In a sense, it goes without saying that musicians and songwriters are quite often inspired by the world around them; be it in terms of the self, or in terms of the world as a whole.  Falling well within the category of the latter, A Storm Of Light’s fourth full-length, Nations To Flames, seems to be a blunt force hit to the face, leading the listener to question and re-evaluate what guitarist/vocalist Josh Graham sums up as “humanity vs nature”.


Overall, the band’s latest effort is certainly one of the more intelligent and thought-provoking releases of 2013, with a fascinating approach to channeling “feelings of frustration and anger, and helplessness to some extent,” states Graham before adding, “I find writing about these issues to mean a lot more than say, writing about Satan or some other bullshit.”


In terms of instrumentation, A Storm Of Light has plenty going on in their mix to keep the listener’s ears focused.  Well known for lush mixes and atmospheric passages, Nations To Flames is somewhat of a step back, with a more focused and concise approach to the music, without departing too much from their prior albums.  For some bands, this might stem from finding a fresh look to their respective craft, but Graham explains that “certain parts tend to work or feel better live than other parts. That experience is how we ultimately decide where to take the next recording. After sifting through everything, it felt necessary to write some faster and more focused music, and ditch the meandering ‘post’ elements.”  In terms of their previous album, 2011’s As The Valley Of Death Becomes Us, Our Silver Memories Fade, Graham admits that it “experimented with some more ‘rock’ moments than anything we’d done previously” before jokingly adding, “Those moderately ‘positive’ moments didn’t jive with our natural pessimistic personalities!”  Now that the album is out and circulating, any member of A Storm Of Light could easily sit back, listen to the record, and nitpick different aspects of this album’s vibe.  Graham admits that some of the feedback regarding the use of vocal effects is surprising to him.  The album’s mixer, Matt Bayles, added in a few things “to thicken up some parts” as Graham describes, further adding in that “It definitely did not feel like a massive step outside of our normal sounds.”


Lyrically, this album tends to be quite scathing and rather sharp, to which Graham clarifies that this is “targeted toward the corrupt corporations who are running the planet into the dirt.  Obviously they may always be in charge of things, but it’s nice to think about some sort of alternative to their greed, possibly bring humanity into a more sustainable entity that can live below the earth’s environmental tipping point.”  Of course this type of observation is decades (maybe even centuries) old, and seems to be quite the vicious cycle.  As a matter of fact, Graham comments that he recently reviewed lyrics he had written with his high school band, and they very closely resembled the lyrics on Nations To Flames.  As an avid reader, Graham tends to lean towards “a lot of non fiction books relating to environmentalism and our footprint on the earth, so the underlying issues are something we really care deeply about.”


European festival goers will certainly be able to catch A Storm Of Light this Spring as they make appearances at Inferno Fest, Roadburn and Temples, in addition to various tour dates throughout Europe.  As for North American fans, the band has a few sporadic shows scheduled, but Graham declares that a full US tour is certainly possible and in the works.  Nonetheless, the live spectacle of Nations To Flames shouldn’t be missed, and might very well help to debunk powers that be everywhere.

Thanks for dropping in!

If you’re here maybe you should think of adding Zero Tolerance Magazine to your arsenal of regular reading? We offer a 3-issue trial subscription to whet your appetite. http://store.ztmag.com