Clouds Taste Satanic have definitely evolved quite a bit since their debut full-length To Sleep Beyond the Earth back in 2014. The once deep and moving funeral inspired chunks became a third of the length by Your Doom Has Come. It also cast the material into a more light hearted style while still retaining that analog sensation that worked perfectly with some of the atmospheres, not to mention some stoner, psychedelic, even progressive tendencies. For 2016, the band continues expanding that sound, though have left behind that raw trait that helped transport you both in time and location.
Yes, you can still pick up on a rougher cassette like presentation on this release, primarily in the drums that sound a bit more muffled then they really should be. Not only does the cleaner presentation affect that aspect, but there’s little bite to the final product. Even the inclusion of keyboards is hit or miss, working mostly during the slower passages to weave a hauning, somewhat occultish vibe that feels absolutely necessary to exist given the album’s title. This is one of the saving graces to “Retriution”. The song itself does feel commanding, especially with the war march introduction the deeper tuning perfectly plays off of. There’s a mixture of classic Black Sabbath and Candlemass at work through much of the performance that is incredibly respectable. It’s just that the quality of the guitars and bass manage to clash so profoundly given how crisp the first two are compared to the other instruments that its actually kind of hard to get into the song until the solid guitar solo about half-way through when things pick up before slowing down and growing ever so haunting.
That Black Sabbath influence is immediately felt on “Just Another Animal” thanks to an atmophere and some guitars comparable to “Iron Man”. The dark and brooding sensations felt in the more melodic passages are enough to send a shiver down your spine until the leads take on a glorious battle anthem such as around three minutes. Meanwhile there’s “The Brocken”, which stands as one of the best offerings on this release. The slower pace is complimented by a heavy guitar presence that estabishes an oddly militaristic tone atop a subtle ritualistic vibe from the drumming. The chorus, however, is a bit on the haunting side while still retaining the attitude felt in the main verses.
Thankfully those later darker tracks don’t suffer too much if at all from the audio quality. Unfortunately, the first few do. Not only does “Enthroned” sound relatiely weaker compared to the rest despite sporting a much better recording of the drum kit that makes the cymbols sound distinct compared to some of the later cuts, the song is pretty generic with hooks that don’t quite set up much in the line of atmophere. Even when the music gets richer and picks up about four minutes in, you’re still left craving something more from the track as a whole. A lot of that also goes for “We Die We Live”. It’s another simpler track that isn’t bad, just not too inspiring or infectious enough to even get your head bobbing along.
While not the catchiest or most atmospherically charged effort of their discography thus far, Dawn of the Satanic Age does have its moments. Aside some material that comes off more cliché than anything all that memorable, the main fault is the audio quality. The crisper sound and oddly varied capturing of the drum kit dilutes the impact from some of the material here, leaving the darker last half to really pick up the slack, a task it does with great ease. If you’re new to the group, this isn’t quite the best place to start, but fans of Your Doom Has Come will find enough to warrant a number of repeat spins down the line.