Black Clouds Gathering/Last.fm
Near the beginning of “Shades of Grey,” extreme instrumentation suddenly parts to reveal single notes before returning to a flooding of blast beats. The song shapes itself into a track with a smaller amount of apparent features, making it become almost abstract, but does not remove quality from the piece.
One of the most recognizable features of “To Wander and Beyond” is its progression along a more rhythmic attitude; another prominence is the entrance of dreary instrumentation, which contrasts with the overall enlightened, and thus, positive spirit already developed in the album’s beginning.
The fourth track, “Into the Mist,” carries an intensely memorable melody, noticeable as the song opens. Like the previous selections on the album, the darkened atmosphere appears reawakened with an uplifting sentiment. The close of the song gathers these attributes to relay an overflowing of emotion with double bass drum, seeming to guide it. “Among the Giants” offers a similar type of appeal, though, its distinguishing characteristic is that it carries a spirit that is shrouded in pride. “Realms of the Elder” begins with an enriched feeling, the elements guitar strumming and bass drum seeming to lay a foundation for the track; this is eventually dominated by waves of gloom that substitutes depressed for an amount of conquer. The final track, “Land of the Lurking Twilight,” is instantly fueled by active drumming and a small burst of what could be the album’s darkest engaging, guitars with a sinister edge. To reward the track with consistency, that edge soon fades into the nostalgic vibes clinging to the previous songs. Harsh and spoken vocals make appearances on the song but are so fleeting, they contribute to the feel of the album.
“Black Clouds Gathering” can simply be acknowledged as an album that is rich on emotion. The songs lengthy and ambiance-driven, Vallendusk’s use of acoustic guitars builds on to this previous idea; a similar feature is the periodic breaks in the songs that are creatively filled with atmosphere, an innovative way to progress. Where a number of today’s black metal bands engrave their works with sour-sounding riffs, Vallendusk upholds an appreciation for a sweetness and delight found in recollection, desolation. While these traits may be dismissed as irrelevant subtleties, they help build an impressive quality around the band.