Black Clouds Gathering
I would like to start this off by talking a little bit about Deafheaven and the tremendous amount praise the band has received for their most recent release, Sunbather. It seems that everyone and their mother has been talking about how ingenious and breathtaking the release has been. All of the accolades are absolutely deserved and Sunbather should definitely end up on lots of year-end lists, no doubt.
However, with that said Sunbather was released in June of 2013, rewind a few months prior. March of 2013 will find a release by a, relatively, young black metal band (from the surprising location of Jakarta, Indonesia) that goes by the moniker: Vallendusk.
Vallendusk formed in 2011, and in just a short span of time have created two amazing pieces of work for the world to enjoy. Their first release, an EP, was a self-titled triumph. By comparison, Vallendusk’s discography (though just two albums) feels much more successful and well-rounded than Deafheaven’s. Deafheaven felt like they had to catch their stride after a few albums before nailing the perfect sound and arrangements to complete the juggernaut, that is, Sunbather.
Vallendusk, now, has unveiled to the world their first full-length by the name Black Clouds Gathering. The reason I mentioned Deafheaven, is that Vallendusk firmly plant themselves in the same genre-blending territory as the priors. – soundscapes built of thundering blackmetal drumming interweaved with the sounds of beautiful post-rock-esque guitar work and raspy vocal barks.
The real shame is that even though Black Clouds Gathering came out months ahead of Sunbather, not many people know of Vallendusk, nor do they know of their extremely proficient talents for performing the same style of metal. In the niche metal community, everyone who has heard Black Clouds Gathering has had nothing but extremely positive remarks, so on one level Vallendusk is getting their warranted respect, however, they really should be generating the same buzz, if not more, as Deafheaven.
Vallendusk’s Black Clouds Gathering starts you off with a soft harmonious opening – a soothing acoustic ballad, which after a few seconds gives way to a quiet humming. That humming builds into distortion-buzzing tremolo picking. At last when the pounding of the drums kicks in Vallendusk is simply setting the precedent for what will be a relentless album. Every once in a while Vallendusk breaks up the madness with some slower tempo headbang-ready grooves, but fret not, they will certainly bound right back to their pummeling brand of atmospheric black metal.
Black Clouds Gathering is an album that simultaneously makes you feel like you would be happy in utter desolation all the while making you feel like you want to embrace and love everything and everyone around you. The dichotomy of emotions felt with this album is a next-level experience. Vallendusk achieves this harmony of polar opposite emotions through their delivery of beautifully crafted guitar lead work and rhythms set beside the driving, unyielding violence cast upon the drums.
If you’re in the mood for something beautifully crushing, look no further than this album.
We certainly look forward to Vallendusk’s future releases with bated breath.