With “This Clear Divide” spending a whole 5 years in the making before it’s long-awaited release, after the initial play-through it’s clear that much of that time was spent crafting an album of high level precision, paying attention to every minute detail.
The introduction begins softly, featuring warm bass and fragile reverb’d guitar melodies, played over the top of a swathe of soothing electronic pads.
As the intro blends into the first song, entitled “The Falling”, there is a sense of anticipation for a huge slab of heaviness to follow and this track delivers. The riffs are massive, powerful and epic.
The entire album is full of progressive twists and turns, complex rhythms and time signature changes. The tone will often switch from dark and heavy to spaced out and surreal multiple times throughout a single song, especially during the six progressive movements that make up “Concurrent Abreaction” – my favourite being the heavier, brooding track entitled “II – Ocean”.
There are a couple of tracks that deviate from the main signature styles of the album, such as the chilled-out, psychedelic “VI – Sehnsucht” and somewhat jazzy instrumental “Dead Letters”, followed by the final track of the album, a satisfyingly powerful song entitled “Cutting The Ties”.
Vocally the performance is clean and melancholic throughout, however the technique rarely deviates from singing legato and tonally remains fixed around a limited note range, which can wear thin over the course of the entire recording. That being said, I do find the vocals pleasant to listen to, I would simply prefer a little more technical variety to match the diversity of instrumental performances on offer.
Personally, the highlight of this release is the craftsmanship of the song-writing. Every pause, shift and progression has been carefully constructed and is expertly cadenced.
I’m impressed with the quality of the production too, which matches the musicianship in every way. I first listened to “This Clear Divide” through speakers, but having listened to it through headphones I have been able to truly enjoy the precision of the mix. It’s so easy to just sit back, close your eyes and become totally immersed.
Stare At The Clouds have produced a commendable debut that certainly boasts a massive sound when it comes to the heavier guitar-driven sections. It oozes atmosphere, whilst it’s quieter moments are both ominous and uplifting at the same time.