A Storm of Light, Nations to Flames

Jon Wiederhorn

By Jon Wiederhorn

on 09.17.13 in Reviews
A more aggressive and (gasp!) straightforward album

Fronted by former Neurosis visual coordinator Josh Graham (ex-Red Sparowes, Battle of Mice), A Storm of Light established itself with three full albums of doomy, cinematic post-metal colored with tribal drummer and sludgy, droning riffs. But there’s a new fire stoking the band’s latest release Nation to Flames. Instead of striving for transcendence through monochromatic homogeneity, A Storm of Light opt to create a more aggressive and (gasp!) straightforward album. The songs are more structured and compact, the riffs more rigid, and there’s a distinct industrial element to the distorted vocals and abundant samples. There’s also a new diversity to the tempos. “All the Shining Lies” trudges and tumbles like Godflesh; “Apostles of Hatred” and “Omen” are considerably faster and more torrential, bringing to mind High on Fire. And the largely muted main guitar part on “Disintegrate” is surprisingly reminiscent of Metallica’s “Whiplash.” Vocally, Graham summons Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman throughout, expelling elongated, monotonal melodies that billow like smoke from a blaze. None of the 11 songs are over six minutes in length, which allows the band to flesh out musical ideas without beating them into the ground, then move on to different apocalyptic scenarios. There’s still enough atmosphere and dynamics to appeal to post-rock fans, but with Nation to Flames, A Storm of Light has taken a leap into the more traditional metal vortex, vying for a place alongside similarly-motivated acts like Mastodon and Baroness.