Sunday, 15 August 2010

Cloak of Displacement -This Is the Only Way (2008) 0/100.

By specifically looking for black-meets-drone music you’re playing with fire and could very easily be burned, and badly. This particular mixture of genres rarely ever ends well and America’s seemingly bedroom based Cloak of Displacement is another shining example of when it things go horrendously badly. This debut full-length, entitled ‘This is the Only Way’ is a tragic piece of simplicity and possible improvisation, as the first song on this constantly faltering full-length suggests. Black and drone are two genres where things are difficult to get right when you’re just dealing with one of them, but they’re even harder to get right when you throw the two together with no real plan on how to shape or mould the sound. T. Bjorklund, Cloak of Displacement’s only member, appears to have no direction when it comes to how he wants to map this album out and it shows from beginning to end.

Each song is a tedious collection of distorted sounds and the occasional electronic sample with some discernable vocals slapped bang over the top of the material. The vocals are poor and barely distinguishable from the music at times, especially the static-filled samples on songs like the aptly titled ‘The Dissident’. The song is seemingly a collaboration of genres which is meant to cause feelings of dread within the listener due to the “eerie” atmospherics and soundscapes. However, the lack of emotion in the music and laughably bad vocal work (which resembles someone occasionally burping into a microphone, or screaming underwater) leaves much to be desired. There is no real pattern to the music. On songs like the aforementioned ‘The Dissident’, a lone guitar, with a heavily distorted sound, plays out for the duration of the agonising twelve minutes without much change.

A lot of bedroom, or obscure underground black/drone bands, especially those that mix with the noise genre, tend to be fairly similar to Cloak of Displacement, so they’re not alone in their shitness. The majority of acts like this are so devoid of talent, that they think artistry comes in the form of several long, painfully long in fact, songs with minimalistic visions of desolation and destruction. The lyrical themes suggest this band are all about the destruction of mankind. Well, I’m all about the destruction of this album and the quicker that is done, the better. This is a painful listen. The monotony isn’t even the worse part. I happen to like repetitive albums, especially when it comes to black metal, but there needs to be some form of talent behind the repetition as there just isn’t here and even with the aid of electronic textures on occasions, as shown towards the end of ‘The Dissident’, as well as on other songs, the lack of creative spark is a constant hindrance.

I’ll admit, this is different but different isn’t always good. The noise genre generally doesn’t tend to ignite a feeling of joy within me, but I can stomach it when the musician/s have a way with shaping simplistic atmospherics into living nightmares, as T. Bjorklund attempts to do to no avail with his despairing, and distant, use of vocals on ‘Marching Towards Your Demise’. This mixed in with the horrible production, static and reverberating “riffs” and noise. The dark ambient vibes aren’t even enough to forge some form of interest within me in regards to this album. The unmoving, not-even-remotely stirring ambiance and “creative” passages feel unworthy of attention. The self-titled song appears to want to show some signs of innovation, but still comes across as dire and trite. The insane amount of drivel that occurs on this album is unparalleled. The funerary sound of the keyboards on the self-titled song, the weird semi-acoustics and background electronic noises cannot save this unfortunate excuse for music from becoming just another part of today’s trash.

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