Good things come to those who wait. It's a cliché, yes, but for Clad in Darkness that old adage rings wholly true. Having formed at least fifteen years ago, the band have taken their sweet, sweet time in releasing their debut record. A couple of EPs have seen the light but for this Chicago based band, a full length was a long time coming. Decathect is worth that extended wait and while a few of the songs on the album have been kicking about in some form or other - "Revelries and Silence" from Amidst Her Shadows or "Nepenthe" which is often played live - Clad in Darkness have brought a freshness to the music that allows those songs to weave into the fabric of the record and be at one with newer material.
"Foreword" steps from a gorgeous instrumental to a harshly rendered vocal which lifts the track into more interesting territory. Echoing and sorrowful guitar leads lace the song with a melancholy that is ripped through the atmosphere by destructive screams and guttural growls, playing off the beauty of the music and contrasting the two sides of the band in one swift movement. Clad in Darkness are essentially a black metal band but they utilise bittersweet melodies and post-rock shimmers to create a sense of wonder and ethereal nuance in order to stand them apart from other USBM acts.
Decathect works both as a record and as a theme, with the band using the word to evoke the emotions that run through the album. Meaning to distance oneself from a person, or object, in anticipation of them no longer being there in the future, the band thread those feelings through their words. In "Revelries and Silence" they speak of lost love while "Nepenthe" talks of goodbyes and it seems that Clad in Darkness have here a record that is fundamentally, all about love and the tribulations that it throws at us. It's unusual for a black metal band to be so open and honest and the narrative feels extremely personal. It's a stark change from blokes in Norway shouting about Satan in caves, but that's the magic of the evolution of the genre.
"Nepenthe" allows the music to build its aura around incandescent guitar lines that soar and sweep over the track with grace before breaking free of its serenity and bursting into staccato lyrics and a fired passion that breathes life into the surrounding air. "Deluge" again builds the sounds and atmospheres before turning to the frenetic pace of "Forestall" and ramping the mood ever further towards despair. "Unrest" closes out Decathect on gorgeous waves of guitar, all ambient gazes and harmonic twists while the song reaches for the end. It's beautiful and it's sad and of course it's affecting. The pulling away from the one thing you love because you know it won't last, for whatever reason, is evident in this final track. It takes its time to get there in slightly hesitant movements before becoming stronger and able to overcome - a calmness settles over the track before the storm arrives and Clad in Darkness take their anger to new heights. The softness of the closing moments show that they're working through the emotions that have been so prominent in the work and finding an inner peace in order to move forwards. It's truly wonderful.
8.0 / 10
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