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Clouds - Despărțire Award winner

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 29 November 2021, 6:25 AM

CLOUDS is an international atmospheric doom metal band formed in 2013.  "Despărțire," is their sixth full length album; they have also released an EP and a acoustic complication. I've reviewed a couple of this band's albums before but I'll say what I always do: very few bands are as emotional and atmospheric as CLOUDS. "Despărțire," continues their journey that rides upon absolutely heart crushing songs.  But it also continues their desire to improve themselves with every release.

Daniel's vocals don't show any signs of wear. He somehow continues to excel on every level. His cleans are gentle yet monumental—with every word he seems as if it might finally be his last. His death growls are among the best in the industry. They are so low—-his growls are a auditory representation of a black hole. He js brutal yet robust and bursting at the seems with tragic emotions. "Deepen This Wound," has the album beginning clean notes, with each passing second adding another layer.  Then the combination of crushing guitar and violin brings the songs to new lows of sadness but new highs for the listener. The violin adds yet another dynamic to the band. The guitar isn't focused on riffs but rather distorted sound of pain and lost love.

Not only this song but the album itself sees the band building up more and more of a foundation.  They aren't quite as ambient and minimalist as they have been. The songs are much more solid and the guitar has a lot more room to breathe. I'm not real familiar with his band ANTIMATTER but MICK MOSS has an amazing voice and it certainly fits the mood on "This Heart, A Coffin." I love how CLOUDS give Mick enough of the song to let his style shine through but the band never stops being themselves. The violin’s beauty against the backdrop of doom guitar and bass reminds me of sun rays peaking through black clouds…at a funeral.  Likewise, the use of flute is yet another musical weapon in CLOUDS' arsenal to make everything beautiful  cold and longing.

The guitars are more pronounced, moving at a glacial pace but including slow but mountain sized gallops. The increasingly intense drums near the song's final moments end the song more intense than normal for the band and it is a nice change. "Your Name In My Flesh," is a classic CLOUDS song that hits all the right notes with the right elements. The clean keys dash across the violin and thick riffs, playing off with a contrast against the growls.  In both styles, Daniel gives one of his best performances.

For over two minutes, the doom rolls across the tundra and flattens it all. The song then fades out with a passage that features Daniel crooning over ambient/clean textures. Violin brings with it death as the song mixes into itself into a behemoth of a tapestry of sound before leveling off…and just when it seems to be over, a frightening growl brings it all crashing back into the soul. "In Both Our Worlds The Pain Is Real,"  is an exciting track to me because Aaron from MY DYING BRIDE provides the vocals. Few can match his legendary status. I consider MDB to be the best doom band so to have him sing with CLOUDS is just mind blowing.

His voice, of course, adds Gothic textures but honestly he feels right at home in this song…especially alongside the flute! The guitars are slow and grinding which is just how they should be with Aaron at the helm. This song? Poetry in motion. "The Door We Never Opened," is probably the most somber song on the album—-and that is obviously saying something. The keyboards alonr are soul crushing. Daniel's vocals are soft but on the verge of an emotional break down. Around the four minute mark, double bass brings the torment into heavier dimensions, the dam bursting and it all pours out.  The melodic guitar solo caps the song off nicely as do the heart felt clean vocals at the end.

I like the density of the textures in "A Place For All Your Tears." With headphones on, the song is immense and even the quieter parts see to paint a wide picture.  The cymbal work and keys are particularly noteworthy because their subtle use goes a long way in making the song sound as large as it does. The final song is "See The Sky With Blind Eyes" is the most gentle song on the album, at least musically but it is just as emotionally devastating as the rest. Up until the last two minutes or so, the song is distortion free but the music, in its own way, goes just as hard when you look at the bigger picture.

CLOUDS have once again dropped a bomb on the world of doom. I'm giving in a near perfect score because I feel as if the band hasn't made their best album yet. If they keep going the way they have then their career defining masterpiece is around the corner. I will happily recommend this album until that happens.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Deepen This Wound
2. This Heart: A Coffin
3. Your Name in My Flesh
4. In Both Our Worlds the Pain Is Real
5. The Door We Never Opened
6. A Place for All Your Tears
7. See the Sky with Blind Eyes
Daniel Neagoe – Vocals, Drums
Mihai Dinuta – Guitars
Andrei Oltean – Windpipes/Woodwinds
Alex Gheorghe - Guitars
Record Label: Independent


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