In the esoteric teachings of the Kabbalah, evil exists in multiple forms, and must be understood in different ways. We are told that one of the evil forces identified in Kabbalist mysticism is Zohamah, which means “darkness” or “pollution”, a form of evil that results in kilkul (or spiritual damage). Zohamah is also the name taken by a mysterious Israeli band, the work of a single individual whose initials are H.M. (although a full line-up has been assembled in preparation for live performances).
Zohamah’s first recorded output was a 2017 EP named Manic Depression, and now there’s a debut album. Entitled Spread My Ashes, it will be released by Redefining Darkness Records on February 1st. “Emptiness“, a single that is now included on the album, was first released in 2017, and today we present a second track from the album — “Black Cloud“.
The music on this new song seems to capture the origins of Zohamah’s name: In its amalgamation of ingredients from black metal, death metal, and doom, it manifests sensations of both extreme evil and spiritual damage, creating a blend of cold, oppressive cruelty, malicious delirium, and traumatic pain. And it’s just as likely to kick you off-balance as to cause your head to hammer and your body to lurch in sync with what you hear.
Perhaps the most un-balancing part of the song comes first, through an unpredictable emanation of shrill dissonant notes and massive, distorted, yowling tones over a similarly disorienting drum clobbering. After that chilling sequence, a near-atonal riff delivers a punishing, pile-driving rhythm followed by a rumbling drum storm and sinister buzzing chords, rising and falling in a kind of sadistic and blood-freezing mania.
Backed by thunderous drumming and a deep and malignant-sounding gravel-throated bass, what follows are sequences of jabbing, moaning, and squalling fretwork — with a sound that sometimes spirals skyward like fire, or like hands raised in supplication, seeking deliverance from a great wickedness — or yearning that it might come more quickly. While the music follows its horrible yet enthralling path, the vocals come in serrated-edge cries, a mix of pain and/or obliterating fury intense enough to split the skin.
As usual, all I’ve done is to write what I experience in listening, which may differ from the way you will feel or from what the creator was contemplating. In this case, we received a comment from H.M. — after I’d written what you’ve just read — and it’s worth sharing:
“‘Black Clouds‘ was the first song that I wrote after the EP. It combines a lot of death metal energy unlike the rest of the album. The song was written with the feeling that nothing is good and of endless anxiety, at the end of the song the character is begging the black cloud to redeem him from his misery. I can only write what I felt while writing ‘Black Clouds’ and I think the song will be described best by someone else. (Because different people get different vibes when listening).”
That previously released single, “Emptiness“, is also a blood-freezing experience — staggeringly heavy and dismal, crushing and poisonous, but also accented by a fleeting guitar melody at the beginning and end which soars in its mournful agony. We’ve included a stream of that track along with the one we’re premiering today. Both of them are heavy as hell on multiple levels, and powerfully mood-altering. Don’t expect easy listening — but do listen. If you fall into their grip, the album is available for pre-order now.