A Storm of Light CD reviewed by Luc Rodgers
Jul 28, 2008, 05:46
A STORM OF LIGHT And We Wept the Black Ocean Within CD
First off, the name, “A Storm of Light” evokes, of course, drama. Coupled with the album title, a morose, almost-emo, “And We Wept the Black Ocean Within,” something near a shiver trickles down the spine. Another off-shoot Neurosis band? Yes, BUTâ€¦released on the Neurosis-run imprint, Neurot Recordings. Fine. Music is still music, though, and what is the deal? Why so dramatic in the word choices?
A Storm of Light is led by Josh Graham—visual artist for the touring Neurosis and ex-member of another Neurosis wannabe, Red Sparowes. With all of the power vested in him what will he do? “â€¦Kill/For blood and money,” (from “Black Ocean”) that's what. Yes, it's serious, goddamn serious.
The opening track, a wishy-washy, predictable instrumental piece entitled “Adrift (The Albatross I),” really could clue the listener into anything as it sounds like a thousand other intro tracks; deep, foreboding forays into the unconscious oceans only impact a naked psyche that is new to the genre. As “Vast and Endless” begins nothing is yet evident as to if this is worth continuing. Tribal drums and a breakdown lead into a cavernous thumping that only an ant standing beneath the hind leg of a butt-scratched dog could feel. Deep and, well, endless trudges shake the foundations of what a doom record needs to sound like. Graham's vocals are reminiscent of a more legible Harvey Milk while still evoking its own charm. Patience becomes evident and it is at this point that the listener should decide, if they were smart, to lie on the floor and ingest the entire record in one sitting. The pulsating strings and finality of instruments in full fury forces one to wish they could punch through a wall in slow motion with double the pain. Dangerous.
The lethal atmosphere continues through numbers such as “Thunderhead,” “Mass,” and “Leaden Tide,” and it is, following these, that it becomes completely evident that although all the songs sound very similar, no matter in pointing it out. Sure, there are slight variances in mood, but only slightly. A blackness this dark only comes in one hue that no torch or candle could illuminate. The five minutes of “Descent” pushes the listener down into the finale, “Iron Heart.” It is here that the blackness lightens and an almost worship-like atmosphere takes hold and lifts the release from the mire to convey atop the mountain a prize that neither myself nor anyone else could claim: Upper Echelon of Harder Than Hard. Try to reach the apex and you'll fail. This machine is driven by fuel unbeknownst to the everyday man. They are driven by a poison that we can only hear. [Neurot]