May 27, 2017

Drug Honkey - Cloak of Skies

By Ulla Roschat. It's been five years now since Drug Honkey released Ghost in the Fire and I remember how it totally blew me away. So I was in eager anticipation of Cloak of Skies from the moment it was announced. And what can I say, yeah, they did it again.
By Ulla Roschat.

Artwork of Paolo Girardi.

It's been five years now since Drug Honkey released Ghost in the Fire and I remember how it totally blew me away. So I was in eager anticipation of Cloak of Skies from the moment it was announced.

And what can I say, yeah, they did it again. Cloak of Skies speaks the language of my dungeoned demons and unleashes them to scare the shit out of me, in the most positive sense.

The four piece band from Chicago/Illinois continues the path of their unique approach to psychedelic Death Doom Metal, with industrial elements and an extreme and extensive usage of sound effects.

This time they keep the underlying structures a bit more recognizable so they don't appear completely unhinged. The songs are definitely rooted in death/doom riffs and groove and are of a minimalistic structure, but don't leave you any less disturbed and terrified, by their nightmarish, dystopian soundscapes they roll out.

And this time they also have two guest appearances, Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House) and Justin K. Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu).

Photos © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

The first song "Pool of Failure" is like a huge droning engine gets started inviting you to a psychedelic trip... to the deepest, darkest chambers of your soul? ...or to hell? Anyway, this is a slow motion nightmare... an invitation impossible to decline, because it's as compelling as it is insane.

In the following "Sickening Wasteoid" more sorts of distorted sounds are added. Waves of synths like waves of hot, filthy lava push, drag and press you through an atmosphere so thick it's nearly unbreathable and so toxic it hurts your lungs and it fills your brain with nauseating dizziness.

Fast oscillating sounds, staccato like stoically monotonous vocals add a sense of a malfunctioning system and growing insanity in "Outlet of Hatred". Too much of all this filth threatens to leave you just stuck in it.

And despite the climactic build up of "(It's Not) The Way" that creates an intense, ritualistic and hypnotic atmosphere and a torturing insane climax at the end, there's no feel of a cleansing, a turning point or any kind of relief.

"The Oblivion of An Opiate Nod" steers everything into a storm of blazing, blistering pain and paranoia.

Photos © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

In the title song "Cloak of Skies", finally, things get to the point. The appearance of Lamont's saxophone here, introduces a sense of soberness and sanity with its clean, clear tone, but is placed into the most chaotic, most psychotic song of the entire album and the lonely sound of normality brilliantly clashes with all the madness, pain and filth in a kind of showdown. If it ends in salvation or apocalypse, who knows.

Again Drug Honkey created aural insanity, turned psychosis into sound. Their unique and extensive use of synths, effects and industrial noise elements brings properties to their sound that are essential for the atmosphere the band conjures throughout the 50 minutes of lysergic insanity.

And especially the vocal quality has the most eerie and horrifying effects on me. The extreme modulation and distortion of the human voice, like it's done here, carries a creepy sense of man morphing into monster.

But in the end you come out of this. The last song releases you from the psychedelic nightmare, but, like this is a remix of the first song "Pool of Failure" by Justin Broadrick, you come out with your brain remixed.


The song "Sickening Wasteoid" is featured on The Wicked Lady Show 140
Tagged with 2017, doom metal, Drug Honkey, experimental death metal, John Mourlas, Transcending Obscurity, Ulla Roschat
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