Lead out track ‘Fall’ comes in with standard issue scary samples and has a classic Judas Priest riff. It soon becomes apparent that the band are going to have to work very hard to impress me with their songs as they sound extremely derivative of one particular band, and that band is Ministry.
To be fair it’s a more sprightly Ministry than we’re perhaps used to – Al‘s mob can quickly descend into a filthy dirge and happily wallow in their own misery for long periods, A Storm of Light seem happier keeping it dramatic and uptempo.
Industrial sounding music can sometimes sound like the product of studio wizardy rather than a living organic creation and only occasionally do A Storm of Light (here augmented by Andrea Black on guitars) sound like a real live band – ‘You Are The Hunted’ has rousing gang vocals in the chorus, and suddenly you think a group of people are playing here rather than an amalgamation of angry noises.
Tonally the songs here have something in common with the nihilism and black angst of Slipknot – check the songs titles – ‘Lifeless’, ‘Dead Flags’, ‘Disintegrate’. Cheery stuff it certainly isn’t. Every song is liberally peppered with vocal samples from various OTT news broadcasts and movies, giving the impression that there may be a concept at work here, but other than ‘We are all doomed!’ it’s hard to get a handle on what that might be.
Instrumental ‘The Year Is One’ makes best use of all the scary samples and it sounds like it would make an effective movie soundtrack, perhaps on something by David Fincher. However while it is accomplished it is rather predictable, and yes, there’s still the spectre of you-know-who hanging over it. For me there is simply no escaping how much this sounds like Ministry and as good as these tunes are, and some are very good, I cannot just relax and enjoy the noise with my critical faculties screaming -‘It’s Ministry! It’s Ministry!’ over and over in my head. ‘Disintegrate’ even nicks the riff from ‘N.W.O’ for Christ sakes!
The breathless and brutal ‘Omen’ is great and almost convinces me to get over myself but, it’s not quite that great – none of it is. If you’re a fan of industrial metal you’ll enjoy this, just don’t expect any surprises.