White Lighter – “White Lighter”


White Lighter (2015)What happens when you make a band with members of The Crucified, Stavesacre, Neon Horse, Project 86, Pedro the Lion, Starflyer 59, Prayer Chain, and Velour 100 and have their album produced by Jason Martin (Starflyer 59)?  Answer is, you get White Lighter, who released their debut album on Northern Records.

One might think with the lineup involved that this project would have more press, but it really has flown largely under the radar. Even with the album being released late in 2014, not much has been said about White Lighter and their Facebook page as of the end of February 2015 even has less than 400 likes.  Quite surprising to me given the talent involved and the following of their other bands.  One might think with Mark Saloman of Crucified and Stavesacre fame and Steve Dail of Project 86 fame that some bleed over from those band’s fans would have happened by now.  For this debut album the band used Jason Martin of Starflyer 59 for production as well and the ties to that band have prompted posts on their forums, so word seems to be getting out.  Overall, production and mixing are excellent and the general sound does have a bit of an indie, somewhat rougher retro feel to it, which fits the music perfectly.

Though not the first song on the album, “Omens” is the first video clip released by the band and really that video captures what I feel is the essence of the band and the album.  The overall sound is somewhat older feeling and the black and white video certainly helps with that.  Guitars have a spacey, dreamy, haunting like tone to them and the bass and drums during the vocals really carries the song along.  There is kind of a darker, sludgy, gothy, grungy feel as the song thumps along.  Mark Saloman’s vocals are unmistakable and obviously conjure up memories of Stavesacre.  The song plays the quiet with the loud very well and is a good demonstration of songcrafting.

Throughout the album, one can hear a variety of different sounds, chiming guitars remind me of bands like the Church at times and then Saloman’s vocals even veer toward a young Ozzy as the songs adopt a Sabbath-like tone.  The collective experience of the band members shows through in the arrangements and everything just plain works.  A song like “Swan” manages to really have a driving, dark rhythm underneath what could musically be something like one might hear from bands like the Cure and it takes a few listens to the album to fully hear all that is going on in the songs.

In all honesty, of the prospective influences from former bands, I am really only familiar with Stavesacre, the Crucified, and Project 86, so bear with me there if you’re a fan of all the other bands the members have been a part.  “Son of Dawn” sounds a lot like what I would expect from Stavesacre but with a couple Project 86 sections thrown in, so I’m betting fans of all the possible bands will find bits from all of the bands the various members have been involved.

Songs like “That’s Right” showcase the underlying driving rhythm found in many of the songs on the album and in general, the song has an “older” rock feel to it but the overlaid guitars add a more modern touch that also exemplifies the general sound of  White Lighter.  Take some older, low-technology rock and roll with a driving rhythm and overlay some airy, spacey, ethereal guitar on it to make it sound like a new band aiming for a retro feel and you are getting close to the sound.

“Heavy” starts out with a groovy, fuzzy bass line and that sets the overall tone for the song and the guitars really are there mostly to provide some counterpoint and contrasting accent throughout much of the song.  “Make Fire” is another song on the album to take advantage of that heavy, fuzzy bass line which is really something one doesn’t hear much these days.

Make no mistake, most of the album is guitar driven but not in an overwhelming way by any means .  Comparisons to Stavesacre, Starflyer 59, with some Project 86 are inevitable given the people involved in the album but there really is more here as mentioned above, one can hear all sorts of influences going on amid the catchy grooves of White Lighter, making this an album with much broader appeal than just to fans of the bands the members have been in.

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackson

1. Swan
2. Son of Dawn
3. City Sailor
4. That’s Right
5. Breath Cancer
6. Heavy
7. Omens
8. Hard Love
9. Make Fire
10. Spearhead

Band Members:
Mark Saloman – Vocals
Steve Dail – Bass, guitars
Andrew Pickett – Guitars
Trey Many – Drums, percussion
David Brotherton – Drums, percussion

Record Label: Northern Records, Nov. 2014

Weblinks: Facebook / Bandcamp

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Video for ‘Omens’


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