Exclusive: Cloak Finish Recording ‘Faster, Harder’ Third LP; Debut New Song Live


Summer generally leads to an absence of black in Boise. Black clothes are stowed away in closets. Black cars stay parked in garages. Even the black of night lasts fewer than eight hours. But tonight, two of the most hottest heavy-metal bands currently on tour in the U.S. — Cloak and Bewitcher — will paint the city black. Their co-headlining gig at underground venue the Shredder on Friday night is poised to be the most potent metal concert in Boise for the next two months.

Hailing from Atlanta, Cloak will continue supporting their second album, 2019’s The Burning Dawn, and dip into their 2017 debut, To Venomous Depths, as well. Both efforts solidified Cloak as a fearsome, fury-fueled, ferocious foursome to be reckoned with — which is saying a lot for affiliates of music’s most brutal subgenre, black metal. It’s no wonder the best music festival in the country, Psycho Las Vegas 2022, just added them to the festival’s August lineup after Cloak did this to those who witnessed them play there in 2018:

The Bad Penny recently caught up with Cloak frontman Scott Taysom ahead of tomorrow night’s concert, which will mark his first visit to Boise. The conversation went a little something like this:

Hey Scott, how are you doing?

Scott Taysom: Good. Just driving. It’s a drive day.

Is this jaunt of yours through Colorado, Utah and Idaho a warmup for the Northwest Terror Fest on Saturday?

Taysom: No, not really. We linked up with [Bewitcher] because they were already on the East Coast. After that, we’re doing a headliner tour on the way home, which is 10 days or something.

Do you back a ways with Bewitcher?

Taysom: Not really. We share management. We’ve actually never met them before this.

How do bands go about deciding they’re going to co-headline a tour — especially if they’ve never met?

Taysom: [Bewitcher have] been out a little bit longer, so they decided to close the night. We’ll play second to last, which is good for us. We’re essentially sharing the same set lengths, which are 40 to 45 minutes.

Are you playing about equal amounts from your two LPs?

Taysom: Yeah, I would say so. Maybe a little bit more from Dawn, but it’s fairly equal.

Congratulations on recently getting booked for this year’s Psycho fest in Las Vegas.

Taysom: Thanks, I appreciate it.

Did it come as a surprise?

Taysom: Yeah, it was a bit of a surprise, because [the festival] was essentially booked already, and it kind of happened last-minute. We played there in 2018, and it was really good. It should be really good this year with that lineup. [This year’s Psycho fest is headlined by Emperor, Mercyful Fate and Suicidal Tendencies.]

Your show at Psycho 2018 was one of the top three I saw there that year.

Taysom: Thanks, man. I appreciate it.

Did that show feel like a moment when everything jelled with Cloak?

Taysom: I think it was an important turning point for the first record cycle certainly. Those festivals are important to getting in front of new eyes. We were doing a lot before that, but that was definitely a good opportunity for us. And then we started touring more after that, so yeah, I guess it was a good early turning point.

You were in a few bands before Cloak. Was there a certain point with Cloak where you felt like identity of the band had formed?

Taysom: It started to feel a bit more real … honestly, when we played our first show, and a lot of people came out to Atlanta. It was like, “Oh shit, that was really good.” Then we put an EP out [2016’s self-titled release], did an EP release show … but I would say the major turning point was when we got signed to Season of Mist before our first record came out. So we got to put our first record out on the label. That felt pretty real. We were taking it really seriously from the start, but once that happened, it was like, “OK, we gotta kick it into gear and really go for it.”

Late last year, you ended one of your tour legs at the Earl in Atlanta. Is that your favorite venue to play in your hometown? Is it where you got your start?

Taysom: Yeah, we actually did play our first show there. It’s definitely one of my favorite [venues] to play. There and … the Masquerade is a good place to play. It’s a bigger venue, but the sound is good there. For a band our size, I’d say the Earl is the better one to headline for sure. It’s like a 250- or 270-cap. So when bands like Gatecreeper come, they headline there.

Do you buddy up with a lot of bands in Atlanta? Are you pretty tight with Mastodon, for example?

Taysom: I know [Mastodon guitarist] Brent [Hinds], but I’m not super buddy-buddy with him. No, we don’t buddy up that much. We’ve been in the scene a long time, separately, as individuals. We’re close with the Sadistic Ritual guys, the Vimur guys. [Cloak guitarist Max Brigham] lives with a guy who plays in Vimur. Joe [Sweat] from Sadistic Ritual has toured with us before when we needed a road drummer. We tend to keep it pretty tight-knit, though.

When you released Burning Dawn, you called it “more of an attack than a reflection.” Is Cloak’s new burst of touring an attack after the widespread reflection period that was the COVID lockdown?

Taysom: Yeah — and a writing period. We wrote a new record during that time, as many bands probably did. But yeah, it was certainly a time of reflection. We definitely came out firing on all cylinders when we started back. We were one of the death- or black-metal bands to tour after COVID, which was October of ’21. It was good to get back out. It kinda felt like picking up where we left off, like not much had changed. But we were able to recharge our batteries a bit.

Your lyrics include references to “endless nights,” “the end of time,” “the darkest hour” and so on. Your song “Within the Timeless Black” even mentions that “the storm of chaos rides near.” With COVID and arguably the even more recent disasters that have occurred in this country in the past few years, do you feel like the storm of chaos is here?

Taysom: Those lyrics are more of a personal thing. Less external and more internal. Riding the chaos of life and navigating through it and coming out stronger … a lot of it is death and rebirth, and being guided through empowerment, and gaining power through darkness. I know what you mean — we’re going through times of turmoil. But I don’t really write lyrics from that perspective. With Cloak, it’s much more internal and spiritual. But from an external standpoint, looking at that stuff, yeah, it’s pretty chaotic times.

Did you pour any new themes or ideas into the next album that you hadn’t before?

Taysom: Yeah. To me, it’s a complete rebirth of the band. It’s a much different-sounding record. It still sounds like Cloak, but it’s faster and definitely harder and more black-metal-tinged. It’s definitely my favorite material that we’ve done. It’d say it’s a turning point for the band. I could see us going far more in that direction. I like it a lot more. I think people will definitely take notice of the difference. It’s much more expansive too.

You must be giddy to play some of the songs live.

Taysom: Yeah. [On the current tour,] we play “The Holy Dark” off the new one, but we can’t really unleash too many of them before it comes out. And it’s going to be a bit. We’ve had a lot of setbacks, so we’re still mixing it. It’s probably not going to come out until the spring or middle of next year, unfortunately. It’s been way too long of a process. We had a couple of hiccups along the way with producing it. But it happens.

Did you change producers?

Taysom: We have to remix it, basically, with a different guy — to make a long story short.

There’s such a huge number of releases coming out now, it might be for the best.

Taysom: That’s what [our publicist] is telling us as well, that so much shit is coming out in the fall. And we didn’t really want to do another fall release, because our last two came out in the fall, and we wanted to do a [spring] release this time. Putting it out in March or April wouldn’t be so bad. As painful as it is to fucking sit on it and wait, it’s probably going to benefit us.

You mentioned a couple of times that you’re a “black-metal” band, but your website refers to you as “blackened death rock.”

Taysom: I think someone else called us that, to be honest. To me, it’s hard to label us. We’re Cloak. But I’d say we’re more in the spirit of black metal. That’s where our heart lies, when I view it. I get that we’re not traditional black metal in the way that we sound, but the way we go about it and the message behind it is in that world for sure. We’re a metal band.

Well, good luck as you march with vengeance across this doomed land of ours.

Taysom: Thanks, man.

Cloak tour dates:

7.1: Boise, ID @ The Shredder (tickets here)
7.2: Seattle, WA @ NW Terror Fest
7.5: Oakland, CA @ Elbo Room Jack London
7.6: Long Beach, CA @Supply & Demand
7.7: San Diego, CA @ Brick by Brick
7.8: Phoenix, AZ @ Nile Underground
7.9: El Paso, TX @ The Dungeon
7.10: San Antonio, TX @ Hi Tone’s
7.11: Austin, TX @ The Lost Well
7.12: New Orleans, LA @ Santos
8.19: Las Vegas, LV @ Psycho Las Vegas

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