I have often wondered why we need categorization of the music we are listening to and reviewing. I can agree that, sometimes, all is needed is to know if the music is good or not, but, on the other hand, even if listening to music is a deeply personal experience (headbanging among thousands of maniacs at festivals aside), it is someone else’s artistic effort in the first place, that needs to be properly “advertised” among potential fans. This introduction is meant to tell you that Americans Cloak are really extremely difficult to be put into any specific style or genre. You can call it black, or melodic death or even extreme rock and none of these would be fully correct. So, what do we have here exactly?
The spirit of Emperor can easily be cited as in inspiration for the majestic intro March Of The Adversary, which segues into the melodic blackened death of The Cleansing Fire. The solo guitars are what distinguishes Cloak from the majority of melodeath bands – they are very melodic, clean and expressive, with riffing patterns that even channel some mainstream rock hooks. A Voice In The Night could be mistaken for some of the more accessible Behemoth anthems from the later albums, but still has its personality. The Burning Dawn is actually Cloak’s second album after 2017’s To Venomous Depths but the progress in the composers prowess is obvious. The songs now sound more complete and possess more personality. Sure, there is some classic Dissection to be hinted at here and there, but Cloak are headed in a direction of their own. The album’s centerpiece Into The Storm sounds like something which Watain would be proud to include in The Wild Hunt, yet strikes with a very distinguishable signature of metal that is made across the Atlantic and not in Scandinavia.
The Burning Dawn marches on confidently track after track, never ceasing to amaze with yet another melodic hook or a beautiful solo. The culmination is reached with the 8-minute epic Where The Horrors Thrive, which even introduces some gothic metal touches, once again filtered through a dense black/death wall of sound and great vocals.
Along with the latest masterpiece from Netherbird, The Burning Dawn is undeniably one of the most memorable and competent releases in genre (what was it, once again…) this year. Great music. Simple as that.