Atlanta Georgia is not the first place one would think of when Blackened Death Rock is what is on the cards. However, Cloak hail form the Southern States and ply their trade in the same market as Watain and Tribulation.

The quintet have been around for four years and this is their first full length offering. What “To Venomous depths…….” does offer is a mix of gothic melodic death metal with a bludgeon of black and roll.  Fans of Sarke and Vried will groove along nicely to the riffs and there is a lot of Nocturno Culto in Scott Taysom’s vocal delivery.  The atmosphere throughout is dark and foreboding packed with tremolo guitar work with a driving rock beat rather than blasts to guide us. It is surprising to hear such a European sound coming out of the USA with UK goth getting props as well with a plenty of influence from Homepride Heroes Fields of the Nephillim throughout .  “The Hunger” especially could do with some flailing arms and changing of lightbulbs (albeit at an increased pace).

The stand out track for me is “Beyond the Veil” the distorted Maidenesque intro gives way to a rumbling gothic bassline that has me hook line and sinker before unleashing a machine gun burst riff that conjures up a torch lit apocalyptic scene. Plenty of drama on tap here, something that many acts forsake in pursuit of shock and awe. A soupcon of Gothenburg leaks out with a piercing guitar solo worthy of many a melo-death album.  Such a strong track, one that the repeat button was made for.

“Death Posture” that follows is a rumbling beast which lumbers a little part way through but retains a sense of macabre wonder.  “In the Darkness, the Path” is a driving, fists in the air dark rocker whilst “Forever Burned” draws more from the fallen angel for its musical inspiration – some orange squeezing moments in this corpse painted belter. The piano led filler of “Passage” is reminiscent of the Hadleigh horrors and serves as a nice entrée to the 10 minute feast of closer ‘Deep Red’. Swathes of melodic guitars swirl over a back beat before a riff that could be out of Michael Schenker’s back pocket kicks in. This is Black Rock – the sort of stuff that I reckon Abbath would groove to at home. Scorpions and UFO meets Darkthrone and early Bathory. At last the Americana is shining out of the corpse paint. (I know all the bands I just name-checked are Euro but you get my drift).

There are some real gems on here. Cloak have the chops to bring the noise to any torch lit ceremony either side of the Atlantic.

(7/10 Matt Mason)