A Storm of Light - And We Wept the Black Ocean Within (Color) (2LP)
180gr color vinyl. One LP is blue black and the second LP is orange black. Features members of Neurosis, Unsane, Swans and Tombs.
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 album is both cinematic and colossal, as 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.
A Storm of Light frontman Graham may not have had much of a hand in the Neurosis songwriting department over the years (he's responsible for the visual aspects of their live shows), but by the sound of the note-perfect mimesis on And We Wept the Black Ocean Within he's soaked up the creaking-boat doom of latter-day Neurosis, especially the excellent Given to the Rising. However well-worn And We Wept's theme of ocean-as-unconscious is in the metal world (see Mastodon's Leviathan, Isis's Oceanic, Ahab's The Call of the Wretched Sea, Thrice's Alchemy Index Vol. I&II: Fire & Water), it makes for fine accompaniment to the album's roiling tidal sludge, simpler texturally than your average Neurosis album but just as finally wrought by guitarist/vocalist Graham, bassist Domenic Seita (Tombs) and drummer Pete Angevina (Satanized).
A Storm of Light - As the Valley of Death Becomes Us Our Silver Memories Fade (IMPORT) (2LP)
Guest appearances by Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), Jarobe (Swans), Kris Force (Amber Asylum), Nerissa Campbell, and members of Book of Knots, and U.S. Christmas.
Deluxe gatefold sleeve.
By initially combining elements of sludge and doom metal, post metal, and epic ambient soundscape experimental music, with their third album, “As the Valley of Death Becomes Us, Our Silver Memories Fade”, A Storm of Light have developed even further into a much more potent and cohesive unit with what ultimately is easily their strongest release to date. By embracing musical templates more associated with traditional metal (i.e. mid-era Metallica) and traditional rock (i.e. AC/DC, QOTSA), while still maintaining the band’s forward thinking progressive vibe, “As the Valley of Death Becomes Us...” presents a more song-oriented A Storm of Light while at the same time, a band that has incorporated a heavier, harder-hitting, and ultimately darker and more crushing vibe to their music. Out of all of his musical and artistic endeavors Graham has been involved in the new A Storm of Light album will stand as one of his most prominent accomplishments.
A Storm of Light/Nadja - Primitive North (Color) (2LP)
Limited edition on color vinyl with one side featuring beautiful laser etched artwork. Deluxe gatefold sleeve. Includes a CD of the album. NOTE: The free CD version is not the full retail version of the CD. It is a CD copy of the album included within the sleeve as a means of easily ripping your own MP3s. It does not include the jewel case or CD booklet, just the CD itself.
A Storm of Light has entered intense uncharted territories. Fusing delicate melodies with oppressive dirge metal and dense atmospherics, Storm have truly come into their own with these two phenomenal tracks. Contagious, hypnotic and haunting... although no major surprise considering A Storm of Light is helmed by frontman Josh Graham, who cut his teeth as the visual artist for Neurosis and founding member of both Red Sparowes and Battle of Mice. The prolific duo of Nadja delivers one truly massive, 20+ minute epic of blissful genius. Their track consists of their patented molasses-thick wall of super-dense fuzz and surprisingly tuneful white noise spanning the spectrum of what Nadja is: a true behemoth of stark, glacial-paced sludge. Shapeshifting from a serene and uplifting aural setting to an absolutely soul-crushing Broadrick-esque industrial nightmare, Nadja is a beast of many faces.
On "Primitive North" we get the best of both worlds, as volatile remixes also accompany these original works. Each band has reconfigured the other’s material, resulting in remixes that compliment the original songs well, and perfectly blend the two groups together.
Acheron - Lex Talionis (Red) (IMPORT) (LP)
Limited edition on red colored vinyl.
"Lex Talionis" is highly enjoyable old-school death metal with solos that bring in a traditional heavy metal feel. Acheron managed to carve out their own niche in the death metal scene, as their stuff is neither typically early 90s US or Swedish death metal.
Acid King - Free/Down with the Crown (Red, White and Blue) (LP)
Limited edition on red, white and blue smoosh vinyl. Deluxe gatefold sleeve.
Dark, slow, slithering, strangely hypnotic, Acid King merges the fuzz of stoner-rock with the mood of doom, and demolishes any qualms about the apocalypse with the throaty, condemning vocals of Lori S. Joseph.
Across Tundras - Dark Songs of the Prairie (White Splatter/Clear) (LP)
Limited edition of only 100 copies with white splatter on clear vinyl!
If you play that Neurosis/Isis strain of music, how are you going to set yourself apart from the likes of Tides, Mouth of the Architect, Souvenir's Young America, Angel Eyes, Disappearer, and all the other groups that have tread the same narrow path this year? If you're Denver's Across Tundras, you embrace your inner shitkicker and bury the vocals low in the mix. Acorss Tundras' sprawling compositions have more of a rock feel. It's as if they're playing something that, if sped up, could actually boogie. There's also a twangy aftertaste, a hint of alt-country. That could draw comparisons to Earth's Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method, but Across Tundras isn't that ethereal and sparse. They're melancholy yet forward moving, and overall they live up to their billing of unleashing a "powerful new statement of rustic, crushing Americana".
Can't avoid the Isis comparisons but these guys do stray from the rigid mold. Songs are sprawling and the playing is really loose but stays heavy.
Adrift - Black Heart Bleeds Black (IMPORT) (2LP)
Black Vinyl. Deluxe gatefold sleeve.
Doomed in mood and guitar-led sensibility, Black Heart Bleeds Black songs follow progressive structures to vicious ends and offer little hope to those who’d take them on. More importantly, the overall impression the album gives is more individualized than was the first record, Monolito, and Adrift work within a variety of forms that maintain their pummel even as they change the direction from which that pummel comes. Tonally, it’s metal, and I hear a bit of Converge‘s bombast in the screams of “Mallet Man,” but there’s more happening in these songs than any one band comparison can really convey, the two guitars of Macon and Jorge (the latter also vocals) working into and out of tandem stretches with an ease that skillfully undercuts the difficulty of what they’re actually doing.
Age of Man - About Time (180gr.) (Yellow) (IMPORT) (LP)
Limited edition of only 150 copies on 180 gram yellow coloured vinyl in a handnumbered gatefold sleeve.
AGE OF MAN are an El Dorado-based fuzzy-bluesrock trio. With their debut full length 'About Time' the trio shows all their talents: lots of catchy riffs, great vocals plus solid, heavy, driving rhythm. Their thick and muddy brand of blues-steeped guitar rock is reminiscent of a simpler time, stripped of modern musical conventions and cleverly re-imagined from its very core.