By Lord Randall

Now 11 years deep into its existence, A STORM OF LIGHT returns five years after its previous release with "Anthrocene", and oh, what a time for it to arrive. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that the natural catastrophes, political scorched-earth tactics and blatant treasonous actions from all parties, and dystopian embrace we masturbate our minds to catatonia with every night were engineered by the quartet in order to make this album more timely. 

The aptly-named ‘Prime Time’ treads heavily, stalking with a dystopian menace, while ‘Blackout’ pummels, hopeless and distraughtly so. Where ASOL has always succeeded and most post-whatever bands have failed is in their construction of musical megalith – of passion over precision, substance over style – nowhere more evident within this framework than the slow burn/build of ‘Life Will Be Violent’. KILLING JOKE filtered through the gauze of SOUL COUGHING’s darker material may not be too shoddy a comparison, the lyric “There was a constant rushing fury of paranoia without mercy” branding the rotten flesh of the Western world circa 2018. Hate and false patriotism dressed in the armor of nationalism is taken to task in the haranguing, baiting ‘Dim’, and ‘Rosebud’ burns, incendiary yet – somehow – achingly beautiful to bring us to the finale. While you or I may not always agree with the stance ASOL takes on certain hot-button issues of the day, treated as a catalyst for discourse as opposed to division, one has a hard time denying its validity as an artistic statement. 

Ideologically forward-thinking and open? Always. Musically progressive? Never. "Anthrocene" is very much a document of its time, and – should our descendants’ descendants survive long enough to open a time capsule buried this year – I shouldn’t be surprised if they found a lone copy of this album.