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A Storm of Light - Forgive Us Our Trespasses CD Cover Art

A Storm of Light - Forgive Us Our Trespasses CD

Personnel: Andy Rice (drums, percussion).
The shared experience of the men behind A Storm of Light, and especially leader Josh Graham, who has contributed his musical and visual artistry to bands as respected as Red Sparowes, Battle of Mice, and the one and only Neurosis, is really quite beyond reproach; but first impressions of their second LP, 2009's Forgive Us Our Trespasses, raise expectations to a level of ambition and hubris that no songwriting genius is likely to fulfill. Let's put it this way: the album begins with a spoken word intro named "Alpha" (one of three interludes subtitled "Law of Nature," parts one through three), and wraps with a creeping, 12-minute sonic apocalypse named "Omega," as though the band has said everything there is to say under creation in between. Well, maybe they simply mean everything within their scope of creation, and in that sense, the grinding brand of post-metal contained herein, while far from groundbreaking in any way, is nothing if not consistent of quality and vision. Think Neurosis slowed down to a crawl, and you'll get the gist of additional slow-burning behemoths like "Amber Waves of Gray," "Trouble Is Near," and "Midnight," which at times also boast industrial textures (see "Tempest," in particular) that not even that band's countless followers often experimented with. For the most part, these songs also lack the sort of dynamic drama that typically takes the most effective post-metal from an atmospheric whisper to an extreme metal thunderbolt ("Across the Wilderness" may be the lone exception), but perhaps the weakest link here is Graham's own voice, which displays a decent range but little emotion as it drones on somewhat monotonously atop the slothful musical magma below. In the end, these various characteristics make it impossible for Forgive Us Our Trespasses to achieve anything like that be-all-end-all expected at first...but it could have been a lot worse. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

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