Genre : Funeral doom metal
Release : May 27th 2014 on Domestic Genocide Records.
Hey hey, something really new, not only because it's been out precisely today, but also because it's the first doom metal review on Ethereal Soundscapes. Doom metal has been a part of my musical horizon for far longer than black metal actually, and I kind of dropped it when I realized that digging funeral doom always meant landing on the same tunes, the same tempos, and allow me, the same boredom. I didn't have much faith into looking for new funeral doom bands anymore. And today, my bandcamp newsletter told me Clouds released their new album, Doliu. Clouds? I remembered giving this a listen a while ago, and although I couldn't recall how it did sound, I was pretty sure it sounded good. As I recently started to look for new good doom metal again, I decided to hit the play button on Bandcamp. Wow. I found it, my new good doom metal.
But why was Doliu incredibly enjoyable compared to many others which got me bored in seconds? I think that the clean vocals of the very first track were something I didn't expect, and which got me hooked quickly. Incredibly good vocals if you ask me : if there's something I lost faith into with years, it's indeed good, deep, sorrowful male clean vocals. Middle part of 'If these walls could speak' will probably show you what I mean. That precise part also demonstrates other elements : deep harsh vocals, typical of the doom genre, mixed into the clean ones. Blasting. What, a long and mature guitar solo? Yeah, nothing to do with a power metal solo, this one really makes sense and carries real emotions. But what's most present in Clouds' first album is the piano, building layers of melancholy through high reverb and slow tempo. The songwriting here is stunning, because pianos successfully stay minimalistic while really emotional. A good example of it would be the first five minutes of 'A glimpse of sorrow', even though the reverb here is not as high as in 'If these walls could speak'. Another uncommon thing would be the post-rockish tunes at the beginnings of both 'The deep, vast emptiness' and 'Even if I fall'. Well, you got it, all those elements are what makes Clouds a very promising funeral doom band. Because if their bare doom parts are quite common in their composition, they're nonetheless really well integrated and short enough to keep making sense. Also, even if their raw doom parts are quite common in essence, they're especially well mixed and the slow guitar cries behind them, as seen around the end of 'A glimpse of sorrow' again, make them just... captivating. What I mean is, yeah, slow tempos, heavy tuned down guitars and low-pitched harsh vocals are surely the basics of funeral doom, but by no means it should take the whole 15 minutes of a single song with the same repeated patterns, and this all over the 5 songs of an album. Doliu is nothing like that. Doliu is rich, intense and deep. Doliu is an album you really listen to, moving from part to part with associated emotions.
Clouds didn't change the bones of funeral doom, they just added flesh on top of them. And such delicate one..! While adding more elements like melancholic pianos, intense clean vocals or excellent guitar riffs & solos, they successfully broadened their musical horizon and avoid themselves falling into the usual funeral boredom. Also, they do not limit themselves in terms of genre and surely open their following discography to many other great tracks. Doliu sounds so mature it's hard to believe it's only their debut album... even though some members are known for playing in other bands, such as Jarno in Shape of despair. Let's just hope they'll keep sticking together and going in that direction to build themselves a name amongst the references in the genre. They surely deserve it.
Personal highlights : If these walls could speak, A glimpse of sorrow.
Links : Facebook, Bandcamp.