It's been five long years since the world last heard from A Storm Of Light. I won't lie, like many of you, I thought the project had reached its conclusion. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw that out of the darkness came their wonderful new album, Anthroscene, a remarkably tasteful effort that showcases a serious step forward for the band and which hints at a bold new future for the project. While this record is still very much an A Storm Of Light record, there are still two new members, this, alongside the extended time between releases shows itself in the music.
There are some interesting new ideas here and the band's long-held apocalyptic themes seem all the more real in 2018. The helmeted futuristic stormtrooper on the cover of Anthroscene doesn't seem to be a dystopian fantasy anymore, but rather a cold reality. This is an album that reminds us, we are living through a great extinction and an era that, while it may not kill the Earth, could very well be the end of us all. A Storm Of Light starts to hit a bit too close to home.
An overpowering sense of dynamic interplay has come to define this record. The frighteningly stark angular melodies serve as paintbrushes in the bleak soundscapes of this unreality. The bitter pill that is the post-apocalyptic wasteland of this album is put together in a truly potent way. Massive growls and faded out clean vocals make the darkness of this release far too real. The ambient moments—sometimes reminiscent of frontman Josh Graham's other project, IIVII—adds to the sense of mystery and weirdness that makes this such an intriguing listen.
Throughout the entire record, though there is a fairly diverse set of sounds, there remains a cohesive and very real approach to everything. There are a wealth of comparisons that could be made, with everyone from The Atlas Moth to Pelican, but the pure and simple futuristic nihilism of this band means to compare them to any other act would be to fundamentally misunderstand and undervalue the power of this music.
Brooding yet extreme, willing to play into metal tropes while simultaneously moving the needle away from them, Anthroscene sees the band craft a distinct, if slightly dated post-metal sound. While a lot of elements here do feel distinctly nineties, the old school sensibilities also serve to make Anthroscene almost timeless. The simple auditory poetry of these songs is exciting and hints to what the band can become.
There is a very real sense of forward motion here. In an era where all of the band's forlorn predictions have come true, one can't help but give them even more credit. There is a breadth to these compositions and an overarching sense of power that leaves me gasping for breath with every passing moment. A Storm Of Light made the five year wait more than worth it. The world might be ending, but at least they are here to give us the soundtrack.