Review Summary: with the light of the sun guiding us
2013 is a great year for metal, we can find several great albums released in this year. Started by the metal giants such as Gorguts with their long awaited Colored Sands, Ulver with Messe I.X-V.I , and Ulcerate with Vermis, or several gems that went under the radar because the metalheads attention was focused only to the giants. If we delve deeper into the metal scene we will find some great albums such as In the Midst of Life We Are In Death by Cerekloth and The Charnel Expenses by Zealotry as the hidden gems and of course, there are still many more of them to be found.
One of the hidden gems you can find is Black Clouds Gathering by Vallendusk. Hailing from Indonesia. They take the concept of atmospheric black metal and take it to a higher place by incorporating folk and post-rock with nature as the main theme for this album in the vein of Agalloch. While most atmospheric black metal come out with a more depressed and darker sound, Vallendusk was somehow able to make a softer and more subtle sounds in their music.
Vallendusk kicks things off with a short acoustic guitar passage before exploding into a barrage of blast beat drumming and tremolo-picked guitars. As one of the main highlights in Black Clouds Gathering, ”Fragments Of Light” provided us with a blissful-yet-dark atmospheric feeling that continue to evolve as the album progressed.
The instrumental works in this album are spectacular, they able to provide a strong backbone for the album. The serene-sounding guitar and the steady drum works exist together to create the blissful-yet-dark atmosphere. They are able to build an epic and jaw-dropping climax of riffs such as the last minutes of “Fragments of Lights”.
The vocals in this album are haunting and evil and they able to blend quite well with the beautifully crafted instrumental works, allowing the vocals to fully functioned as a major contributor to the dark but surprisingly subtle atmosphere with majestic lyrics such as: “Over the horizon shines the lunar's many lines, In all their mighty glory, above the eternal shade, As the oceanic breeze begins to fade, Into the dark skies, We are alone in a vast ocean of constellations”
This album rolls in a similar and almost cyclical patterns. As the entire album alternates between instrumental and vocal tracks. The instrument makes up most of the album, which proves to be one of Black Clouds Gathering downfalls: Repetition. Most songs tend to stick around to the same formula. If the listener isn’t careful enough to differentiate the progressions that made between the songs, they will deem this album as a boring and repetitive records that failed to capture the listener’s heart
Overall, Black Clouds Gathering is a highly atmospheric and a solid album from a group that came from nowhere. Sure they may not have brought something new to the genre. But for those looking for a good atmospheric black metal album ,this album is a good choice.
Fragments of Light
Among The Giants
Land of The Lurking Twilight