Reviewed By: Clay Conger
There is a specific point in Black Clouds’ new album Everything Is Not Going To Be Ok when I discovered just how accurate the title was in terms of tone. After the ambient noise of the opening song “Telluric” kicked in, the album delivers an intense and macabre track “The Lodge.” At exactly the 1:15 mark of the second song, a guitar chord rings out that is so sinister, so unabashedly evil, that I realized what was in store for me.
Black Clouds is made up of guitarist/keyboardist Justin Horenstein, bassist Ross Hurt and drummer Jimmy Rhodes-and it’s impressive how much sound the three of them create. There is no musician who stands out above the other two, and there is no one who is underused or unqualified. If you play any of the above instruments, you will find something to be jealous about in this album. In short, this triad mixes perfectly, and credit should also go to the engineering/mixing by J Robbins and mastering by Dan Coutant for getting the album to sound as smoothly and professionally as it does.
To paint a clear picture of what the album sounds like-think of the score for the movie 28 Days Later: except louder, a bit harder and located in D.C. With this release being mainly an instrumental album, the three musicians focus on more melody driven riffs that, for the most part, work beautifully together. This is especially true in tracks “Parallels” and “Driven.” There are quite a few moments of serenity, the kind of moments that plop you up on cloud nine within seconds. The best example of this is during the beginning of “Pantheons.” For a solid minute, it’s a breathtaking guitar riff a bit reminiscent of that track everyone loves from Friday Night Lights. It’s soulful, with a perfect, delicate blend of guitar, bass and effects-similar to a movie score.
There isn’t a particular track to pin-point that is purely thrash or tranquil: each song mixes the sweet and the scary, the loud and the soft, yet the overall mood remains dark. Even the aforementioned “Pantheons” drops into a heavy and distorted tone after the first minute, and “The Life of Theodore Donald Kerabatsos” utilizes synthesized strings to great, foreboding effect. Upon listening to it the sense of “oh no, what’s going to happen now” rings throughout the track. And the album caps off with “Santorum Sunday School,” which is pure menace.
Overall, it’s a bold and impressive album. But it will put you in a certain mood, and I’m sure Black Clouds could only take this as a compliment: you should proceed with caution.
Listen To Everything Is Not Going To Be OK Below: