Album review: Burial Clouds – Last Days Of A Dying World

Portland post-doomsters Burial Clouds find their voice to celebrate the melancholy Last Days Of A Dying World...

Album review: Burial Clouds – Last Days Of A Dying World
Sam Law

If the striking ‘debut’ from Burial Clouds feels a little disjointed, there’s good reason. The Portland, Oregon post-doom collective first dropped Last Days Of A Dying World as an instrumental EP direct to digital back in November 2020, tapping directly into the darkest days of the pandemic. Its official release as their debut LP comes two-and-a-half years later following the addition of The Vampire Diaries/Big Sky/Westworld actor Michael Malarkey: his vocals sometimes awkwardly, often excellently adding another layer of bittersweet.

It’s an intriguing strategy from the outset. While you can hear that the atmospherically sludgy base of nine-minute opener Cloudsplitter works as a powerful composition in its own right, the arrival of Mr. Malarkey and his Alice In Chains-alike vocal harmonies take it to another place entirely: more evocative of America’s swampy south than its misty northwest.

Beirut Shores presents a cleaner, proggier soundscape over which is placed more ponderous, poignant lyricism: ‘Ordinary love / Night follows the day / Don’t you give that light away / Like flowers in the rain…’ Seawall shifts from its quiet piano-driven opening into gnashing blackened doom, like walking into the ocean and being crushed by the waves.

It’s a marriage of two hitherto-unjoined artistic forces which, in context, is fascinating to observe and unpick even when the finished product feels a tad unwieldy. Never is that truer than on Last Days Of A Dying World’s twin-towering closing epics Ether Fields and Death, Emperor, the former’s echoes of genre heavyweights Baroness and Mastodon clashing thrillingly with the jazzier, heavier flourishes of the latter. The flipside, however, is that inescapable curiosity about how incredible the output could be if the expanded Burial Clouds collective get together to make music from scratch. Here’s hoping Last Days… is just the beginning.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Pallbearer, Neurosis, Alice In Chains

Last Days Of A Dying World is out now via Church Road

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