The Black Clouds hail from New Jersey in the United States of America. Similar to Toadies, Nirvana, Black Sabbath and many others, The Black Clouds describe their music as alternative rock or grunge. With Dan Matthews on guitar and vocals, Rob Blake also on guitar and vocals, Gary Moses on bass and Cory King on drums, The Black Clouds create music that reverts you back into the 90s with their own modern vibe.
The band has played with some great acts, including Toadies and Tantric. After gigging on festivals such as Bamboozle and SXSW, The Black Clouds have created a name for themselves in the music industry. Their most recent release, titled Better Days, was released January 2013. This album was self-produced by the band in their own studio. The thirteen-track album isn’t a release that sounds like D.I.Y. project; each song is of masterful quality and perfect production.
When you press play on the first song of the album, the slow and alternative sounds prepare for you the next explosive track, titled “No Reason.” This song opens with a mesmerizing guitar riff and grungy vocals to die for. “Breathing” features a simple yet heavy tone throughout the song, incorporating harmonizing rock vocals in the chorus. Once you take a listen to “Defective Mind,” you may find yourself stupefied with the achingly grunge tones that make their way through the track.
“Again” sounds like a descendent of an old Velvet Revolver track in our modern day. This song grips you like no other track on this album. The repeated words of “again, again, again” will be stuck inside your head for hours. The soft opening on “Fray” deviates from the usual type of sound that defines Better Days. This song focuses on rawness and passion of Matthews’ vocals. It’s true that every rock band has to have a softer song, right? “Whereabouts Unknown” shares the same soft opening as the previous track, however the sound is more ominous and gripping.
The shortest song on Better Days, titled “I’ll Be Gone,” creates its point with only two minutes to its name. The song is fast, heavy, and doesn’t waste any time. “Stalemate” finds its way near the end of the album, reminding listeners of the grungy vibe that The Black Clouds have created for themselves. “Blue Blocker” opens with a melodic guitar riff and soon turns into a very 90s breakdown that will make you want to bang your head. The bass-line in this track is low and heavy, creating a dark vibe for the song.
“Seen Better Days” is undoubtedly the anthem for this album. With the album titled after this song, “Seen Better Days” is placed perfectly near the very end of the track-list. The sound is different from other tracks, but represents The Black Clouds perfectly nonetheless. “Rid of Me” will surely make you feel like you’re listening to an old Nirvana song. This track is the one that you’ll be listening to when you’re ready to release all your feelings of anger and hatred at that one person who ticks you off beyond belief. Last but not least, “All or Nothing” closes Better Days with a bang.
Too lazy to read the review track-by-track? I’ll sum it up in just a few words: the album is a masterpiece. With very few original alternative rock bands in the spotlight nowadays, The Black Clouds prove that creating an album on your own is completely possible. Every song was crafted with creativity, originality, and a passion for the music. Two thumbs up are in order for Better Days.