Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
The Angels of Light - We Are Him CD (album) cover


The Angels of Light


Prog Folk

4.69 | 7 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Forum & Site Admin Group
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars I find it interesting that this band has not received any written reviews here in Prog Archives.

This is a band headed by Michael Gira, frontman for Swans, that was put together while Swans was disbanded the first time. Of course, we know that Swans are back and better than ever, but what happened between that time that Gira and Swans was making sludgy metal and inventive goth rock to when he was making amazing and epic progressive rock? Well, here is your answer. And if you haven't heard this music by 'Angels of Light', you might be surprised.

The music is listed under Prog Folk here in the archives, and there is an element of folk in this music, along the lines of 'Woven Hand' or Tom Waits, but it is also adventurous as it was with Swans in that Gira continues to experiment with repetition. The music is dark, dark, dark, which is what you would expect of Gira, but it is still a huge change of pace from what he did previously. However, when you hear this music, the transition to progressive music seems more natural than it does if you just accept the gap in the music of Swans.

'We Are Him' is the 6th album by Angels of Light, so obviously this wasn't just a passing fancy for Gira. It features an awesome array of instruments and performers, a lot of them classically trained. To me, the singing is reminiscent of A Silver Mt. Zion, and I find myself reminded of their music a lot as there is a lot of building upon repetition in the music, but you do have that more folk-ish feeling in the music of Angels of Light. Gira is a better vocalist than Efrim Menuck from A Silver Mt. Zion, even though his vocals are deep. When Gira has backing vocalists singing with him here, it even sounds like that 'looseness' in the chorus that you feel with ASMZ.

The big difference here, is this music is not post rock. It is not even prog folk at times either, though that is probably the closest thing to compare it to. But when you listen to 'My Brother's Man', you would think it's a left over from Swans. There is that repetition, but it's not heavy, but it is intense. Contrast that with 'Promise of Water' which has that more folkish element with cello, violin and a choral background and you almost think you are listening to 2 different bands. But in both cases, the music is so gooooood.

Gira's low vocals add to the mysteriousness of this music. To me, they sound more natural than they ever have. 'Not Here/Not Now' takes Gira's background with post rock and applies it quite nicely to this folk style in that he builds upon a repeating riff with a mandolin and acoustic guitars. Then on 'Joseph's Song' you would almost swear you are listening to the ghost of Lou Reed. The song is reminiscent of 'Velvet Underground' with its minimalistic beginning and then halfway through, the sudden appearance of percussion, accordion and trombone.

These are just a few examples of the brilliance of this album. The surprises continue through all of the tracks. There is so much variety in the music and Gira never lets up in the inventive use of variety and mixing music genres. This album is probably one of his most diverse and dynamic albums, and I rate it way up there with his best Swans albums, namely 'The Seer' and 'My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky'. The music is top notch and always interesting, and words don't do it justice. I just don't understand how this band has been so overlooked. 5 stars without a doubt.

TCat | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this THE ANGELS OF LIGHT review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.