The Black Clouds, rock from Monmouth County, New Jersey, just finished recording their newest album, After All, set to hit shelves January 6, 2017. With influences such as Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, I appreciate the enthusiasm present from the beginning to the end of the album.
Like many music lovers, I spend a lot of time seeking new artists. Although, the Black Clouds are not new, per se. They’ve been working on music since 2008, and After All is their third effort.
Produced by Jack Endino, After All is energetic and fast. From the words of the band themselves, their central dedication is playing fast and hard. That’s exactly what guitarists Neil Hayes and Dan Matthews (vocalist as well) deliver: short, punchy, loud songs identifiable as personal life stories.
Along with Gary Moses and Cory King on bass guitar and drums, respectively, it’s clear that The Black Clouds have developed cohesively as a team. Numbers like “Self Control,” and “Going Going Gone” display chemistry between all members. Vocal melodies are reminiscent of singers like Dave Grohl and Danko Jones, and the fast, aggressive music mirrors this energetically, but also grants some dynamic range. “Falling” features weaving acoustic guitars and a sad melody.
Overall, I enjoyed a few listens of this album, and I would go as far as to call it solid, but every album has its weaknesses. After All has a limited amount, if any, musical risk, and in many parts, Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell may as well have recorded one of their legendary runs over the instrumentals. Although more originality could have been exhibited in many places, one might classify this as a “good problem.”
I can definitely say I would attend a live show of theirs and enjoy the loudness, as I’m sure many will after hearing After All. For now, The Black Clouds have my attention, and I’m excited to see what silver linings The Black Clouds have in their near future, and for the rest of their career.
For fans of: Danko Jones, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden
Key tracks: Going Going Gone, Falling, Merchants of Death