A Storm of Light
Nations to Flames

With the release of Nations to Flames, it’s safe to say that New York’s A Storm of Light have hit their stride as a band. After a decent debut album And We Wept the Black Ocean Within and a not-as-good follow-up in Forgive Us Our Trespasses, the band finally came through with the solid As the Valley of Death Becomes Us, Our Silver Memories Fade. Though it seemed that A Storm of Light was headed in the right direction, it appeared as though they might forever toil in the shadows of like-sounding bands such as Neurosis, Pelican, Mastodon, etc.

With their fourth full-length about to be unfurled onto the metal world in a matter of days, it appears as though the NYC trio might be breaking out of their cocoons and into the (storm of) light. Nations to Flames is loaded with everything a fan of doom/post-rock/metal would kill for: heavy, chugging riffs; rolling drums; an ominous atmosphere; and catchy hooks all over the place. While it may not be the reinvention of the proverbial wheel, A Storm of Light has clearly created their finest collection of songs to date.

With a sound that is reminiscent of the aforementioned acts, A Storm of Light also sports a quasi Ministry mood as well, but mostly in the vocals department. Not that Dominic Seita or Josh Graham are the second coming of Al Jourgensen, but oftentimes throughout the album, their delivery has subtle nods to the crazed industrial pioneer. Couple that with an ever-present sense of dread that oozes from the instruments and what you have is a splendid slab of haunting, memorable tracks; the album never grows stale.

“You Are the Hunted” best demonstrates the songwriting skills of the band, as the backing chants of, “you are the hunted” are expertly coalesced with catchy, yet foreboding riffs. Easily the standout track of the album, “You Are the Hunted” is one that should bewitch patrons in the live setting. But as powerful as that gem is, A Storm of Light also bedazzle the listener with the addictive “Omen” and the mesmerizing “Dead Flags”, two songs that will inevitably stick in many an ear after repeated listens.

All in all, Nations to Flames is one of the more surprising releases of 2013 thus far considering how overlooked A Storm of Light has been over the years. With an album as strong as this one, hopefully that will change in the coming months. While it likely won’t wind up on many year-end best-of lists considering how spectacular of a year it’s been for metal, Nations to Flames will most likely receive it’s fair share of honorable mentions when it’s all said and done. Definitely worth checking out, this is.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mike Sloan
September 26th, 2013

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