One of the many sub sub sub genres of metal is the somewhat broadly monikered "post-metal", which is mostly, in my experience, a catchall term for any kind of experimental offshoot of various metal genres. Most of the bands exhibit similarities to doom, sludge, early hardcore and emo, classic 70's rock, or are a mixture of these. As you might expect, also in my experience, the results are fairly mixed at best. In all the avant garde nature, any semblance of sanity, subtlety, and good songwriting can easy get lost in a sea of attempts at being "heavy" or "technical" or awash in gear and tone nerdery. Something about this release, though, captures many of the positive elements for me.

From my investigation, A Storm Of Light have been around for a few years, but have only come to my attention with this release. Their music is dense, layered, and slightly challenging. The wall of sound presented here is intimidating, but thankfully not without a plethora of nuances that keep it sounding fresh. Much of the heaviness comes from muted, staccato low notes ala the Melvins or Head Of David, and the slight industrial bent to the songs does indeed show off a HOD and Godflesh vibe, but is not quite as stiff as most industrial metal. Instead the songs have some noticeable breathing room and considerable groove and natural emotion behind them. Like any good extreme metal band, the vocals are mixed slightly back into the melee, allowing the harsh barks to be used as an extra instrument rather than overtake the music. The use of familiar song structures, even some verse-chorus-verse stuff, makes a couple tracks, such as the opener "Fall" stand out quite nicely.

One of the best aspects here, and I'm not even sure if it is 100% intentional or not, is the slightly conservative underproduction at play. This is one album that mercifully will not subject you to yet another atomic bomb in the so called "Loudness War", a name for the ever decreasing quality of digitally recorded music in favor of deafening levels of noise that modern metal producers in particular are shamefully guilty of. This entire album sounds like a naturally played and produced set of tunes, almost like a well recorded live set (which in all truth, it could easily be). One might even be fooled into mistaking it for a long lost 90's gem.

The only drawbacks I can admit to are the somewhat tedious, samey riffs that occasionally bog it down. After a couple listens I'm still hard pressed to remember more than a small handful of individual songs. Perhaps this is better experienced as a whole record at once rather than track by track. However, absolute top spots are almost definitely "Fall", and the excellent sound collage-tinged closer "The Year Is One".