Known more for their associations with all things Neurosis, A Storm of Light has never done especially much to differentiate themselves from the throng of Neur-Isis clones. Chugging along with regularity, one could never fault the band as less than competent, though their catalogue has been just that – competent at best. Though the pedigree of A Storm of Light has never been in question, the band has always seemed destined for greater than the sum of their parts.

Therein, the sea change prevails. Nations to Flames – with its appropriately apocalyptic feel – has more in common with Godflesh and Killing Joke than their former compatriots. Though the thematic tropes of low and heavy prevail, this is a band that has developed into a unique anomaly. Opting for a brisker pace has brought much-needed urgency to A Storm of Light, even going so far as to channel Ministry and Disfear on the mid-album cut “Disintegrate.”

There is a definite sense of cohesiveness throughout Nations to Flames. The album has done a great deal to distance itself from the endless build-ups that defined the post-metal years. The songs are far more direct than their predecessors, demanding to be listened to.

A primal thread runs through the entirety of the album. Nations to Flames is the sound of A Storm of Light drawing a line in the sand and daring you to step over. They have bared their teeth and are threatening to bite – you’d better step back.

By Aaron J. Marko

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