Neurosis’ ex-visual artist and former Red Sparowes man Josh Graham has said that he was aiming for a challenging, heavy listen with his band A Storm Of Light’s new one, however it’s a bit debatable in the scheme of epic post-metal whether he’s really delivered. The opener comes across as Tool-lite, with some processed vocals aping Maynard Keenan, but only to the extent of tickling the fancy of Radio 1 DJs at best, the overall feel being polite as opposed to anything remotely crushing or unsettling.
The guitar has a little bit of bite, the riffs are relatively pleasing, worrying away at the totem pole of metal homogeneity, and it all hangs together, glued by tribal drumming often, however it never approaches the woody resignation of Neurosis, the cold precision of Isis or the warm contemplativeness of Red Sparowes. Although not intending to reach any of these idiomatic poles I assume, it suffers from sitting somewhere between all of these extremes, like Mastodon having a bit of a break from playing 400 notes a minute. I’m not saying it’s boring, the vocal at the start of the ‘Apostle of Hatred’ is really fun, it’s just, a bit average overall, a bit ‘pat’. You know that ‘buttery’ snare sound Isis managed to nearly ruin all their albums with, only their magnificent austerity saving the day, well this whole album sounds like it’s been put through that, I think that’s part of the problem. ‘Apostle Of Hatred’ actually approaches some of the heights of Neurosis’ Souls At Zero, at least in the instrumentation, but just in a more cuddly, approachable way, which is probably not the desired effect.
I feel like I’m listening to the Daniel P Carter show, and I have no idea who the band is, but it’s kind of OK. It’s not Disturbed is it? No it’s better than that, but what is it? Do I care? I might go and make some cheese on toast. Know what I mean?
If you want something that earnestly produces a less daunting experience than say Godflesh, using a wider range of tools, both human and electronic, then you might enjoy this, however I’m still a little disappointed, despite giving it a few spins. Relentless it isn’t, a pleasant detour in ‘apocalyptic’ rock it is. This is probably not an ideal bit of feedback.
Nations To Flames is the title, the subject is a world in flames, you see, and it’s about the coming apocalypse, where riots herald mass anarchy and destruction. If only it was like that, and people wouldn’t just be huddled against their TVs, while things slowly decline, while a band plays their guitars on the radio in the background.
Scribed by: James Parker