You know, many times when I sit down to review, it is an unadulterated joy, and the words just flow. Other times, like now, it is quite the opposite, and I find myself stuck for what to say. Now, the reasons for this condition in the past have been many and varied: when asked to review a record for somebody you know personally and wanting to be honest and not letting a friendship taint any objectivity; when you receive an album so bad that it’s hard to find a way of not just writing a string of four letter words; or simply when you’re not in the mood but have a deadline looming. Well, none of those count for the latest Clouds Taste Satanic album ‘Second Sight’; the problem is that I have simply run out of superlatives with which to lavish praise on the band, having pretty much exhausted them in dealing with their excellent prior releases (see Ave Noctum passim).
If you’re not familiar with the work of this Brooklyn based instrumental four piece, firstly, shame on you, secondly, check the prior reviews on the very site you are currently perusing, and thirdly, splash some cash on the band. Clouds Taste Satanic specialise in producing epic music laden with all the riffs and lung liquidising low end chords beloved of the followers of Doom, and yes, the capital “D” is required here, but rather than pander to commercialism with such fripperies as lyrics and songs a mere seven to eight minutes long, the band drown the listener in twenty plus minutes long tsunamis of musical excellence, ‘Second Sight’ being no different, composed as it is of just the title track and the equally epic ‘Black Mass’. A companion to this year’s Walpurgis Eve released ‘Evil Eye’, and arriving in time for Old Hallow’s Eve, ‘Second Sight’ continues seamlessly on in providing a sonic accompaniment to evil goings on, hypnotic looping beats and pulse raising bass lines drawing the listener in, exhorting them to join in a primal stomp, the dance being conducted by the darkly clad pied piper notes of the guitar, leading you on a journey into the ceremony of the music.
‘Black Mass’ follows, a more urgent, almost discordant guitar lead running through the track, promising and delivering an evil sound that is more creeping and ultimately enveloping than all Kiss like corpse paint and fake blood spitting antics of those extreme metal acts that profess to love Satan and show their devotion with unintelligible screeching and Cronosesque leather clad posing. ‘Second Sight’ is a track that delivers the extreme with a combination of subtle brooding atmosphere and musicianship rather than pantomime theatricality. The fact that the band do this over a whole twenty minutes without once losing the interest of the listener is a simple testament to the skill in writing, composition, and playing that the band have to offer.
I’ve said it before in prior reviews of this band, and I’ll say it again, there is something incredibly cinematic about the music of Clouds Taste Satanic, and should John Carpenter ever start directing again and was looking for musical collaborators, this is the band he should turn to straight away. I could equally imagine Second Sight playing perfectly as the sound track to such silent classics as ‘Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari’ with just a little bit of arrangement work, invoking as it does a terrifying and twisted descent into realms of inner madness. To have produced just one such excellent album as ‘Evil Eye’ is to be commended; to produce a another in the same year in the form of ‘Second Sight’ is practically showing off.