Determined not to be confined to their Atlanta headquarters, an 18-date tour marks Cloak’s first expedition as a headlining band. The initial late-2019 touring cycle for their sophomore album “The Burning Dawn” (via Season of Mist) stopped short after one stretch alongside black metal colleagues UADA and 1349.
The quartet, which includes Scott Taysom (guitar, vocals), Sean Bruneau (drums), Max Brigham (guitar), and Billy Robinson (bass), are making up for lost time as venues reopen, delivering their shadowy signature mix of black metal and rock.
In an interview with Chaoszine, frontman Taysom divulged details about the band’s preparations to hit the road for the current tour, their progress on a third, yet-to-be-named full-length album, and Cloak’s collective appreciation for the darker time of year.
The last time we saw Cloak live in New York was at St. Vitus in November 2019 with 1349 and UADA; good to have you back in the same space again. Do you have any particularly vivid memories from the previous show?
Taysom: It’s always pretty good there, that was really a good show. Hopefully we attract the same size crowd for each show as a headliner this time.
Speaking of this lineup, what have you enjoyed about headlining with the support of black/thrash metallers Demiser?
Taysom: It’s a good pairing and our first major headlining tour, which is a change; we can do up the stage a little more. We’ve got a 45-minute setlist as opposed to the previous 30, and Demiser is a good band to have on the road with us. They came out with a new record this past March.
It’s prime spooky season, and last year you spoke to Decibel about your top five horror movie soundtracks. What will you do this year to celebrate the season?
Taysom: In the tour van we don’t have a way to watch movies, but I’ve already watched the same things I try to every year: “Halloween 5”, “Trick or Treat” with the Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne cameo, and “Day of the Dead”. I saw the new “Halloween” in theaters. It was cool to see, but I didn’t like it; I thought it would be a little better because the 2018 movie was pretty good.
It’s a good season as far as touring goes; the Samhain season in and of itself representing death of old, and the birth of something new. It’s the darker half of the year, and Cloak has a heavy relation to this season, so it’s a good celebration for the fans as well.
I’m sure it’s exciting to be back on the road. Did you have to prepare differently than in the past, perhaps rehearsing more because it’s been a while, or because of health and safety precautions?
Taysom: We’re in the middle of recording our album now, so we’ve gotta break that up in between tour rehearsals, so it’s honestly been pretty stressful. We had to get back into shape for playing shows, which didn’t feel real until we got on the road. We’re also printing a lot more merch this time, and we did all of that ourselves, which was a lot of DIY preparation.
What details, if any, can you share about the album? How much progress have you made so far on the recording, and what is left to complete?
Taysom: I probably can’t tell the title and there’s no release date yet, unfortunately. We were hoping for next summer, but with how backed up the vinyl plants are, it’s unlikely. I hope we can get it out in 2022; if not, that would be devastating.
We’re still taking a bit longer to finish it, and just spent two months straight recording. We finished up guitars, and are over the halfway hump. We still have to do vocals, bass, and some supplementary things.
Since the details are still a mystery, can you tell me about your sources of inspiration for this third full-length? Are there elements from “The Burning Dawn” you’ll build on, musically or lyrically?
Taysom: This album is much more influenced by classic black metal. It’s always been there, but this time we really leaned more into it. You’ll hear elements from the first two albums, but this has bigger production, bigger songs with bigger choruses. It touches on what we’ve done, but is faster and much more aggressive, more blasting and double bass and guitar riffs.
In the first two we blended black metal and rock. This album is more metal, with less of the rock and roll blend, but still has our signature sound by far. I think the fans will stay with us through this change; in fact, those who already know us will be quite surprised in a good way.
Of course “The Burning Dawn” still deserves to finish its touring cycle. Will you be playing any of the new music on the road to try it out in front of a live audience, or keeping it close to the vest until it’s time to release it?
Taysom: It’ll be a good mix of “To Venomous Depths” and “The Burning Dawn”, with one new song mixed in.
Let’s talk about your two homes as a band: Atlanta, Georgia and Season of Mist. Can you discuss how each of them has supported you? Can you describe the Atlanta scene and what kind of metal is thriving there now?
Taysom: As far as the south goes, Atlanta is a better metal city, if not the best. There are plenty of black and death metal bands, but not enough of them have broken out. We were always really goal-oriented; I didn’t want to just be a local band. The bands we have played with are supportive, and when medium-sized touring bands come through, they’re surprised at the turnout. Atlanta’s been a good hub for us.
Season of Mist, well, we’re three records in with them now, and there are really no complaints, they’ve been good to us. We got our first album out with them, while a lot of bands aim to get their third or fourth, and it’s been a good partnership since the beginning.
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