Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 1/17/2006
Clad In Darkness
Amidst Her Shadows
posted on 4/2006 By:
How many unsigned local bands can actually say that they’ve set themselves apart from the pack? How many relatively obscure bands do you think come through the doors at MetalReview.com playing a form of melodic black/progressive death metal that literally floors you upon hearing? Not many my friends, not many.
I’ll admit the production isn’t exactly stellar, but not in that shitty trash can kvlt sense (I can still make out the distinctive instruments and thankfully bassist Chris Shive isn’t content simply mimicking the guitars. He actually successfully integrates his own musical ideas within the context), it’s just rough around the edges with a severely raw bite to it. I love the fact that their sound isn’t as streamlined or compartmentalized as most recordings are to the horrifying point where it loses its natural edge; I can here the passion every member has for their music with each note played on Amidst Her Shadows. Basically I’m just friggin psyched this doesn’t sound exactly like everything else.
With the dawning of “Foreward” I realized that Clad in Darkness aren’t the type to waste time fucking around, immediately launching into melodic black owing much of its inspiration to Agalloch with its soaring, lugubrious lead lines and somber underlying melodic death metal tendencies. Drummer Brian Rendina showcases his skill and ability to play the right part at the right moment. He constantly moves things forward changing patterns and keeping the music varied, which reminds me of Dark Funeral in the sense that there’s really nothing that would be worth doing differently.
The instrumental section that takes up half the time of “Revelries In Silence” speaks volumes for their ability to create meaningful contrast within their music, opening the song with a laid back meandering atmosphere while the last half carries the sense of melodic grandeur further with an epic sense of aggression. The rousing dual harmonies and majestic riffs bring the song to a climactic peak before ending the song on another mellow note drawing everything full circle.
Less soft spoken and reflective than the previous material, “Anamesis” fires off wrathfully with a black metal rage firmly rooted in the tradition of Dissection without treading too terribly on familiar territory. The song rushes forward with a phenomenal intensity that highlights guitarists John Benter and Coy Scottberg’s ability to compose compelling riffs with a remarkable built in tension.
Album namesake “Amidst Her Shadows” interjects clean vocals with layered growls that swirl around the listener creating an intense aura of despair while the piercing, tortured screams of Casey Hogan sounds like his friggin life depends on the performance. The song twists through emotional waters while still maintaining their keen recurring sense of progressive aggression never letting the compositions dip into overly timid territory.
The softer sections of Clad in Darkness are an odd blend between the avantgarde stylings of a band like Kayo Dot with the progressive sensibility of Opeth. In some ways I can see how their guitarist Coy’s professed appreciation for Lykathea Aflame has rubbed off on him in the sense that their music can still be beautiful and tear you a new one at the same time with their bombast ala their reliance on a layered approach finding itself employing intelligent black metal in the traditional Emperor sense.
Maybe I’m a bit biased in my review since I absolutely love this style and I’m willing to admit that I’m completely caught up in what they’re doing musically, but I don’t give a damn really. Clad in Darkness have put a lot of thought and consideration into their compositions, and the resulting Amidst Her Shadows EP is an extremely impressive release worth being proud of. Hopefully this serves as only an introduction to a long and successful musical career from this band. I strongly suggest taking the five minutes worth of time and little to no effort to check these guys out and lend them your support. I always find it a damn shame that bands like this aren’t signed to a label, The End Records would do well to take note of this one.
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