Clouds – Doliu (Reissue)
Reviewed: April 2021
Released: 2021, Personal Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Sometimes you need a second chance to make a first impression.
Originally released independently in 2014, DOLIU was the debut album from the multi-national doom conglomerate known as Clouds (Tiamat reference?). Though the band has gone on to release multiple albums since then, Personal Records has thankfully resurrected and reintroduced DOLIU properly for the first time. After multiple listens with DOLIU, I’m not only saddened by the tone of the 7 exceptional tracks on the album, but by the fact such an amazing band has been completely off of my radar until now.
Picking up where Anathema left off after ETERNITY, Clouds fully embrace the sort of sonic depression that really hits you in the feels at the same time as you’re woefully banging your head. Packed to the brim with empty piano keys, layers of synth atmospherics, resonant guitar melodies and a tasteful balance of clean vocals and death growls, it’s a truly moving musical statement.
The solemn repose of the opening “You Went So Silent” is enough to drag yourself into a dark corner and weep for no discernable reason; it’s the kind of sadness that’ll have you pouring your darkest tragedies out to bear in front of a strip mall therapist. “If These Walls Could Speak” recalls Anathema’s “Lost Control” almost exactly to the warbled throat and tinkling ivories, while “The Deep Vast Emptiness” and “Heaven Was Blind to My Grief” each cultivate the goth, the death, and the gloom into a grittier, heavier expositions. There’s definitely a nostalgia appeal to DOLIU that recalls the golden age of early gothic/doom metal, with ingredients of the original Peaceville 3 and the early bands that were spun from that recipe. But Clouds manages to make those familiar themes sound as vital and as urgent as the elder gods did back in the day, and do so just as effectively.
At its best, doom metal and its peripheral genre sub-tangents should make you feel something, anything. DOLIU delivers on those expectations almost too well, it’s a beautifully crafted album that pushes your emotional boundaries. I’m still digging into Clouds’ later catalog, but on its own merits, DOLIU is an absolute triumph.