In an age of quickfire soundbites, and an almost painfully insatiable desire for the instant and the immediate, finding those prepared to invest more than an hour of their time on an entirely instrumental album is probably as challenging as climbing the Himalayas in your socks and with just a solitary doughnut for sustenance.
Fortunately there are still some of us out there prepared to gaze abstractly at the stars, although perhaps in this case we should say the clouds, and more pertinently still, New Yorkers CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC.
Evil Eye is their fifth album and consists of two weighty compositions, entirely in keeping with their previous resolutely defiantly chilled style. While earlier albums such as Your Doom Has Come and Dawn of the Satanic Edge offer an insight into the Brooklyn quartet’s mindset, those releases did at least contain a few shorter tracks.
On Evil Eye, Clouds Taste Satanic have gone down the whole hog of the Bell Witch path, with two chunky pieces brought together on the one album, starting with the title track itself before moving on to ‘Pagan Worship’. The grooves register on ‘Evil Eye’ easily with power, poise and purpose, albeit at a modest pace, once the heavy psych opening has faded. While the dual guitar battles of Steve Scavuzzo and Brian Bauhs drive the sound forward, Sean Bay’s grasscutter bass is no less significant.
Such are some of the broad spirals untangled by their ambitious riff assault that Clouds Taste Satanic lean more towards sonic Stoner slabs than debilitating doom. Greg Acampora is content to quite literally take the back seat for large phases of the instrumental wizardry but his impact when delivered from behind his kit is both timely and thoughtful. The track is at times reminiscent of Scott Carlson’s inspired recent solo release, Conquistador, haunting and uplifting, frequently on the same brush of the strings, while the final transcendental climb to the summit is little short of spine-tingling.
The album’s second piece, ‘Pagan Worship’ has a teasing stop-start beginning before quickly settling into a neck-wrecking groove, overlaid with some razored solo work. The drawn out repetitive riff sequences at times carry echoes of Italian doom trio Ufomammut, while a trippy passage also speaks of twisted ritualistic 60s ceremonies. The overall tone is deeper, slightly murkier, but no less compelling while the spirals twist tighter as it builds to a tumultuous helter-skelter climax.
Having churned out albums at any impressive rate since their 2014 debut To Sleep Beyond the Earth, Clouds Taste Satanic have already released a box set chronicling their first four albums. Anyone smart enough to have that item nestling in their collection will not require further encouragement here to hook up with this latest release.
The band have already stated their intent to release another two-track album later in the year, so advise that Evil Eye should be viewed very much as the first of two halves. If the second is as good as the first then we have a match made in heaven, or perhaps in keeping with the dark underbelly of everything touched by Clouds Taste Satanic, a match made in Hell.