ALBUM REVIEW: Cloak – Black Flame Eternal


Two things are apparent when delving into Cloak’s third full-length: the Atlanta-based four-piece is not your run-of-the-mill black metal outfit, and they have no interest in churning out a vanilla, run-of-the-mill black metal record.


Forged over the span of four years since The Burning Dawn hit the scene, Black Flame Eternal (Season of Mist) is a nearly fifty-minute opus that strives to leave a mark of variety, bombast and purpose. And it’s the diversity hidden beneath the shroud of mystery which cements the album’s appeal.


Before the nine songs even have time to germinate, ‘Ethereal Fire’ oddly sounds nearly identical to Pennywise’s ‘Bro Hymn.’ ‘With Fury And Allegiance’ at times is musically arranged like a hardcore track. And ‘Shadowlands’ flourishes behind bumping riffs, fun energy and a stomp-clap sequence to boot.


That’s just the first three songs.


Furthermore, for every bob and weave Cloak executes, there remains a steadfast motivation to be fanatical, brooding, and colossal. The aforementioned opener ‘Ethereal Fire’ possesses a remarkably fantastical hook. ‘Invictus’ is sturdy and rumbling. Followed by ‘Seven Thunders’ – a billowing, rambunctious, and emphatic display – Black Flame Eternal is an unhinged demon.

Much of the record is enhanced by Scott Taysom’s hazy, debris-encased vocals. Likewise, as mentioned previously, the variety that’s featured aims to satisfy the black metal fanatics while at the same time catching the ear of metalheads who just want more motivation to bang heads and mosh in pits.


Black Flame Eternal is not mired in shock-value satanic elements or corpsepaint-festooned caterwauling. Cloak defy the stereotypes by crafting a record that achieves an appealing sound that doesn’t sacrifice musicianship, intensity or structure. By drawing on influences outside of the scope of the genre, the quartet confidently take center stage welcoming any and all who are drawn in by the sheer destruction and polished animosity.


Buy the album here:

7 / 10