A Storm of Light
And We Wept the Black Ocean Within

Featuring current and former members of Neurosis, Tombs, Unsane and Swans, A Storm of Light is exactly what you might guess based on the title and cover: a massive tsunami of sound and thunder, intent on submerging you beneath its crushing waters. It’s progressive hardcore/doom with a tortured, nautical theme: slow, crashing slabs of guitar, bellowed vocals and dissonant waves of feedback drifting beneath the cacophony. In other words, Neurosis meets Ahab.

The Neurosis comparison shouldn’t come as a surprise – that band’s visual director, Josh Graham, provides the roaring vocals here, with a loose narrative/concept piece about the sea and the secrets buried below. Notes on the label’s bandpage links to a National Geographic article about “bog bodies” – preserved Stone Age corpses found suspended in peat bogs, and in an odd bit of synchronicity, that image of dead men suspended in the murk had already come to me when I was listening to the first song, “Vast and Endless.” Weird.

Harrowing and bleak, “Vast and Endless” has the listener treading water for most of its 7-minute length, and then, in the track’s final, roiling throes, you look down and realize that the depths below conceal a kelp-forest of fishwhite limbs and swaying torsos. And it’s those dead men’s voices that then chant the ominous, groaning sea-shanty of the following track, “Black Ocean.”

The remainder of the album is both cinematic and colossal, as A Storm of Light pounds the listener with wave after wave of oceanic dirges. What’s most notable is how they work a succession of tranquil respites into tracks like “Leaden Tide,” as if it’s safer and quieter below the crashing waves than it is on the churning surface. It’s like the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan, where the camera keeps dipping below the waves to reveal a refuge that seems temptingly safe but is most likely permanent.

If it’s A Storm of Light‘s goal to drown you in atmosphere and conjure up visions of a suffocating, fading-light demise, they’ve done a damn fine job of it. You’re not going to want to listen to this during daylight hours, or even with the lights on – it’s meant to be taken as a full experience, to be consumed by and swallowed up in.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
June 24th, 2008


  1. Commented by: Franklin Delano Bluth

    Will be buying this for sure. Also, I was watching this movie Tideland yesterday, and Jeff Bridges character was talking about “bog bodies” or whatever….weird coincidence since I’d never even heard of them before.

  2. Commented by: axiom

    Wow, I’ll be getting this cd also. What Swans member takes part? Oh, and if I remember correctly, the bogmen were from a Scandinavian country.

  3. Commented by: gabaghoul

    Vincent Signorelli joined as their second drummer – but that’s since this album was recorded, my mistake.

  4. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    i really wanted to like this, but just could not get into it….

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