Sometimes this reviewing lark can be a real drag and seem like work, other times, a real gem arrives and restores a bit of faith in the music. I’m glad to say, Clouds Taste Satanic fall firmly in the latter category with ‘To Sleep Beyond The Earth’. Claiming influences such as Sleep’s ‘Dopesmoker’, the band cannot be accused of being in a hurry, this instrumental album running at over 45 minutes for a single track in two movements. As an added bonus, this late arriving album came in the form of a well printed CD complete with dark medieval religious artwork, setting the tone of what is to be found within.
‘To Sleep Beyond The Earth’ opens with a wall of sustain and dragged out notes, all played at a deathly pace, the dark sounds being enhanced by the tolling of funeral bells. By some ten minutes in, the twin guitars of the band start working together to build a disturbing riff that could be the national anthem of the country of Dystopia, or if Guillermo Del Toro ever stops playing with giant robots, the sound track to Lovecraft’s ‘At The Mountains of Madness’. The track then falls into a looping near dirge, subtle changes in tempo preventing it becoming nothing more than repetition and preventing it tailing off into tedium, the movement finishing with a simple tailing off of feedback.
The second movement starts with a more stripped back sound, a single barking guitar over a simple drum beat being slowly built up layer upon layer with more complex sustained chords as the other musicians move in, and it is here that you can best hear the influence of Matt Pike in the hypnotic playing. Again, to prevent the track slipping into the realms of pure drone, the band break up the sound with time changes and effects that enhance rather than jar with the composition.
This is not an album designed to set pits circling and elbows flying; rather with this album Clouds Taste Satanic have created what could be argued is the perfect metal chill out album, music to relax to and be absorbed by, accompanying whatever may be your favourite chemical relaxant, which as I type this at midday, is for me a nice cup of tea!