CLOAK – Black Flame Eternal

CLOAK – Black Flame Eternal

Photo Credit: David Parham

Cloak are one of the most promising, up-and-coming black metal bands in America. They’re coming out of Atlanta’s cobwebs and conjure a black ‘n’ roll spirit that mixes together the old-school chaos of Watain and Dissection, the dark, sensual grooves of Danzing, and the raw and raucous speed of Motörhead.

Black Flame Eternal is Cloak’s third album and it’s their most confident and hellacious collection of songs. Whereas the band leaned further into shadowy melodicism on their last album, lead single “Invictus” charges right at you with chugging distortion and serpentine growls. Blast beats boom across “Seven Thunders”, swarming with all the righteous anger of a plague of locusts. “The Holy Dark” lights up like the Morning Star, shooting off riff after thrashing riff.
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – Rudyard Kipling 

In an era that is designed to beat down and weaken the individual, Black Flame Eternal is an album that represents strength, empowerment, and total opposition. With mounting pressure to engage in modern societal tribalism, Cloak invokes a spiritual rebellion that exists beyond good and evil with album number three. “All of our albums are created with a spiritual focus, dealing with how we see life, death, and everything in between. I think the earlier records dealt more with the mysteries that surrounded delving deeper into the world of dark spirituality, whereas the new material has taken what we’ve learned and used it to move forward with force,” says Cloak frontman Scott Taysom of the record’s underlying philosophy. “Black Flame Eternal is a statement of spiritual empowerment in every sense. For the first time we want people to grasp on to this sentiment, instead of keeping it completely personal within our world of Cloak. The themes and the sheer power can be felt much more within the songs that this album contains.”
“Our goal is complete spiritual liberation, which is where true power and freedom exists,” he adds. “We’ve reached a point in history where people are forced to pick a side or to join a team, so to speak. Cloak stands in complete opposition to this. We aim to be a giant middle finger in the face of the empty modern world.”
While Cloak might rage against societal conventions, the Atlanta quartet embraces the rebellious and time-tested traditions of heavy metal. Whether it be the conjuring the chaotic spirit of Swedish black metal purveyors Watain and Dissection, summoning the deep, dark and sensual groove of Danzig, or evoking the raw speed and raucous energy of Motörhead, the influence of metal’s founding fathers is deep within Cloak’s DNA. Cloak’s charm, however, does not merely lie within its romanticism of the past, but rather is the way each of these genres has shaped Cloak’s own personal identity. And with Black Flame Eternal, the record sees Cloak continue to strengthen its own unique established sound.
Cloak recognizes the importance of a band’s third record, with Taysom explaining, “These influences will always be important to us, as they are some of the best and most important bands of our time. On the other hand, what is so special about getting to the third record of our career is that inspiration starts to move inwards. We had enough experience and material at this point to really know what we do best and how we can utilize these skills in the best way possible. If you look at some of the most iconic bands, their third albums were massive steps towards greatness. So to us, we feel our third record will be a very important one in our time as a band.”
The Atlantan’s evolution is evident in the fury displayed on Black Flame Eternal, which flawlessly compliments the grandiose melodic atmosphere. “This was a conscious effort. Early on before the album even started, I knew it was going to be a much more aggressive and powerful album. I wanted to take a step away from certain sounds and add a bit of brutality back in. The overall vibe matches who we are much more, so it was only fitting to move towards this sound. It almost feels like we are going back to our roots as people in certain ways,” explains Taysom. Black Flame Eternal follows up sophomore effort The Burning Dawn, which was released in November 2019, with hell unleashing its fury on the globe just a few short months later. As plans to tour the new album around the world came to a screeching halt, the band did not stagger or falter, and instead used this gift of time to write. When reflecting upon the lost years and its impact, Taysom seemingly embraces the situation with little regrets, “Considering Cloak is a sacred space for us, these exterior things did not have as much of an impact as one might think. But it was impossible to ignore some of what was going on throughout these tumultuous years. It’s bound to affect people’s personal lives and the way the mind works during these interesting times. One thing that it did greatly affect was the fact that we could not promote The Burning Dawn properly after the one U.S. tour we did with 1349. We feel this hurt the record, but there was nothing we could do. We were one of the earliest out of the gate after venues started to open back up, and we’ve been continuing to tour in promotion of that album all the way up until now.”
Cloak utilized every minute of this time to focus on fully realizing its vision for Black Flame Eternal. “The initial stage of the writing process started in January of 2020, and lasted all the way until May 2021. It was the longest spanning album process for us so far, with many long days, nights, and weeks trying to piece the songs together the best we could.” While the record did not come together swiftly or easily, the care and attention put into its creation is evident in its powerful composition.
Making up for lost time, these road warriors have already embarked on several high profile North American tours since the autumn of 2021, commanding audiences in every major city with their chaos magick. Each performance merges the spirit of black metal with the backbone of rock ‘n’ roll as the band consistently delivers a blistering set from start to finish. Taysom describes Cloak’s live approach as “a mixture of ethereal atmosphere and total abrasive chaos. The mixture of these two opposing energies is where Cloak lies; the meeting of high and low. To us, this is where the most interesting moments happen, both emotionally and physically.”
With no borders or boundaries, Cloak is ready to embark on this new chapter as the leader of its own pack. The band bows to no one, forging its own path as one of the governing metal forces of this decade as ‘Black Flame Eternal’ promises to scorch the earth and leave its hallowed mark.

1. Ethereal Fire (05:37)
2. With Fury and Allegiance (04:46)
3. Shadowlands (05:58)
4. Invictus (06:36)
5. Seven Thunders (05:49)
6. Eye of the Abyss (05:06)
7. The Holy Dark (06:03)
8. Heavenless (02:57)
9. Black Flame Eternal (06:43)
Total: 49:35

Recording Studio: The Green House  
Mixing: Cameron Webb 
Mastering: Audiosiege

Scott Taysom – vocals/guitar
Max Brigham – guitar
Billy C. Robinson – bass
Sean Bruneau – drums

Cover artwork: Jordan Barlow


Vinyl in various colours


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