Bands to Watch: Struck by Lightning

John Ross, Columbus Alive

For Struck by Lightning, everything happened so fast.

Rising high from the ashes of other local bands in little more than a year, the metal quartet has released a full-length record and embarked on a substantial tour, gotten national press and played with some of underground metal's most promising.

Even their deal with Philadelphia's Translation Loss Records was inked in record time. Singer and guitarist Greg Lahm sent a demo to the label owner, a friend who had backed Lahm's previous band, and an offer came back the next day.

"In our first year as a band, we've done some pretty amazing things," said Lahm, known for his work with post-sludge band Mouth of the Architect. "Every step, every bump in the road has been exciting."

Fuel to hit the ground running comes from a punishing brand of metal, which borrows from Unearth, Mastodon, Killswitch Engage and other heavy bands not content to discolor between the lines.

"It's been an uphill battle in a good way," said drummer Travis Kline. "I got used to playing slow and loose. This is a well-oiled machine. We trim the fat."

In one way, Serpents, released in September, is a lean record, with every note sharpened to mimic the power exacted by the band's name. In others, the debut is quite hearty, evincing Lahm's knack for dark melodies and layering.

"It's kind of cool when you can butt heads," Kline said about the group's collaborative songwriting process. "I might be pissed off, but we try things the way each of us wants to try it. We settle on the most democratic version."

That shared vision will drive the band's ambitious plans for 2010 and beyond. Lahm, Kline, guitarist Mike Leach and bassist John Peters said the next few months will include touring and a few big surprises.

"The remainder of 2010 is devoted to touring in support of the record," Lahm added. "We're trying to do as much as we can, so when we do record No. 2, there's an audience."