Sound — 10
The final album by melodic death metal band Light This City is without a doubt the best. Everything is taken to the next level on this 2008 album: guitars, solos, vocals, drumming and production. The guitar tone is raw, the bass is loud and everything is just perfectly mixed. Chuck Billy of Testament lays down bada-s guest vocals on the thrashy song "Firehaven," in fact, the entire album has a strong thrash sound to it. Replacing lead guitarist Steve Hoffman with Ryan Hansen was the best choice this band ever made, his riffs and solos are outstanding. Brian Forbes stands much more for the melody, even if he also has a lot of heavy stuff going on. "Stormchaser" is also the first and only album to feature bassist Jon Frost, who replaced original bassist Mike Dias. Ben Murray is a beast behind the drum kit and he really topped himself on this one, extreme metal drumming at its finest. The flow of the album is excellent and not a single song feels like a filler. The record is 50 min. long, consisting of 12 tracks. Every track sounds a little bit different, and almost every one is a killer song. The music sounds like it did on "Facing the Thousand," but with a big dose of thrash metal. These songs are both the heaviest and most melodic the bands has ever done, and you can still hear some At The Gates and Arch Enemy in there.
The album starts with the title track that begins with a calm intro, just like the previous album did. When the first riff hits, you notice the amazing production, and when the verse begins you immediately hear that Laura Nichol has improved her vocals yet again. The song has several impressive riffs and the chorus is simply fantastic. The second half of the song is much more melodic and that last riff makes for an epic finale. The album then jumps right into "Fragile Heroes," a very heavy song with some impressive drumming. The two following tracks are much more melodic, with "The Anhedonia Epidemic" being one of the best songs on the album. I absolutely love the verses on the that song, as well as the chorus. The above mentioned "Firehaven" is a fast track, filled with riffs. The part that Chuck and Laura does together is awesome. Then we have "The Collector, Part 1: Muse," a complete mosh fest that has to be classified as a thrash metal song. This track is fast, aggressive and extremely heavy. Not just the second best song on the album, but one of the best songs from the band. "Part 2: Donor" has a strong death metal sound, and features some sick screams. After the darkest part of the album, it does a smooth transition back into melody with "A Desperate Resolution," a song that starts heavy, but ends melodic. The guitar solo at the end is phenomenal. "Wake Me at Sunset" is the third strongest track on the record, a great mix of everything. The section after the solo is incredible, and the following heavy part just gives me chills every time. Great lyrics, fantastic song. I also have mention the song "Sand and Snow," a short melodic track with amazing riffs and great drumming. Possibly the bands most underrated song.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics by Laura are just as great as they were on "Facing the Thousand"; dark, aggressive, sometimes complex and often with a poetic undertone. I was surprised when I read the lyrics to the most melodic songs and found out that they were some of the darkest. The lyrics are usually about anger, betrayal, painful feelings and personal struggle. "The Collector" is about a serial killer, sung from the perspective of the victim. It tells the story of man that's building his own perfect woman from the body part of his victims. The lyrics here are sinister: "Flies have long since settled on their feast, breeding maggots in the eyesockets of the deceased."
There is also a conversation between the killer and the victim, where Laura does black metal screams when the killer is responding. "Firehaven" and "Wake Me at Sunset" are based on Ray Bradbury's short stories "The Long Rain" and "The Rocket Man" from the book "The Illustrated Man." The vocals are great and Laura sounds different from any other female growler. She's not one of best in the genre, but she doesn't have to be.
Overall Impression — 10
"Stormchaser" is a melodic death metal masterpiece, not just one of the best albums of the genre, but one of the best in metal. Definitely the best album of 2008, closely followed by Testament's "The Formation of Damnation" and Brainstorm's "Downburst." The albums flow is just perfect, starting with a song that signifies their sound followed by a second heavy song followed by 2 more melodic tracks, that leads the album into a melodic peak with "Beginning With Release." The darkest and heaviest part of the album is nicely placed in the middle, surrounded by 2 fast songs. The record reaches a second melodic peak with "Sand and Snow."
The best songs are "Stormchaser," "Wake Me at Sunset," "The Anhedonia Epidemic," "Sand and Snow" & "The Collector, Part 1." If you haven't listened to this album, you're missing out on one of the finest records of the 2000's. The band played their final show on April 14th, 2010.