Light This City

Stormchaser

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There's something decidedly anticlimactic about an album whose creators have already parted ways by the time it arrives on record store shelves, and this turned out to be the case for Light This City's Stormchaser -- their fourth long-player and, as it turned out, also their last. At least the San Francisco melodic deathsters made their swan song count, though, by concocting a very solid new batch of reliably violent, yet surprisingly catchy head-bangers like the evocative title track, the fleet-fingered neo-thrasher, "The Anhedonia Epidemic" (reminiscent of At the Gates), and the particularly memorable "A Desperate Resolution" (boasting even more guitar licks to die for). Light This City also have an amazing knack for sweeping guitar harmonies -- a quality they share with Sweden's Arch Enemy, along with having that all-too-rare female frontwoman (Laura Nichol) capable of roaring as fearsomely as any man -- and they're not afraid to use it, as displayed on additional standouts like "Beginning with Release" and "Sand and Snow." Obviously, much like Light This City's previous albums, Stormchaser's music menu isn't all that unique, per se, and certainly anything but cutting edge, but in a genre often ruled by brawn instead of brains, their focus on writing songs one can generally remember after five minutes is not to be underestimated. And in order to mark their final farewell with a few special treats, the group brought in Testament legend Chuck Billy to trade vocals with Nichol on the pulverizing thrasher "Firehaven," and the Funeral Pyre's John Strachan for "Collector Part 2: Donor." With all this going for it, it's no wonder that Prosthetic Records chose to release, rather than shelve Stormchaser forever, when Light This City decided to call it a career; a career to which it can now provide a very respectable epitaph.

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