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Clouds - Departe (2016) - Review

Band: Clouds
Album title: Departe
Release date: 1 November 2016
Label: Self-Released

01. How Can I Be There
02. Migration
03. In The Ocean Of My Tears
04. In All This Dark
05. Driftwood
06. I Gave My Heart Away

Oh you bittersweet melancholy, how sweet is your cold embrace and how strong is your touch when you penetrate our hearts through music with such feeling of sadness. Is this happiness of being sad or just sadness that has taken on lightness, nevertheless, Clouds with their sophomore album will let the one who enters this world of pure emotion pouring through sound breath the atmosphere of sorrow in its purest form. After the stunning debut, Doliu, released in 2014, the band which consists of some doom heroes who are known from bands like Shape Of Despair, Pantheist, Hamferd, Landskap, Imber Luminis, Eye Of Solitude, Deos, Officium Triste, The 11th Hour and Extreme Cold Winter to name a few, Departe came out to make your winter time even more darker and cold. The album which was self-released consists of six epic tracks full of atmosphere and grief, that are slowly leeching under your skin like a parasite hidden behind the mask of warm embrace. It's beautiful, it really is, it bears so much emotion, pain and sadness, but also sweetness, that at times it's almost unbearable. Everything slowly, drop by drop, with this thick and dense atmospheric sound penetrates the listeners senses like a charming deadly friend from otherworld. There's no shimmer of light, neither any kind of hope and joy inside the world of Clouds.

I don't think that those chilling atmospheres and so very depressive melodies will leave anybody cold, trust me that your soul will melt when those slowly waveing yet heavy guitar riffs will start crushing down and when those pounding drum beats will shatter inside your brains. The torch that gives light will slowly cease to burn, but at the same time the wounded mind will find a hand that stretches towards and offers support in the darkest times. Vocals that often shift between soothing deep cleans and dark growls that will amaze fans of Shape Of Despair, Saturnus and Doom:VS for example, are haunting as hell, add to that so very gloomy, sometimes sacral, other times almost symphonic and yet very much gothic synths that even more deepens the atmosphere and I think that you can imagine about what I'm talking about. Here and there also a haunting sound of violin pops out, played by Shawn MacGowan known from the masters of doom and gloom, My Dying Bride. Regardless to all that Departe is a very dynamic, sophisticated and versatile album, there are no mellow and boring parts, like it's the case with many doom albums trying to offer such a sound. For example the first two tracks are kind of atmospheric doom/death metal with a lot of post metal elements, the opening can remind a bit to early-mid period of Anathema. There are plenty of catchy hooks and captivating melodies, deepened by some very depressive but at the same time soothing piano touches that add another shot of darkness to the overall ambiance. How nice it breaks the murky soundscape the third track, "In The Ocean Of My Tears", one of the highlights here, just listen to its ambiental folkish/celtic opening, a hypnotizing tranquil song sangt completely by very emotive but at the same time strong female vocals. The last time that I felt something similar, such strong emotional vibrations, was with the Trees Of Eternity album Hour Of The Nightingale. Then the captivating, absolutely epic and so nicely building up in atmosphere "In All This Dark", hits like an arrow in the heart, and the strong feeling of ghastly coldness is than brought to its fullest in the slow doom/post-metal at the very border of funeral doom, the symphony called "Driftwood" and deepened even more in the closing one "I Gave My Heart Away", which in the end reaches kind of emotional climax and yet offers some delicious guitar leads that prove about technical abilities of these musicians. 

Departe is without any doubt one of those albums that brings that necessary gloom and emotion into doom metal genre. In my opinion this is one of the best doom metal albums released in 2016, if not in the last five or something years. I must admit that I prefer clean vocals over the harsh growling ones, but no harm done as everything fits just perfectly. Absolutely not for those who search only for brutality and power, but for those who are willing to let their minds, hearts and souls go on a trip into the world full of departed souls where grief and sadness speak with mysterious voices. When listening to Clouds is like to lose yourself in a grievous journey through paths of desolation, anguish and despair. Clouds returned with an excelent offering, and even if almost all of the tracks are around ten minutes long you won't feel bored for a second and the whole thing passes by yet too quickly, leaving the one emotionally fulfilled, maybe depressed, but I'm sure that with kind of a sweet vertigo.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9/10