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Rating:
8.5
A Storm Of Light - Nations To Flames
17 September 2013


01. Fall
02. Apostles Of Hatred
03. The Fire Sermon
04. Omen
05. Dead Flags
06. All The Shining Lies
07. Disintegrate
08. Lifeless
09. Soothsayer
10. You Are The Hunted
11. The Year Is One


This cover depicting rebels surrounded by flames in front of a burning flag totally warns you about what you'll hear inside: this is some dark stuff, full of raging, destructive fires and smoldering embers.

This Nations To Flames, A Storm Of Light's third album, marks quite an evolution in the band's sound. The heaviness of their previous album Alphabet Soup is still here, of course, but with a much harder industrial edge (and a narrower focus, as emphasized by the much shorter album title): there are no clean vocals this time (not that much of a loss, mind you), the sound's abrasive and gritty, the riffs are harsher, and samples are used extensively throughout the album - crowd roars are the easiest example - and to great effect (closer "The Year Is One" is a creepy affair because of those). The drumming's as great as ever, no doubts about it. And the riffs? They're impressive and totally transcribe a gamut of emotions and feelings, from restrained ("Fall" - promising a bleak future) or unrestrained ("Omen") tension, when they're not downright oppressive ("Dead Flags") or full of anguish ("All The Shining Lies") or ("Lifeless").

This industrial take on post-metal is quite original for sure, even if one can hear some obvious influences, like Ministry ("Omen" totally has a "Burning Inside" vibe), Killing Joke ("Dead Flags"), and Neurosis (no surprise here, right?) or maybe more precisely, some of Tribes Of Neurot's works (the song "Fire Of Purification" particularly comes to mind). And as both industrial and post-metal can excel at describing dystopian futures, it is no wonder this album works so well. After all, it's about the collapse of civilisation, as nations crumble under food riots.

Obviously, it lacks a little something to be perfect (or else it would have won the MSA'13 and also be our Staff Pick, right?) - the even-level sound might sound monotonous or repetitive to some. This feeling sure gets reinforced by the harsh vocals, which totally fit but aren't varied enough. They're still better than the clean vocals found on the previous effort, for sure.

Pure post-metal purists might have a rough time with ASOL's music this time. Anyway, everyone's encouraged to give Nations To Flames a few spins, as the illusion of monotony will quickly fade away. Then you'll taste the anguish, feel the pain, and watch the world burn and crumble to ashes before you.

"All nations slain
All flags to flames."


Band profile: A Storm Of Light
Album: Nations To Flames


 



Written on 23.03.2014 by
Darkside Momo
Used to be your regular Hellfest reporter, now almost retired . I (strangely enough) listen to a lot of metal. And enjoy good beers, comics, novels and role-playing games.
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Lit. - 23.03.2014 at 04:28  
This is relevant to my interests.
LascaillesShroud - 23.03.2014 at 07:13  
This is also relevant to my interests.
Monolithic - 23.03.2014 at 10:39  
This is not irrelevant to my interests.
Darkside Momo - 23.03.2014 at 10:51  
Glad to be relevant to your interests.
Monolithic - 23.03.2014 at 14:50  
To break the combo, I found their music to have more than just "standard post-metal progression" this time, adding a touch of Mastadon-esque flair and trading that whole post-metal aesthetics for a riff-based approach. In my opinion, it was refreshing AND efficient. Definitely fitting to my "relevant" interests.

PS: And they're added to my Metamorphoses list.
Darkside Momo - 23.03.2014 at 15:05  
Written by Monolithic on 23.03.2014 at 14:50

To break the combo, I found their music to have more than just "standard post-metal progression" this time, adding a touch of Mastadon-esque flair and trading that whole post-metal aesthetics for a riff-based approach. In my opinion, it was refreshing AND efficient. Definitely fitting to my "relevant" interests.

PS: And they're added to my Metamorphoses list.

Well to be honest I didn't find that much Mastodon in their sound - but I totally agree on the dropping of post-metal aesthetics. This did keep its heaviness, however
Apothecary - 24.03.2014 at 02:42  
These guys are gonna be at Roadburn and I'm seriously considering checking them out. I listened to that album with the really long title and it was pretty good, so I'll probably get on this one as well
tea[m]ster - 26.03.2014 at 16:28  
This album sounds different from their previous stuff. A lot less "post" and more "Mastodonization". It's still good none the less. Thanks for the review DM, well done.
Darkside Momo - 26.03.2014 at 19:29  
Written by tea[m]ster on 26.03.2014 at 16:28

This album sounds different from their previous stuff. A lot less "post" and more "Mastodonization". It's still good none the less. Thanks for the review DM, well done.

Thanks!
Also, less post, more industrial
Apothecary - 16.06.2014 at 18:22  
Ok, coming back to this now as I missed the band at Roadburn (they clashed with Horse Latitudes) but will be seeing them at Southern Darkness Fest, and.... it's good, but I'd probably put it more around a 7. As teamster said, it's more Mastodon-ish, heavier, and that somewhat takes away the emotive quality of some of their previous albums. Not bad, but having now gone through their complete discog I can say I much prefer these guys when they're pushing the more atmospheric agenda, such as on Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

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