Those familiar with A Storm of Light’s pedigree won’t be surprised by Forgive Us Our Trespasses (Neurot, 2009). Vocalist/guitarist Josh Graham’s involvement with Neurosis and Red Sparowes rubbed off on his musical inclinations. As on ASOL’s debut And We Wept the Black Ocean Within, the band erects massive songs of epic ambition not unlike Neurosis. In its weakest moments, the album too closely resembles that progenitor of the form. From tempestuous swells to eerie passages bathed in violins, ASOL readily adopt some of Neurosis’ finest attributes. It helps that the band exudes confidence in crafting and performing this material.
Despite those similarities, ASOL boasts impressive qualities. Throughout the album, the musicians incorporate a refreshing variety of sounds and techniques. “The Light in Their Eyes” bears similarities to classical or symphonic music, while a trio of songs/interludes called “Law of Nature” adds a welcome weirdness.
Graham’s vocals most differentiate the band. His deep, clean voice perfectly suits ASOL. It adds a melodic, almost pop quality absent from most that attempt Neurosis’ approximation of what it termed “spiritual warfare.” This is best evidenced on “Trouble is Near,” a plodding song that seesaws heaviness with quieter passages. I’d like to hear A Storm of Light explore the melodic and experimental dimensions of their sound. The world doesn’t need another attempt to recreate Through Silver in Blood.