79 A.E. by Clouds Taste Satanic

Release date: March 1, 2024
Label: Majestic Mountain Records

Sometimes you want something uncomplicated. On the front of 79 A.E. four cloaked figures stand on a desert moon looking back at the earth. Undoubtedly, slow heavy metal music is playing. Two side long slabs of the abstract space doom shuffle. A sliver of Sabbath echoing through the universe.

Initially I take our hooded friends to be the members of Clouds Taste Satanic, but then I also assume A.E. stands for after extinction, so we’re talking at least eighty years in the future. Are they machines, ghosts, or keepers of the flame? Sadly due to toxic chemicals ingested during the extinction event these future doom wraiths no longer possess the discipline to stick to one riff for twenty minutes. A lost secret of the ancients. There is still post apocalyptic, sci-fi, instrumental doom metal though so … could be worse.

Similarly, if you are going to find yourself in some future dystopia far from an uninhabitable earth, with an extreme metal band for company, then Clouds Taste Satanic have always seemed quite well adjusted. This is partly because their sound is clean and melodic with little chaos in it, but mostly it’s that they don’t have a singer. Don’t get me wrong, I like chaos, and I do like to hear grown men screaming and yelling about their pain and so on. But, y’know, riffs are better.   

2023 saw Clouds Taste Satanic celebrate ten years with the ambitious Tales of Demonic Possession, a set of four long form instrumentals that took their core musical concerns to new heights. They then rounded out the year with a fairly silly Christmas EP. A band of contrasts. 79 A.E. sits somewhere between those two poles of their output. Lighter and brighter it’s only half the length of Tales… intended as a soundtrack for a film that never got made. That’s the guiding concept, which you can choose to believe or doubt, it makes little odds. They never wander all the way over into soundtrack clichés preferring to stick close to their regular sound, cycling effortlessly between pleasing riffs, propulsive chug, and more atmospheric sections. 

The first big riff hits after three minutes and off we go, space truckin’. The changing sections come faster than usual for Clouds compositions but they still gel together smoothly. Befitting the idea of a soundtrack the effect is almost ambient, a background atmosphere your attention wanders in and out of. The opening chunk of ‘Reclamation’ has a nasty dose of the Dave Gilmours but fortunately things keep moving. It could be heavier and possibly it isn’t everything you want, it’s not as austere as Pelican, as dumb fun as Fu Manchu nor as emotional as Bell Witch. Nonetheless, as always, they deliver a confident and melodic blend of psych and Sabbath-worship as exploratory instrumental doom.

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