Review Summary: Draping post-rock soundscapes, psychedelic leads, and strong progressive tendencies over a Black Metal foundation, this is one of the best Black Metal albums you've never heard, however brief the run-time.
It’s approaching summer, but as the sounds of Amidst Her Shadows blaze through my speakers, a very winter-like chill whirls through the air…
From the grim and frostbitten streets of Chicago come Clad in Darkness, an unsigned band that, despite having gained a strong following in the Chicago music scene, has remained largely under the radar in the rest of the United States and the world.
Clad in Darkness is, at first glance, a Melodic Black Metal band. But let me be the first to tell you that simply slapping the “Black Metal” label on Clad in Darkness is a mistake. In fact, labeling them as any one thing really only scratches the surface of an extremely layered, progressive sound. The amount of different sounds the band achieves in such a short period is impressive; we have post-rock soundscapes, blues leads, thrashy riffing, and extremely melodic sections, all over a strong Black Metal foundation.
For other bands, such diverse and progressive sections like those found on Amidst Her Shadows can produce fragmented, jumbled songs. In the case of Clad in Darkness, it’s just the opposite. In fact, the transitions between ideas happen so seamlessly that, upon arriving at the end, you barely know how you got there. Nothing seems out of place. Every movement stands on its own, all while building on the previous section and leading us into the next; everything contributes to the track’s overall flow when put in the context of the entire song. All this creates a whole that is perfectly equal to the sum of its parts.
Despite the complexity of the sound on Amidst Her Shadows, the album often falls back onto the straight up, grim-as-hell Black Metal that lives in the center of Clad in Darkness’ music. There are blast beats, tremolo picked melodies and anguished shrieks to boot, and they are not only executed well, but also very refreshing; they often come in the wake of the more spacey, unorthodox movements, and help lay an icy backdrop that so well compliments the cold, morose atmosphere blanketing the entire album.
Clad in Darkness deliver a breath of fresh, frigid air into United States Black Metal by presenting an extremely enjoyable, effective twist on their craft. They are blazing a trail for a new sound, in a scene where they remained a well-kept secret for over a decade.
The secret is out.
[Also published at The Metal Observer (http://www.metal-observer.com/articles.php?lid=1&sid=6&id=17972)]