Escape in Melancholy follows the self-titled debut from 2006 of the Ukraine's Kladovest, a band best known for being a project that involves Thurios (Drudkh, Hate Forest), who replaced the former vocalist. The material here has an even more ponderous, stripped down feel than his other bands, ever so slightly more experimental and possibly entrancing if you can sit back and absorb it. There are only four tracks on the album, but they stretch out for nearly 34 minutes. There is no immediate access here, so if you seek kinetic melodies or folkish rambling, the material of Kladovest is unlikely to please you. That is not to say these elements do not exist in a small quantity, but the strength here lies well below the crust of more obvious bands.
"Abyss of Broken Clocks" sets the stage, a 10 minute piece which consists largely of buzzing guitar rhythms that breathe out over open air. The drums do not enter until the 4 minute mark, so you really get a chance to immerse yourself in the decaying atmosphere. The instruments are all performed by Dmitriy, while the art and lyrics are created by Alexander. Thurios is simply offering his tortured rasp to the compositions. "Clocks" continues to slug along at a slow pace until a happier, melodic eruption, with a pair of guitars soaring above the raw rhythm guitar. "Gritted Fangs" is an offering of melancholic black doom over the drum programming, with some breaks for gnarled blackness that evoke a diabolic grandeur. The latter half of this track provokes the most depth and darkness on the album, but "Tead of Silk" continues to roam the fields of somber aggression, at a mid pace across the vistas of shining, threatening guitars. "Insignificant Bile" has a few moments of flowing acoustic work before the band once again surges into their driving black wasteland of sadness.
I'd consider Kladovest a minimalist black metal project, for it avoids all technicality in favor of simple, streamlined atmosphere. The result is that the album simply cannot please or unsettle you through its riffing strength alone. It is the overall, drugged out package that will hit or miss the mark, and once I had the patience to digest it's arching overtones, Escape in Melancholy did succeed by the imagery it evoked into my imagination. If you approach the work with no expectations, you may be surprised at the result. I don't think the title could be more honest.
Verdict: Win [7/10]