PromoImage-1As far as essential metal albums of 2013 goes, A Storm Of Light’s masterful Nations To Flames easily sits at the top of that list. On their latest the “metal alchemists” continue what began with 2008’s And We Wept the Black Ocean Within but go for shorter song structures but a no less dense soundscape overall.

From the Ministry meets Sepultura thunder of opener “Fall” through to the ethereal chaos of “The Year Is One” which closes out the album, A Storm Of Light deliver an album that is equal parts punishing, pummeling and unapologetically crushing.

In between there’s the tribal sinister vision of “Apostles Of Hatred” with a bit of Prong-style riffage that comes into play. Then “The Fore Sermon” lumbers and lurches along with an almost Neurosis like intensity (Which is fitting considering that founding member Josh Graham was once a member and occasionally channels the behemoth with his vocal delivery). Later on, creepy “Soothsayer” leads into the Iommi-like guitar intro of the chant-along “You Are The Hunted” and then you add guest performances from Kim Thayil and Nachtmystium’s Will Lindsay elsewhere on Nations… along with precision production from Matt Bayles (Isis/Mastodon) and this is easily A Storm of Light’s best yet.

Nations To Flames is out through Southern Lord Recordings on September 17th. CD and digital pre-orders are available at A Storm Of Light’s bandcamp page.

Grade: A



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