A Storm Of Light - And We Wept The Black Ocean Within
Neurot Recordings
Atmospheric/Progressive Sludge Metal
10 songs (1:02:50)
Release year: 2008
A Storm Of Light, Neurot Recordings
Reviewed by Goat
Surprise of the month

What do they put in their water over there? Each and every project associated with the mighty Neurosis is a goldmine, exploring aspects of the ‘extreme’ genre in a variety of ways and never failing to enthral. Here we have the debut full-length from Josh Graham, who as well as being the visual director for Neurosis also has done time in Red Sparowes, Blood & Time and Battle Of Mice. Although on first listen And We Wept The Black Ocean Within may sound like little more than a clone of his day job, the differences soon become obvious and the album begins to shine in a light of its own making.

As you may well have noticed from the title and artwork, there’s something of a nautical theme around this release, and the shuddering grooves and psychedelic electronica that form the main thrust of the music are oceanic in more ways than one. This might be a rather obvious thing to point out, but there’s always something of the seafaring around this sort of music, the tidal rhythms perhaps catching the attention of that part of us that remembers breathing water. Whatever the reason, A Storm Of Light are better than most at producing music that reminds you of the vast bodies of water that surround our little patches of land, the implied threat of each wave as it attacks and the strange relief when it retreats, only for the pattern to be repeated…

Intro piece Adrift sets the scene, ambient waves crashing and breaking, before the Doomy riffs of Vast & Endless start up, switching between stark melody and tumultuous brutality as the song progresses. Vocally, Graham is very like Von Till, having a Melvins-influenced, rough voice that can sound angry, miserable and strangely euphoric all at once, and as you’d expect he chooses his moments carefully, never taking away from the impact of the music.

Although there’s not a great deal of differences between tracks it really doesn’t matter, as this is supposed to be listened to in a single sitting. It’s hardly a chore; there’s no filler whatsoever here. The subtle grandeur of Black Ocean, the echoing misery of Thunderhead, the vocal harmonising on Leaden Tide – none of them exactly standout moments, but more aspects that are revealed over many listens and that serve to make the voyage a gripping one. A Storm Of Light have done a wonderful job, overall, with even ambient interludes like Undertow and Breach being compelling. It’s closing track Iron Heart that puts the cap on a great album however, starting with militaristic drumming from New York legends Unsane’s Vinny Signorelli, clean vocals and droning riffs soon building up before fading again.

And We Wept… is one of those curiosities that can be listened to on repeat, track one to track ten, without ever growing dull, and this is whether you have it on in the background or are ‘spacing out’ in a dark room with headphones. It’s probably all a metaphor for a past girlfriend or something, but as far as atmospheric music in general goes, this is, if not raising the bar, dropping it in the deepest part of the sea and watching it sink out of sight. A wonderful piece of music.

Killing Songs :
Vast & Endless, Black Ocean, Mass, Leaden Tide, Iron Heart
Goat quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by A Storm Of Light that we have reviewed:
A Storm Of Light - A Nation To Flames reviewed by Neill and quoted 55 / 100
A Storm Of Light - Forgive Us Our Trespasses reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
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