind of nice to hear something off-kilter like this after so many typical albums. I guess House of Lightning would fit into the "math-metal" category, but even there, it's not just another Meshuggah-clone or djent effort. The guitar sound is very thick and sludgy and it is that way throughout almost every minute of "Lightworker". But don't expect another "by the numbers" sludge album. This is a constantly shifting assembly of riffs that fractures almost by the second. The warm guitar sound betrays the mechanial, almost algebraic way the songs are pieced together. But once your brain clicks into understanding House of Lightning's style, it all starts to make sense.

The vocals are something else that throws you for a loop. Very clean "indie rock" sounding male vocals occasionally merge with some female singing to give the vocals a poppy sound. That is, if you're idea of pop include sludge guitar, chaotic riffs and octopus drumming. God knows what they're singing about on tracks like "Vote Yes (To Say You Don't Want It)", "Wheels I-II-III" and "CHKN", but I don't even really think the lyrics are important at all. The odd vocals and words are just another part of the puzzle.

Make no mistake, this all rocks like hell and a look at the band history reveals members have been involved with heavyweight acts like Cavity, Floor and Dove. By the end of "Lightworker", your brain has shorted out trying to keep up with all the oddball changes which begin to run together, but the weirdness and heaviness of it all is its own reward. Something completely and thankfully different than the usual formula metal.