Monday, June 29, 2015

…as above, so below: CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC – ‘To Sleep Beyond the Earth’

“Crushing” and “majestic” are probably the simplest and most immediate ways to describe the debut from New York instrumental four-piece Clouds Taste Satanic. ‘To Sleep Beyond the Earth’ is comprised of a single track in four movements that effectively combines the grandeur and spaciness of post-rock ambiance with the ominous crawl and lumbering riffs of doom metal. Clouds Taste Satanic are here to fill the void left by the unfortunate dissolution of Germany’s Omega Massif.

The A-side, “To Sleep Beyond the Earth (Parts I & II),” sets the tone with a slow build that is accented by distant gong strikes reverberating in the background which lends a sense of immediacy and dread to the proceedings. Though the initial build-up is menacing and suggests an ill-omened journey from the outset “To Sleep Beyond the Earth (Parts I & II)” is selectively imbued with moments that are oftentimes delicate and even beautiful. Given the context of these moments the end result is an atmosphere of unshakeable forlornness and unequivocal doom. There is an ebb-and-flow to the track creating a roller-coaster of tension and release. Clouds Taste Satanic have effectively created a soundtrack-like journey by utilizing the extended song form without subjecting the listener to twenty-three minutes of monotony and needless repetition.

The B-side, comprised of “To Sleep Beyond the Earth (Parts III & IV),” is arguably the “harder,” more “metallic” side of the album. Rather than taking their time to instill a sense of dread in the listener with hulkish riffs and ritual-like gong strikes the band immediately settles into a low-key groove that is as heavy as it is sinister—the perfect way to balance out the atmospheric leanings that are in abundance on side A. Though the spacey, often dream-like psychedelia of Parts I & II has taken a back seat to the immediate, driving riffs found on the B-side (for the most part), Clouds Taste Satanic have woven enough twists and turns into the track to keep the remaining twenty-two minutes interesting, even returning to the gong motif that had been tastefully threaded throughout the first half of the album.

With ‘To Sleep Beyond the Earth’ Clouds Taste Satanic have crafted a doom suite in four movements that avoids many of the pitfalls of extended, epic song lengths. There are enough changes in tone and tempo to keep the listener engaged while discerningly returning to thematic elements so as one cannot forget that they are experiencing a cohesive whole. It’s a journey worth undertaking again and again. Clouds Taste Satanic have moved to the forefront of instrumental doom and have set an incredibly high bar for future releases. Their follow-up release, ‘Your Doom Has Come,’ will be released on September 1st and expectations could not be any higher…



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