without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Heavy as fuck post-metal/sludge/doom outfit A Storm of Light is back with a new record featuring a slew of guest musicians. It actually surprised me that they found Kim Thayil (Soundgarden; on Missing, Black Wolves) and Jarboe (Swans, Jarboe; on Collapse, Death's Head) willing to join them. Others guest are Nerissa Campbell (Amber Asylum; on Missing, Black Wolves, Wasteland), Kris Force (Amber Asylum; on Wasteland), Carla Kihlstedt (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum; on Destroyer) and Matthias Bossi (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum; on Wasteland).
The band is fronted by Josh Graham who does vocals, guitars and keyboards. He is of Neurosis (visual artist), Red Sparrowes (guitar) and Battle of Mice (guitars, keys, some vocals; I should review that one as well, their A Day of Nights record is soulcrushingly good!) fame. The line-up is completed by Joel Hamilton (guitars, drums; Battle of Mice) and Domenic Seita (bass, vocals; Tombs). Some Neurosis and Tombs (not surprisingly), Minsk, Kylesa and even some Tool shines through from time to time. To make clear how awesome their music is, they gave this album a ridiculously long name...
The album features drawn out droning/crushing guitar riffs as well as more melodic soaring pieces. This all is supported by tribal drumming, as well as more straightforward fills and the typical post-metal style with either just a few hits or a lot of crashes to give this soothing flow. In that regard, their band name is aptly chosen. This really is a storm blowing around you, slowly building in strength and intensity, pummeling you from all sides and the light... well the light, gives little comfort but does offer a small reprieve before it burns right through you. What is clear that in the end there is little hope left, this is the apocalypse of your soul.
The sound is awesome, the production really fits the music and makes sure there is no escape from the impact A Storm of Light wants to make. All in all I think this album is better than their previous work. It's more coherent (it also really needs to be played as a whole, this is not an album to just pick out some songs), they have clearly found their niche and know what they're doing. This is post-metal/doom at its finest!
PLAY IT LOUD.
Ever since the death of Layne Staley, there's been something missing in the music world. No matter how much I wanted it to, the new incarnation of Alice in Chains doesn't even come close. Cantrell's solo work barely even attempts to.
Superficially at least, A Storm of Light sounds a lot more like The Gates of Slumber, with an ultra-heavy sound that fits in perfectly with the new school of traditional doom. They also clearly take some influence from Neurosis, as you might expect since this band is fronted by their own Josh Graham. But every time I hear it, I think of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, that borderland where grunge meets metal.
Memorable melodies are laid down by the bass, while the guitar layers atmosphere over the top. Appropriately enough, Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil appears on two tracks--which happen to be two standout cuts. The drums are interesting and varied (check out "Leave No Wounds"). Each song has hints of all these styles, but they emphasize one over another in different ways, from the grunge of "Wretched Valley", to the doom of "Missing", to the post-rock of "Collapse". The album ends on the epic "Wasteland", which also prominently features female vocals.
The music is excellent, but ultimately, it would be incomplete without the vocals. They mostly drone, not unlike Neurosis's Scott Kelly or, indeed, Layne Staley, complete with hints of the late frontman's pained, nasally delivery.
The Verdict: Profound Lore hit it out of the park again.
originally written for http://fullmetalattorney.blogspot.com/