Lightsabres – A Shortcut To Insanity

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label: Medusa Crush Recordings
Released: 2018
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John Strömshed – Everything,
Anton Nyström – Drums.


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


How often would you say that you come across an artist that’s likened to “BECK playing black metal, or THE RAMONES jamming with NIRVANA”? If you answer anything more frequent than “never”, you’re a filthy liar and should stop reading this now. Go on. Hop it. Now you folk still here will no doubt be intrigued as to that sonic description, so without further ado, we have Sweden’s LIGHTSABRES. We may be in the brave new world of 2019, but the subject of this review came out as the old days of 2018 drew to a close, so we’ve some catching up to do.

To say that this project boggles the mind would be to understate things somewhat. Music-aside for the moment (we’ll get to the main job in a moment), John Strömshed’s project name is the weapon of choice for certain space opera fans, and is stylised like that of a black metal band. Black metal Star Wars, anyone? Then the artwork for “A Shortcut To Insanity” bears all the hallmarks of some death metal-cum-goregrind band. But what you get is a bizarre amalgamation of twin-guitar harmonies atop grunge-y stoner rock that is just this side of odd enough to work. Well, the album does refer to insanity…

The most striking feature of “A Shortcut To Insanity” has to be LIGHTSABRES’ use of twin-harmonies. They’re an absolute joy to hear throughout the album, and serve to lift songs out of the grunge-y doldrums at times. The likes of “Cave In”, and “Tangled In Barbed Wire” sound delightfully up themselves with their pomp, and it makes for a lovely, melodious listen. Additionally, the softer parts of the album also work tremendously well to add variety throughout the album. “Shot In The Head”, “Shark Eyes” and “Born Screaming” all begin calmly with twinkling clean guitars that transport you on a trip through the cosmos on the Millenium Falcon. However, it’s the gloriously light-yet-depressing “Dying On The Couch” that hammers that feeling home – it’s gentle ride slingshotting off a celestial body into the beautiful void.

It’s not without its faults though. The biggest has to be the disappointment the sound of the grunge-y parts delivers. You go from the gorgeous, clean introduction to “From The Demon’s Mouth”, expecting more or for a crisp, swift volley upside your head, but instead you get a gritty fuzz that is perfectly serviceable, but just a little underwhelming. It’s like going to a friend’s house where the front of it is immaculate, with the lawn neat and kept alongside a rhododendron, but the inside hasn’t been hoovered or polished for a few weeks. Granted, it’s still your mate’s house and you’ll happily neck a cuppa or a beer (or both, you absolute nutter), but the presentation’s a little off.

Nevertheless, LIGHTSABRES’ one man, Strömshed, can dust his hands off for a job done well. “A Shortcut To Insanity” may not actually be a clever navigational trick to the loony bin, but it’s pretty decent psychedelic rock. It may not have the most obvious sound when the rock comes out, nor the most nuanced approach, but it’s satisfying and varied enough to warrant checking out. Those twin guitars deserve praise, as does the astronomical feel woven into the album’s softer parts. LIGHTSABRES as a package may not be completely stark-raving mad, but it’s a certain type of bonkers that works.