Clouds – Departe

When a few years ago Daniel Neagoe, between one masterpiece and another of his Eye Of Solitude, set up the project called Clouds, there was the feeling that it could have been an extemporary project, however splendid, in the light of a logistically composite line-up. Today, even if the compositional reins are still firmly in the hands of the Romanian musician, with the second full length entitled Departe, Clouds make that final leap in quality that confirms and reinforces the value expressed with the previous Doliu, making it appear even more the work of a real band. The definition of a funeral death doom supergroup fits here and nobody can dispute it: how else can we define a combo that features, in addition to its mastermind, his long-time partner Déhà (Deos, Slow, Imber Luminis, Yhdarl, We Al Die Laughing, and a thousand others), Mark Antoniades (Eye Of Solitude), Jón Aldará (Hamferd, Barren Earth) Pim Blankenstein (Officium Triste), Natalie Koskinen and Jarno Salomaa (Shape Of Despair), Kostas Panagiotou (Pantheist, Wijlen Wij) and Shaun MacGowan (My Dying Bride)? It’s not always the case that the sum of the values in the field corresponds to the final product, and it’s precisely on this point that Departe turns the tables, paradoxically managing to go even further. Clouds was born as a project dedicated to those who are no longer with us, and this, on the compositional side, is perceived in every single note through which the listener is submerged by emotion, pain and regret, all feelings expressed by songs of unreal beauty. How Can I Be There is the first gem that reveals itself to our lucky ears: a long and soft introduction prepares the ground for the climax, which will come at the time of the explosion of Daniel’s growl in unison with the instruments in the background, following a modus operandi not unlike that of Eye Of Solitude: nothing strange, when the compositional mind is the same, but in the sound of Clouds is the melancholy, that this track can produce in profusion, to prevail over despair. Migration is simply one of the most beautiful and touching songs I’ve ever heard in my already long enough life as a music lover: the spectacular voice of Jón Aldará is the added value, thanks to superlative clean vocals that act as a counterbalance to a catacombic growl and a musical structure that does not tear with its painful pace, but penetrates and insinuates itself under the skin with all its load of nostalgic regret. In The Ocean Of My Tears, performed by Natalie Koskinen, is another example of musical poetry, introduced by atmospheres with a folk flavour: what is lost in the song’s drama is gained in lightness thanks to the Finnish singer’s voice and, in the end, proves to be a different means of evoking that sense of abandonment that never fails on the album. In All This Dark is one of the more and more frequent tracks in which clean vocals are used consistently by Daniel Neagoe as an alternative to growl, confirming an exponential growth in recent years of his technique, which has led him to be one of the best voices of today’s metal, not only of the specific genre: even this episode retains an uncommon level of pathos, while maintaining very atmospheric characteristics. Then it’s one of the deans of the scene, Pim Blankestein, historical voice of Officium Triste, who takes the stage in the magnificent Driftwood, together with the unmistakable guitar touch of Salomaa, who weaves a web of unforgettable passages in the finale. The closing track is I Gave My Heart Away, and it’s useless to underline how this is yet another musical gem, given to those who can enjoy it, contained in this album: guitar, keyboards and violin produce an ensemble that creates an exciting contrast with the growl, which is in turn supported by a sound carpet that, although touching, shows faint glimmers of light. Clouds represent the other side of the coin of Eye Of Solitude, if you look closely: if the latter represent in a tragic and harsh way the existential malaise and the consequent reaction to the inevitability of a destiny already written, the first prefigure a sort of resigned acceptance of all this, expressing it with a sound more atmospheric and soft, with consoling tones. If we want, even the passage from mourning (Doliu) to distance (Departe) brings the elaboration of pain to a different level: in the first case, the phase of detachment and the inevitable lacerations that it causes are described, while in the second, the person who has physically disappeared is spiritually idealised in a non-place, which allows the memory to be clearly preserved, ending up exacerbating the regret even more. Departe is one of the masterpieces of the year, and this is clear, in an absolute sense and not confined to the doom niche. Here we are faced with a work of musical art that transcends genres and fashions, a pity for those who think that music should only be cheerful, with the aim of making human limbs move in a grotesque and plasticised simulation of happiness; Clouds, on the contrary, leads to an ecstasy that can necessarily be reached through an emotional catharsis induced by sadness. Someone said that a human being incapable of emotion is scary: I fully subscribe.

2016 – Autoprodotto 2017 – The Vinyl Division 2021 – Personal Records