Despite differences there’s always been a tendency among some to see A Storm Of Light as a sort of Neurosis-in-pyjamas outfit, especially with ASOL’s commander-in-chief Josh Graham acting as ‘visual artist’ for the Oakland legends. However, it’s been more than a year since Graham departed Neurosis, and if he was in need of a statement that showed just how total that departure was then Nations To Flames is it.
For a post-metal group ASOL have always eschewed emotional ambiguity and abstruse riffing in favour of brutal, abject dirges delivered with the relentless precision of anti-aircraft fire. Here, though, the attack is more akin to the targeted precision of calculated drone strikes.
Cruising more in the realm of Killing Joke and even early Metallica, Nations To Flames drops much of the dirge in favour of directness. Gone are the spoken word interludes and eight-minute-plus songs; in comes taut, thunderous and minimal blitzkriegs that project the same abjectly bleak worldview.