Clouds – Doliu

“The music is dedicated to departed ones, loved ones who now, are no longer amongst us.” Talking about supergroups in musical genres that are at the antipodes of commerciality has always seemed inappropriate to me, also because, usually, the union of prominent musicians from different bands does not always produce a sum equal to the value of the individuals and even, very often, everything is reduced to a sterile and self-referential exhibition of their individual skills. But, if we really had to use this term in the funeral death doom sphere, there could hardly be a more appropriate case than this one in which, for the occasion, some of the most prominent names of the current and past scene are brought together under the Clouds moniker. Daniel Neagoe, the terrifying cantor of the musical transposition of Dante’s work in Eye Of Solitude’s masterpiece, has called together his Deos partner Déhà (also Slow and Imber Luminis), the magnificent vocalist of the Faeroerian Hamferð, Jón Aldará, Kostas Panagiotou of Pantheon and Aphonic Threnody, as well as two historical names of the scene such as Pim Blankenstein of Officium Triste and Jarno Salomaa of the seminal Shape of Despair. With the intention of dedicating the album to all the people dear to us who have passed away, leaving us with only a poignant memory of them, Daniel has been fully involved in the composition of this other musical jewel that, while partially and inevitably recalling what was so magnificently done with Eye Of Solitude, pushes more towards an intimist approach often bordering on ambient, where the piano is the instrument responsible for conveying the emotions that Doliu gives in profusion. The pain of loss, the melancholy that makes its way through the folds of memory, the awareness of the transience of existence and the consequent dismay that overwhelms us, are the ingredients that nourishes every single note in an album that is certainly not easy, but that does not disappoint in any way the expectations arising from an exceptional line-up. Yet another masterpiece that involves this magnificent Romanian musician, capable of putting on the plate another hour of music that flows directly from the heart, splendid at every juncture and with a song out of category for its shocking beauty as The Deep Vast Emptiness, where the keyboards outline atmospheres of an almost unbearable drama at an emotional level, before Jarno’s characteristic touch and Daniel’s superb growl make us sink into the whirlpools of a poignant melancholy, in an emotional crescendo that seems to last forever. The rest of the tracks are based on softer atmospheres, but equally capable of surprising, as in A Glimpse Of Sorrow where, after a few minutes of instrumental ambient similar to the most inspired Brian Eno, Pim’s growl bursts on the scene to break the sadly relaxed atmosphere that had been created. Frankly, it’s hard to expect better than this, and those who, like me, consider Canto III the definitive funeral death doom album, only by avoiding the inevitable comparison can fully enjoy this new exhibition of talent and compositional sensitivity of the one who, at this moment, is absolutely one of the best musicians in this specific genre (and maybe not only).

2014 – Domestic Genocide Records 2017 – The Vinyl Division 2021 – Personal Records