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Drug Honkey : Cloak Of Skies

Dark, dystopian and haunting: Drug Honkey's latest trip into sonic nightmares.

Up for review today we have the special concoction of horror-infused Doom prepared by the Chicago-based quartet Drug Honkey with their latest 2017 full-length entitled 'Cloak Of Skies'. Although this happens to be my preliminary introduction to the band's work, they are definitely no newcomer to the scene. Originally formed in 1999 and having released their self-titled debut in 2002, the band has since released a number of full-lengths and undergone several line-up changes, although consistently led by the two founding 'Honkey brothers' Paul Gillis (Honkey Head) and Adam Smith (BH Honkey). Cloak of Skies marks the bands 5th full-length release, and I can confidently assure potential new listeners reading this article that Drug Honkey's music sounds nothing like what their band name might appear to project. On the contrary dear friends, this is a serious serving of terror-infused Doom that would appease most listeners whose preferences lean towards the darker, more disturbing side of this genre that we all hold dear to our hearts.

I have to say I truly enjoyed the experience of this album from beginning to end. Drug Honkey displays a very interesting and unusual brand of mid-paced sluggish hag-ridden Doom that would fit the most tragic dystopia characterizing an aftermath of total annihilation. Or a really bad nightmare. This effect is amplified through the band's masterful use and manipulation of sampler effects that evoke a frighteningly illustrious atmosphere. This interlaces seamlessly with heavy sludge-driven downtuned guitars and slow drumming that never comes across as lazy, but rather a patient backbone that contributes effectively towards the overall development of their intended sonic assault. In addition, the ghoulishly-haunting vocals integrate fantastically with the other elements to represent a journey into the depths of evil - or a pretty graphic portrayal of what it could be. The amount of work and effort that has been put into this album is highly commendable and deserves the band much praise. Notable tracks on the album include the opener 'Pool Of Failure', 'Outlet Of Hatred' (my personal favourite) and most particularly, Bruce Lamont's formidably-eerie guest saxophone performance on 'Cloak Of Skies' that is reminiscent of a Godspeed You Black Emperor tapestry yet characterizing its own distinction and experimentation.

I personally found Drug Honkey's sound to be fairly reminiscent of the '90s death/doom metal scene - a scene which although short-lived (sadly), still churned out some truly memorable bands such as Asphyx, Autopsy and Incantation - favourites of mine still today. I would highly recommend this band to fans of this forgotten era, and also to those of more recent acts such as Meth Drinker that appear to share similar territory. However, I should note that Drug Honkey does not cover the more fast-paced Death Metal/blast elements that the above-mentioned Death/Doom acts did, and instead practice a more slower Doom-oriented approach.

In closing, 'Cloak Of Skies' is a fantastic record and must listen for fans of the occult, horror and darker properties that Doom can offer. There also appears to be quite a variety of physical merch options available on their Bandcamp page inclusive of cassettes, vinyl and CD's. However their products seem to be moving pretty quickly so you might want to jump onto them before they're sold out. So what are you waiting for? Take a stroll with Drug Honkey through Hell and the variety of sights it has to offer. I guarantee you will not find a more qualified guide for the tour.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Pool Of Failure
2. Sickening Wasteoid
3. Outlet Of Hatred
4. (It's Not) The Way
5. The Oblivion Of An Opiate Nod
6. Cloak Of Skies
7. Pool Of Failure (JKB Remix)

Duration : Approx. 50 minutes

Visit the Drug Honkey bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-02-27 by Trishay J. Trada
Aesthetic Death
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