Cloud Rat’s Infest-ed hardcore shenanigans are like finding a sweet vintage muscle car – say, that beautiful white 1970 Dodge Challenger from Vanishing Point – lurking in a used car lot for a steal of a price (free in this case). Sure, it may not be the newest or most fashionable whip on the block, but there are a lot of good miles left under the girl’s hood.
So if I could offer myself up as a humble Super Soul to Cloud Rat’s Kowalski (to continue a metaphor), let me kindly point your attention in their direction as they thrash about and yowl for your pleasure. This is a band that gets by on a driving dynamo core of youthful energy over 11 tracks of blastbeats (all 38 seconds of “Canine”) and then, just for a change of pace, near blastbeats (the moody, mercurial – and of course, lengthy – closer “Complex to Break.”).
The songs all follow pretty familiar musical patterns, but they’re rescued by an authenticity of vision and commitment. “Yama” jangles through clean art rock chords and dramatic Celtic Frost-brand female spoken word while “Mouse Trap” dials back just enough to really shove the vocals to the fore. With lyrical content dealing with loneliness, longing and abandonment, Cloud Rat are a band that’s confident enough that their songs may have something worth listening to that they’re not afraid to shove the vocals in your face. “There’s nothing wrong with me,” the singer wails on “Sinkhole.” That’s an understatement. You can download an unmastered version of the album at the band’s website (linked above), and it’s certainly worth checking out.
[Full disclosure: the band sent me a review copy.]