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As Valley of Death Becomes Us Our Silver Memories

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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Josh Graham (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Joel Hamilton (Wurlitzer organ, synthesizer); B.J. Graves (drums, percussion); Domenic Seita (background vocals).
  • Audio Mixer: Joel Hamilton .
  • Recording information: Avast Studios, Seattle, WA; Studio G, Brooklyn, NY.
  • Josh Graham, who's also affiliated with Red Sparowes, Neurosis, and Battle of Mice, is the mastermind behind A Storm of Light, whose last two albums were released on Neurosis' Neurot Recordings label. Now that he's moved the band out from under the Neurosis umbrella to Profound Lore, has the music changed all that much? It has not. It's still loud, grinding "post-metal," propelled by tribal drumming and built around monolithically sludgy riffs and chanted vocals. His voice is at times uncannily similar to that of Yakuza frontman Bruce Lamont, and they blend well with the band's crushing, bulldozer-ish roar. There are quite a few guests here, including Nerissa Campbell, Jarboe, and Carla Kihlstedt on vocals, Kris Force (of Amber Asylum) on cello and violin, and Soundgarden's Kim Thayil on guitar. But the singers are backing vocalists, not even duet partners, so they're contributing name recognition more than real musical input, and the same could be said of Thayil -- his guitar tone just isn't nearly as unique as that of, say, Slayer's Kerry King, so when he's up there riffing away, it could have been anybody. Ultimately, those who already like A Storm of Light -- and there's much to like; their songs are less boring than Neurosis' or Red Sparowes' -- will like this album regardless of who the sticker on the shrink-wrap says is guesting. ~ Phil Freeman
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