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A Storm Of Light - And We Wept The Black Ocean Within

Metal til Im sixty   (4 reviews)

Posted: 09/23/2008 | Comments: 1 | Rate:

For full disclosure, I generally love bands that sound like Neurosis, even the ones that most people throw out because they're just not doing anything different at all. But while listening to A Storm of Light's debut "And we Wept the Black Ocean Within", I think that I might have started to realize why my friends had been saying what they had for so long.

This effort is chock full of "atmosphere" and droning passages that provide a textbook foundation for a record of this type. The riffing on this release is very much like Neurosis, except it seems that Josh Graham of Battle of Mice, Red Sparrowes, and formerly of Neurosis (hooray for visuals!) fame tried to take the riffs to places that Neurosis didn't. Note that I said tried. Some of the riffs on this album are just cop-outs. It's like he gave up on ideas half way through at points, and how you don't have time to flesh out an idea in a nine minute song is beyond me.

In fact, I'll go ahead and say the reason that I can't get into this album is %100 Josh Graham's fault. Not only was the riffing relatively sub-par but his vocals take me out of the record several times. I think if someone else had taken over duties or perhaps had he stepped up his game and fixed this glaring weakness that I might be able to overlook some of the other issues. Previously, Graham had never stepped up to the mic in anything other than a backing role, and after this release I'd say that he might want to remain behind the scenes.

To make things worse, Graham decided to write another doom record about whales. I understand the imagery that the tale of Moby Dick inspires, and I realize that the ocean is an oppressively large figure that invokes sadness, but for the love of my sanity, stop pretending like you're the first person to have the idea. There is a ton of very depressing imagery in the world, look elsewhere, the ocean (and the inhabitants therein) has been done. If not for these off-putting vocals and a maniacally cliche theme this would be yet another band ripping off Neurosis that I listen to on a semi-regular basis.

There are some high points on this release, though. Vinny Signorelli (Unsane, Swans) gives a pretty creative performance considering the material given to work with, and his dynamic approach to the skins really layers everything nicely. I don't think I could speak
higher in regards to the production. Everything sounds exactly the way it needs to sound. The guitars are thick and have a tone that bleeds desperation. The drums sound as distant as sanity and more powerful than any typhoon Josh Graham has ever encountered. The keys on the record generally stay to the back, which is to be expected, but when they rise to the surface the progressions remind me a lot of Neptune Towers or Tribes of Neurot (surprise surprise) and are a real solid aspect that they might want to use more of. Also, the song "Iron Heart" is actually pretty solid all around, including Josh Graham's otherwise voluntarily forgettable performance.

Overall, this is not an awful record musically. If Graham was able to take a back seat vocally, I could see myself listening to this much more than I will, which is an unfortunate conclusion since 9 times out of 10 I love this kind of music.

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listen to neurosis
10,733 Posts
further, this band bored me to tears when they opened up for neurosis. Maybe it was because I was pumped out of my mind to see Neurosis and that Mastodon was about to gloriously punch me in the face, but I'm thinking moreso that they were just as boring as week old piss.

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