From Wolverhampton quintet, Haze, comes an astonishing debut album – despite being only nine tracks, the gritty power and outright raw energy forced into each song is awe-inspiring. To be released on August 10th via Frail Abuse records, Clouds Surround And Breathe is a shockingly atmospheric album.
At two and a half minutes, opening Colure is the shortest track off the album, and the guitar-powered opening sets the tone for the release, with small fluctuations in each member’s guitar creating a sound which seems to breathe and sustain itself, with percussion pulling itself in and adding another dimension to the track, before it’s abrupt close. Other than it’s short length, there is very little in common between the opener and second track I Can’t Help But Get Lost, which breaks in with harsh and overpowering vocals, almost outruling the remaining electricity in the track stewed by the guitars. This brings an alternate side to the release, with a heavier sound through the dominant yet clear vocals.
As the chords from the second track fade out, Upheaving announces itself again with the striking vocals layered against the fuzzy guitar that take a backseat. At nine minutes it’s more indicative of the average length of the album tracks, though as the song progresses it’s increasingly hard to remember that it all forms one track. The sound develops and a few riffs taking hold of the majority, with only minor changes providing any progression, and the close taking almost a minute to fade out. Although the length of the track and density of it is a little shocking, especially in a first full length, the sound does begin to grow repetitive, and a little on the dragged-out side.
At just under seven minutes, Morriña shows a softer side to the record, with its lengthy opening of cleaner guitars mingling with vocals that, whilst still harsh, remained quieter and blended better, as opposed to dominating the track. Forma manages to combine the instrumental and vocals in more apt proportions, and the depth in the sound creates an almost three-dimensional track, guitar sounding literally on each side of the harsh yet controlled vocals, the sound dipping to highlight their dominance; combined, this creates the most sophisticated track off the record.
Loomer opens with hollow, echoing sounds that (whilst, again, lengthy) captivate and form a brilliantly intense atmosphere over the record. Due to the mainly same-some sound throughout the instrumental, minor changes are all the more obvious – the percussion breaking in sets a huge change in the tone of the track, and the fuzzy guitar remaining create an underlying backdrop. i. Like Glass brings back the sound of less fuzzy guitars, and seems like the sound that would suit a husky woman’s voice – much like the vocalist of London Grammar. Instead, halfway through, the echoing vocals return, which suffice as the music drops away to maintain the focus on them.
The rapid and more, well, fluctuating sound that welcome penultimate ii. Skies Fluctuate And Fall is shockingly fitting to the title, with a less settled mood to the track, edging on pacier percussion and hinting at a step away from the previous distorted guitars, accompanied by spoken word vocals. iii. Clouds Surround And Sound closes the record, with a hectic sound that holds more variation (and in because of that, attraction, in my opinion) in the high riffs and blend of guitars – although the end still feels a little milked.
“Intense” is the word that constantly springs to mind, regardless of how many times I hear this; the lengthy instrumentals and fuzzy guitars borderline something grunge in places, and in other simply mesh together. If you’re a fan of atmospheric music, you can pre-order the album here (if you’re not a fan of atmospheric music you can still pre-order it there).