• Holly Nicholson

Why The Cataclysm by Coldbones is my soundtrack to quarantine.

Creating a devastatingly immersive soundscape, The Cataclysm plunges the listener into a world which is both disparate and hopeful. The album marks a departure from the gentle wanderings of Coldbones' sophomore album, Where it all Began in favour of bolder tones and a heavily riff driven story.

The first thing that struck me about this release is that from start to finish, the flowing instrumentals take you on a journey.

The album sets a slow pace with The Flooding of the World. I find safety and security in its warm tones. Finally something hopeful and soothing in a world where everything is uncertain. The track presents its self as a blanket of sound, moving into darker depths as a sense of uncertainty creeps in. Progressing forward, driven guitars begin to phase in which give me courage; this song emboldens the listener. By the time the song reaches its peak, the world disappears and I feel like I can get through this dark time

As Collapse kicks in, the groove of the bass-line is in stark contrast to what came before it.

Slowly the flowing instrumentals begin to creep back in and the two merge to create something that is both beautiful and explosive. The riffs in this track are easy to get lost in as the listener is pulled along by their heavy drive.

Flowing forward, Tide evokes nuances of shoegaze favourites of mine, Alcest in its dreamy meanderings and Blue Sky tones. This feels like a deeper, more mature sound than that of previous Coldbones releases, with more ambitious and complex soundscapes.

As the title suggests, Cleanse soothes the listener, bringing back that powerful hopeful feeling I felt during Flooding of the World. The lead guitar on this track is empowering, like a call to arms.

Ascend’s reverberating acoustic tones are haunting and somber, another quiet contrast, punctuating the heavier more riff driven tracks. This gradual fluctuation between heavy and hopeful, slow and fearful permeates the album and adds to what I feel is an engaging experience.

The Burning of the Earth ushers in the second part of the album with building riffs and atmospheric, mesmerising drum patterns which drive the song in a quickstep. Again I think of an army marching forward, hopeful for victory.

Ruin begins as a desolate departure from that hopeful feeling. This track feels fragile, delicate from the onset, resonating with melancholy tones. The lead guitar reaches in and lifts the listener out of that melancholy. During this crisis, listening to this track has had a profound impact on me. That feeling of being pulled out of the dark is what we all need, when existing in a world of chaos and uncertainty.

The main melody of Hinterlands proves to be one of my favourites on the album. With its flowing warmth, it lends its self to soundtracking a powerful story, of finding your place in the world. This is one of those riffs that come about every now and again, that you want to climb inside and make a home.

Extinct brings the listener out of that warmth as quickly as you had arrived. A definitive close to an album which reminds the listener that nothing is permanent. An excerpt from Lord Byron’s Darkness further drives home the apocalyptic nature of this track. His words, which are the only ones spoken on this album, serve a powerful message about the impact of global warming upon the world.

The Cataclysm, which was released on Dunk!Records on 17th April 2020, has felt like a blessing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Whenever I have felt hopeless or needed an escape, Coldbones have been here to light the way. This album is beautiful. For anyone who is a fan of Post-Metal, Shoegaze or atmospheric music of any kind, this is a must!

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