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Clouds : Doliu

The debut from Clouds delivers everything you should expect from a bona fide Doom supergroup.

In late 2014, while stuck in a YouTube loop, I came across a band called Clouds. Their unique brand of Atmospheric Doom immediately took hold of me, and I had to find more. Every song of theirs I encountered drew me further into their sound, so I decided I should dig a bit deeper and learn what I could about this new Doom band. What I discovered only confirmed my initial suspicion that Clouds is no ordinary group of songwriters.

As it turns out, Clouds is a veritable supergroup containing members of some of the most prolific Doom bands around. Formed by Daniel Neagoe (Eye Of Solitude, Deos, Colosus) in 2013, he states, "The music is dedicated to departed ones, loved ones who now, are no longer amongst us." Joined by Jarno Salomaa (Shape Of Despair), Déhà (Imber Luminis, Slow), Kostas Panagiotou (Pantheist, Wijlen Wij), Pim Blankenstein (Officium Triste, The 11th Hour) and Jón Aldará (Barren Earth, Hamferð), Daniel and crew more than succeed in delivering what could arguably be called the most powerful and heartfelt eulogy to date: 'Doliu'.

For those who are unfamiliar with the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), 'Doliu' expertly guides the listener through each of them, exploring the full range of mourning. The album touches on these stages with such authenticity that it would be difficult not to feel some inkling of the pain and suffering that comes with losing a loved one. Having recently lost someone very close to me, I, for one, now feel an even deeper connection to the songs than on previous plays through.

These might all sound like somewhat cliché descriptions for a Doom band, but Clouds brings a depth of honesty that refuses to be ignored. Every piano note is like a sorrow-laden teardrop, every guitar riff a plea to the heavens above, every drumbeat a heart heavy with grief, and every anguish-drenched vocal an affirmation of the despair that these six musicians appear all too familiar with. After all, "doliu" is the Romanian word for mourning.

The album artwork evokes similar feelings in its beautiful yet minimalist design. The logo is a thin flowing script atop a cloud-filled sky. Below that, one can barely make out a few trees and what looks to be some rather old grave markers on a long forgotten burial ground. In these ways, 'Doliu''s artwork conjures the same sense of despondency and gravity found in the music itself. For some unknown reason, the band decided to package the CD and artwork in a clear DVD case. Whatever their intention, this unique packaging choice sits horizontally atop roughly ten standard jewel cases, making it physically stand out amongst the masses, giving the album a visual appeal that pairs equally well with the allure of the audio.

Normally, I wouldn't consider giving an album a perfect rating, as I believe that everything has its flaws and shortcomings. With 'Doliu', however, I'll make an exception. After roughly more than a hundred spins, I still find myself returning to it often with the same sense of wonder and excitement as the first time. I'll also forgo the usual comparison with other bands, as hints of the members’ main projects remain abundant throughout. And so, the next time you are overcome with feelings of melancholy, why not drown your sorrows in the gloominess of Clouds? Doom lovers in search of sincerity alongside their despair are sure to find kinship here.

Editor's note: The initial DGR pressing described here sold out so quickly that the band subsequently self-released a 6-panel digipack version, now also sold out.

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Reviewer's rating: 10/10


Tracklist :
1. You Went So Silent
2. If These Walls Could Speak
3. Heaven Was Blind To My Grief
4. A Glimpse Of Sorrow
5. The Deep Vast Emptiness
6. Even If I Fall

Duration : Approx. 55 minutes

Visit the Clouds bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-05-23 by Chris Hood
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