What are the ingredients of a good black metal album? It’s an ideological basis from the hate to human being, streaming guitar riffs; solid and precise rhythm-section and vicious screaming and roaring vocals.
The idea is that black metal is one of the most ideological genres in music, so the absence of at least one of these elements is throwing the release to some “intergenre” sphere, which is not bad at all.
I want to say that this album is straight from the sphere where established styles and genres are mixing to create something new.
USA band Cloak released their first LP ‘To Venomous Depths’ via Season Of Mist label on November, 10th. They are playing middle-tempo black metal, mixed with rock’n’roll with a little touch of neo-classics and deathrock. The main representatives of these genres are Kvelertak and nowadays Satyricon (yet, Cloak are closer to them). The band members themselves call their style “Blackened Death Rock”.
‘To Venomous Depths’ starts from a short self-titled neoclassical intro that turns to “Where No Light Shines”; “Deep Red” is ending with the same outro. There are no some bright hits, it seems that the musicians had a task to cause the listener to have a certain state of mind, and they realized it clearly and consistently. The album rather transmits some feeling of readiness to accept the evil decisively. Lyrics are full of poetical appeals to darkness, but without explicit Satanism or destructive misanthropic. The songs are flowing from one to another so when ‘To Venomous Depths’ ends, you want to hit “repeat” button and listen to it again, because the whole atmosphere is spanning.
Musicians did a great job. Music isn’t overfilled with techniques but it doesn’t mean it’s primitive. And while it’s decomposed into components, there can be found a lots of interesting ideas. Drummer Sean Bruneau is playing juicy and reconciled, Max Brigham’s guitar is melodic and ambient, Matt Scott’s bass isn’t just a rhythm section element, and the second guitarist Scott Taysom’s extreme vocals, low and threatening are very relevant. Sometimes it goes to screaming and translates the ideas from music language to a human greatly. There are also some guest musicians: guitarist Rafay Nabeel from Withered (great solo in “Within The timeless Black”), Royal Thunder keyboardist MLNY Parsonz (“To Venomous Depth” and “Passage”) and cellist Matt Jarrard (“To Venomous Depths”,”Deep Red”).
Despite rock’n’roll notes, there isn’t some “raking up waste”, that is inherent to mentioned Kvelertak or their Italian colleagues Whiskey Ritual. Music is rather quite contemplative and little depressive, which makes it deathrock.
To sum up, it’s a good and unconventional release. Albums like this you want to listen to them a couple of times and then put it aside for some time. To turn back to them and listen again.