(Halo Of Flies / Dead Tank Records, 2015)
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels the extremely strong and positive emotional charges of Grind and Crust bands with female vocalists to be something to admire and behold wholeheartedly. With knowledge of awesome female-fronted acts such as the classic Nausea or the more modern Fuck The Facts, Michigan’s Cloud Rat are new to me. However, I am under their spell from the first half minutes of the first song of this their latest indeed awesome album.
The music on this album is Crusty Grind, no doubt, spiced with strong Hardcore influences, and cool samples and effects here and there. But while many Grind-bands rely on technical performance, speed, or extremely good or bad production, Cloud Rat dances somewhere in between. The production is crushing and soft (airy) at the same time. Clear and bassy, organic and humanlike, yet shows the skills of the musicians nicely. The guitar- and bass-riffs are played well, full of feeling, while the drums pound away with the intensity of breaking a few cymbals, still being groovy as hell. The vocal-patterns fit the riffs great, and the voice fits the sounds of the instruments just as perfectly.
The paces switch between slow and moody, dreamlike calm parts with clear vocals, and (mostly) fast and Grinding Crusty intense thrashing. I can imagine these songs being recorded live at the studio, but the experience of the musicians (the band has been around for at about six years, altho the musicians have been no doubtly active before this) shines through nicely from amidst the cathartic chaos.
And cathartic the theme of the Qliphoth indeed is. Music like this fits perfectly for inner scenes of facing your Spheres of the opposite side of the Tree of Life. One must face, accept and often conquer ones deepest demons in order to prevail and grow, all being themes fitting a band feeling strongly about issues such as Veganism, Feminism, Gay-Lifestyle or Anti-Fascism.
A must album for all fans of artistic yet aggressive Crusty Grindcore with strong ethics. The way it was meant to be, anyway.