A Shortcut To Insanity


Lulea, Sweden is home to John Stromshed, aka LIGHTSABRES, a one man band with quite […]
By Dave Nowels
January 29, 2019
Lightsabres - A Shortcut To Insanity album cover

Lulea, Sweden is home to John Stromshed, aka LIGHTSABRES, a one man band with quite the intriguing and captivating sound. "A Shortcut To Insanity" is LIGHTSABRES sixth full release and my introduction to the Stoner/Grunge/Garage Psychedelia that is the mind of John Stromshed. It certainly seems like a nice place to visit, though I doubt you'll find it on any of the more common sonic maps. "...Insanity" opens with the isolated guitar pinings of "From The Demon's Mouth". The singular guitar is joined by a simple snare/hi-hat combination before evolving into the chaotic fuzz laden riffs that propel the song into a similar, yet more point driven direction. Stromshed's vocals enter the swirling maw of riffs via distortion, and at times take on a Bowie-esque feel, while the music is reminiscent of THE BLACK KEYS, only subsiding on far more sonic substance, a 'grungier' approach if you will. Unsurprisingly, this combination works quite well.

Next, "Breathing Fire" takes the previous musical excursion and twists it at its core. This time the vocals are strikingly similar to BECK, while the music harkens a Detroit feel that calls to mind the STOOGES, or perhaps the MC5. Maybe I'm reaching, but whatever. Whatever 'it' is, Stromshed has found it and it's fresh, and it works.All of the tracks on "A Shortcut To Insanity" come in under five minutes, with the longest track being "..Demon's Mouth" at 4:54. The themes and variations that Stromshed manages to explore in this short amount of time is what makes each track, and ultimately the album extraordinary. There is a tremendous amount of musical landscape covered here. "A Shot To The Head" being a prominent example of this. Opening with a softer, almost 80's New Wave feel, the song erupts at the halfway point, turning in a familiar, yet distinctly new direction. Indeed, I would be inclined to believe that Stromshed doesn't like being boxed in by genre labels, and perhaps that's why we see this release covering as much ground as it does.

Despite the heaviness the album maintains throughout thanks to the effect laden guitars, I found "A Shortcut To Insanity" to be more of an Indie/Alternative style release overall. I think that's a good thing really, as it's a wonderful album as a whole, but I don't see it appealing to your average Metal fan in general. So, with that said, there's quite a lot to like here. LIGHTSABRES will challenge you. These songs insist that you listen with an open mind, and in doing so will reward you in a manner that may be unfamiliar.

8 / 10









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"A Shortcut To Insanity" Track-listing:

1. From The Demon's Mouth
2. Breathing Fire
3. Cave in
4. Sweet Oblivion Of Sleep
5. Shot In The Head
6. Tangled In Barbed Wire
7. With Horns
8. No Light
9. Shark Eyes
10. Born Screaming
11. Dying On The Couch

Lightsabres Lineup:

John Stromshed - All Instruments

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