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The Complete Idea - 100%

HeySharpshooter, October 13th, 2011

Another release from Mories de Jong, the sick mastermind behind Gnaw Their Tongues and De Magia Veterum, Cloak of Altering is a fairly unknown project from the Mad Man of black metal. Yet for its relative obscurity, Cloak of Altering may be Mories best musical endeavor to date. That is a tall claim, considering the vast and powerful catalog Mories has put together over the years. But Cloak of Altering is something different from anything Mories has done: there is a sense of direction and wonder not quite reached by his previous efforts.

The Night Comes Illuminated With Death is six of Mories most complete and fully realized songs. Musically, the closest thing to this album would be the inhumanity of De Magia Veterum. However, unlike De Magia Veterum, who seek solace in complete chaos, Cloak of Altering are perhaps Mories only band to have identifiable song structure. While one should never expect a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, the tracks have a clear beginning and ending, and do not devolve into a mass of notes and shrieks of anguish. Each track on this album is meticulously crafted with a deeper, darker purpose at heart. The riffs are almost entirely tremolo picked, but the extensive use of dissonance and melody(yes, that thing) keep the music fresh and exciting from riff to riff. It helps that the production favors the haunting and powerful guitar work, allowing the bass to pulsate ominously in the background while the drums play their part quietly and effectively. As for the vocals, if you have listened to any of Mories projects, you have the expectations of grief riddled moans of suffering, but The Night Comes Illuminated With Death surpasses any expectations you may have had. The track "Cloak of Altering" in particular has some of the most maniacal vocals every put to music.

But what makes The Night Comes Illuminated With Death such a success is the use of keyboard and ambient sound to amplify the inner... beauty(there is really no other word for it) of each composition. I know what you are thinking: fucking keyboards? But remember, Mories is a master of electronic music, and it shows here. The expert use of orchestral elements, electronic noises and chanting vocals create an incredible atmosphere of blindingly bright dread. Occasional electronic interludes also add another layer of compositional complexity to each track and help each song feel like a complete journey through a fully realized concept.

A fully realized concept. This is something so lacking from much of Extreme Metal today. Yet Cloak of Altering so completely nail every single idea in every single track, it is a marvel to behold. In such a strange twist, while creating one of the most insane releases I have ever heard, Mories has created by far his most accessible and human music to date. The shee beauty of the compositions is so overwhelmingly awesome, so fucking complete, they are impossible to ignore. All I can hope is that this small masterpiece is not lost to time and obscurity like so many others. A must listen and a must own.

Rating: 10/10

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