Locals Only: Struck by Lightning

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

After five years in behemoth post-rock band Mouth of the Architect, Greg Lahm had grown tired of crafting one slow-building heavy metal opus after another. He was proud of his work with that band, but it felt like time for a change.

"I was just really wanting to be smacked in the face by music again," Lahm said.

So he combined with drummer Travis Kline and guitarist Mike Leach, late of droning psych-rock combo The Moon and Badtimes, to found Struck by Lightning.

A month later, Lahm's co-worker John Peters joined on bass, and the band set out at a furious creative pace, building high-octane speed metal around a core of strong songwriting and gruesome but intelligible vocals.

"It's not like who can play faster or who can play louder," Lahm said. "There's songwriting going on. There's structure. There's accessibility, and I think that's important."

In just over a year, they wrote, recorded and released debut album Serpents, out this week on Translation Loss Records. Now Struck by Lightning is prepared to match its creative vigor with a promotional deluge that begins with Friday's release show at Carabar and continues with the band's first tour this fall.

That three-week jaunt includes a week with Chicago instrumental heavyweights Pelican - quite the coup for an upstart band that just played its first show outside Columbus last weekend.

Chris Common, who recorded Serpents at Seattle's Red Room Recording, played some of the album for Pelican, and the band liked it so much that they hand-picked Struck by Lightning as their opening act.

For now, the Columbus metal band is riding a wave of good fortune. Their album, though, tackles humanity's futility in the face of fate's less-desirable curveballs.

Serpents was derived from "a sense of feeling that you get from these things that are out of your control completely," Peters said. "It happens, and there's nothing you can do about it. You just have to let it happen around you."

If the band feels helpless in the hands of fate, it reclaims a sense of power every time it convenes to collaborate. Playing in Struck by Lightning is the one routine that invigorates rather than wears them down.

"If this band wasn't here, I'd hide under a rock," Lahm said. "We all need this, and it's very apparent. If we go, like, a week without band practice, and then we get together and we practice, you can feel it in the room. ... That's what's been missing."

Struck By Lightning

When: 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4

Where: Carabar, Olde Towne East

Web: translationloss.com