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Drug Honkey – Cloak Of Skies – Album Review

For the miserable, by the miserable.....

Cloak of Skies, the fifth full length release from Chicago’s Drug Honkey, is an absolutely inhospitable slab of sonic misery. The music is inaccessible, raw, and drenched in noise, the riffs are minimal and are matched equally by swirling, sometimes droning synths in terms of prevalence. This is the sound of your worst hangover, the sound of a dark back alley in the roughest part of town. It’s unsettling…..and it’s also pretty good.

Whether Cloak of Skies is meant solely for the highly misanthropic is something we’ll leave up to you (it certainly seems like it could be the case), but through 50 minutes of chaos comes something truly cathartic. Head Honkey, who handles vocals and the variety of sound effects you’ll hear, sounds absolutely wretched. His guttural, often effect-laced vocals, add a tortured human element to the cacophony but ‘cleaner’ vocals do make an appearance in a handful of spots. In “(It’s Not) The Way,” indecipherable moaning slowly becomes somewhat of a chant, before devolving fully into the track’s screaming finale. The sound of the vocals is excellent, but the different ways they’re used is their true strength.

Contrast makes this album as horrific as it is. Crushing standout “The Oblivion of an Opiate Nod” features sections of relative calm, with clean guitars playing simple dirge-like riffs over the aforementioned bleak synths — it sounds like a cold, rainy day in a decaying metropolis. These sections give way to lumbering riffs and demonic vocals without the slightest hesitation. In the title track, Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Bloodiest) adds some howling saxophone to the fray, which sounds beautiful within the overall hopelessness of the soundscape. Altogether, we’re painted a picture of misery that is extreme in every way possible and certainly something unique.

Check out Cloak of Skies if you’re looking for something a bit different in the realm of heavy music, or if you need some way to express how downright miserable the world is. 7/10

Drug Honkey

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