A Storm Of Light - A Nation To Flames
Southern Lord
Doom/Sudge/Post Rock
11 songs (51:35)
Release year: 2013
A Storm Of Light, Southern Lord
Reviewed by Neill

I had first heard of A Storm of Light due to their prior album As the Valley of Death Becomes Us, Our Silver Memories Fade due to being released on Profound Lore Records. I enjoyed the album, but found it to be somewhat forgettable as well. I didn't remember much about it after listening to it. Upon the announcement that the band had moved to Southern Lord Recordings, I was interested to hear new material, and give the band another chance. Once the artwork for the album was released I was even more excited. The artwork is just beautiful. The reds and oranges are fantastic and the picture it paints does a good job of readying the listener for what's to come. After getting this promo and listening to it a few times, I have to say I'm not as excited as I once was for this album.

One thing I do want to say from the get go relates back to the album cover. When listening through this album, while it may not be as heavy or crazy as some death metal and grind bands, this is an album I could see playing during the apocalypse. The artwork does a great job of bringing home the point that this is "end of the world" music. From the beginning of Fall, to the end of the last track The Year is One the band does a wonderful job having that bleak, "everything is crashing down" feeling. The album has a great use of samples throughout as well which help with this mood as well.

The album itself though, sadly, does not really live up to anything beyond that. The album is very dense, yet you are able to hear everything. The guitars, drums, bass and vocals all come through clearly, even while creating a big wall of sound. The samples do add some to the record, especially in the last track, which I will discuss more later on. Going back to the music, everything is done very well. The musicians are certainly qualified, and do a good job on these 11 tracks to create a consistent mood. The playing is not complex by any means, but it works. The simple music creates a good groove, and good head banging record. The vocals still have me up in the air. The vocals are heavily processed, which grows on the listener over time, but at first it sounds a little bit strange and even detracts a bit in my enjoyment of the record. Also, whenever the vocals come in, I cannot help but think of Mike from YOB. Sadly, this is the second album I've listened to recently that made me feel this way. Mike's vocals are great in YOB, and for that matter, VHOL but I can't help but feel like I would rather listen to them while this record is playing.

The album itself is fairly short overall. The 11 tracks come to an average of a little over 4 and a half minutes per, which is actually good. The songs don't drag on too long (usually) and each song does a good job of trying to sound different from the prior. Each track has it's own voice and chance to take it's own shape, however, many of the tracks do feature a lot of repetition in the lyrics. It bothered me at first, and still does. Repetition can be good if done well, but this album and these songs just don't do the trick for me. The album comes off as very bland and forgettable. It's hard for me to really remember any specific riffs or passages from song to song, and much less once the album is over. It's sad to say, because the members of the band have created a great mood record, that can be played during any apocalyptic scene, but does nothing to me to warrant repeat listens.

It really is not all bad though. While the music is bland to me, and each song becomes forgettable, each song does have it's own sound. So I appreciate that. Also, the final track, The Year Is One is really good. It's an instrumental track, with the only "vocals" being samples. The track is eerie as hell, and the idea of the world ending is never as strong in my mind as it is on this song. I would not have it any other way. If the album before this song was while the world was crumbling, this track is in the final hour, the last moments before all is gone.

Sadly, I really do not have much to say about this record. There are some good parts: The final track, the actual tight musicianship, the artwork and mood, but there just isn't a lot going on in my view. Everything comes off as having been done bigger and better by other bands. Nothing is exactly bad about the album, but it's just so utterly bland and average to me that cannot see listening to this album much more. Feel free to give the album a chance if you're into the style of music, but don't get your hopes up. I expected a lot, and was let down very hard. Check out the album opener Fall on the band's YouTube page at this link.

Killing Songs :
Fall, The Year Is One
Neill quoted 55 / 100
Other albums by A Storm Of Light that we have reviewed:
A Storm Of Light - Forgive Us Our Trespasses reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
A Storm Of Light - And We Wept The Black Ocean Within reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
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