Sunday, 22 December 2013

Cloud Rat - Moksha


Onto something faster now. Again, I've been dragging my heels with Cloud Rat and this record. I've read tonnes of positive words about them since this record that I don't know if I'll be able to add anything to the pot.

Anyway, Moksha was released in January by Halo of Flies, IFB Records, 7 Degrees Records and React With Protest Records. With labels like that clubbing together to release an LP, it must be good. Cloud Rat themselves have been an active band since 2010 and have released four split records and two full-lengths, as well a live-album and compilation of earlier material, so they're pretty productive and definitely hard-working when it comes to touring.

Tracklist:-

1. Inkblot
2. Aroma
3. Corner Space
4. Olympia
5. Peer To Peer
6. Widowmaker
7. Infinity Chasm
8. Inimitable Sea
9. Daunting Daughters
10. Casse
11. The Needle And The Damage Done
12. Vigil
13. Moksha (Instrumental)

It’s hard to take in Cloud Rat’s music when it’s as quick fire as it is on Moksha. There’s punk undertones, powerviolence-esque speed and raging female vocals. Opener Inkblot pretty much tells you all you need to know as soon as the album kicks off. Cloud Rat don’t really take any breathers initially. heading straight into Aroma, which is slower but no less powerful. Mid-way through the trio launches into a thrashy/crusty section that restores their speed.

I think Madison’s vocals add another dimension to Cloud Rat’s music. There’s an edge to it that while sounding brutal, has an emotion and a sense of real life. It definitively comes across during the quick-fire duo of Corner Space and Olympia. Cloud Rat describe themselves as a grindcore band according to Metal Archives, but I hear more than that. There’s melody in the guitar that brings good screamo to mind during Peer To Peer and Widowmaker and it’s not just noise either. The instruments are all very audible thanks to the production work.

Infinity Chasm shows Cloud Rat in a more introspective space, with calm guitar and clean singing. It’s not an interlude and the mix of clean singing and harsh vocals at the end, helps brings Moksha to life. It’s not long though until Cloud Rat are back to grinding best with Inimitable Sea. I have to admit, I do like the atmospheric instrumental sections that occur within the gaps between the vocals, which are pretty noticeable during the song.

Again there’s no chance for breath between Inimitable Sea and Daunting Daughters. The lack of bass doesn’t seem to be a problem either, as guitar makes up for it. Casse weighs in at a little over two-minutes but there’s more than enough going on within the track to make it seem a lot longer, especially when the band slows the pace down a notch. The ambience that fills the last twenty seconds fits with the haunting mood of the album.

You’re not expecting the country/blues sound of The Needle And The Damage Done’s intro. The guitar again is clean as is the initial singing. The song flits between this and short blasts of grind to provide the standout track of the record. They leave it to Vigil to dispel any positive feelings after The Needle And The Damage Done. Two-minutes of blasting chaos. The emotion in the spoken word section that Madison shouts out is palpable amongst the power of the instrumentation and then with no warning it ends, revealing the light piano of closing instrumental song Moksha. Filled with further ambience and subtle white-noise alongside the piano, this is a haunting end to a chaotic record. 

It sums up for me why I like heavy music so much. It’s got personality and a sense of warmth, even though it sounds confrontational. It shows a humane side to Cloud Rat’s members, one of understanding and relation with their listeners. When all is said and done, it leaves you with a feeling of cleansing positivity. Different people will fell different things when listening to it, but that’s what it means to me. This record is one that you can’t miss.

See if you agree with me by listening to Moksha here, via the 7Degrees Records bandcamp page:-



Moksha is out of print at Halo Of Flies, but you can buy it both digitally or physically from the below places:-

IFB Records - http://www.ifbrecords.com/pages/main.html
7Degrees Records - http://7degreesrecords.bandcamp.com/merch
React With Protest Records - http://www.reactwithprotest.org/store.php

You can also pick it up from various distros around the globe.

Cloud Rat Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cloud-Rat
Halo Of Flies Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/HALOOFFLIESRECORDS
IFB Records Website - http://www.ifbrecords.com/pages
7Degrees Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/7DegreesRecords
React With Protest Records Website - http://www.reactwithprotest.org


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