Posts Tagged ‘post-rock’

Cloudkicker – Fade

Posted: August 9, 2012 by Fredrik Schjerve in Uncategorized
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This release is just the first in a quadrology of reviews I will write, based on a feature at Metalreview.com, which recommended these four albums, each suffering from lack of publicity. Even though I might reach just a few people, I have at least tried to spread knowledge about the quality these records possess.

Cloudkicker has often been lumped in with the current Djent-scene, despite the fact that the band (or the artist, Cloudkicker consists of one sole member) is not playing djent by any means. At least not anymore. Ben Sharp, the mastermind behind the sonic venture called Cloudkicker, has got a habit of hanging his musical style between every record. So though he has played Djent-related music before, he now produces music in an entirely different manner.

The up-to-date Cloudkicker conjures a melodic, post-rock influenced, though only in the slightest matter, amalgam of pure songcraft and catchy ideas. Clear hooks and sonic imagery is the new mixture’s selling point, as Fade is equal parts catchy and cunning. “From The Balcony” unleash the accessibility straight away, with a bass-underlined harmony which evolves into a large hook. The record is immensely smooth-sounding and as relaxing as an album can be while still achieving the term of “metal”. The song is an early highlight, containing both huge riffs and acoustic, chordal interplay. While being relatively straigh-forward and captivating, Fade is also a interplay of interesting ideas and explorative songwriting, making the record a listen I can’t imagine any music fan would deny a great one.

The Focus” enters next, boasting massive drums and a happy summertime-style riffing, before album centerpiece, “Seattle” gets set to impress with its ten minutes running time. A moody intro soon kicks into a polyrythmic layering of rythm, lead and feedback-like melody. The resulting mixture is a true instrumental victory, and you don’t realise until the part ends, that you have been listening to the same riff for three minutes. The work laid down during the ten minutes feels like the melodic side of djent, stripped of its complexity and heaviness, polished and perfected to the extent of a near revelatory product. After the melodic epiphany reaches its end, we get a stream of descending acoustic notes, which is the part of which the sonic imagery enters. The traffic-like notes evokes a time lapse-shot of Seattle city shifting between day and night in a flutter of blinking lights and colours. Unfortunately, the aftermath comes across as a bit tame in comparison, but the last minutes are saved by the recurring clean melody, which enters near the end.

The rest of the album varies between gentle, atmospheric mastery (Garage Show), sonic imagery of a shuttle searching for an alien source (Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown), a slight misstep (Making Will Mad), and the album’s subtle masterpiece, “Our Crazy Night”. To form a comclusion, Fade is a masterful achievement from a man that has managed to create magic before, and surely will do so yet again soon. There was not a single moment during the CD that I didn’t enjoy myself, and considering you can download it for free legally at Cloudkickers bandcamp page, there is no reason that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself either. You need a lot of talent to do a stylistic 180 degree-turn without messing things up, and though he has come close to doing that earlier (Let Yourself Be Huge), Ben Sharp has managed to do it merit-fully on Fade. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Recommended Tracks: From The Balcony, Seattle, Our Crazy Night

8.5/ 10

Fredrik Schjerve

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Constants – Pasiflora

Posted: August 7, 2012 by brzm in Reviews
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ImageIn this vast void of metal music, there are many bands that wishfully try to blend and merge different genres. Some more successful than others. This constant evolution within metal music has brought diversity in the metal scene. One such band that fusion different styles into a semi-metal, semi-rock outfit is Constants.

They have earlier in their career gained some media covering, especially after their second EP when they toured for 10 months in an ecological bus which ran on vegetable oil. Now, these eco-concerned indie metal pioneers has released Pasiflora. An album which the concept revolves around the beauty in nature and flowers.

As aforementioned Constants blends different styles into a metal/rock sound. This includes the dreamy vocals of shoegaze, the constrast in harmonic sounds which are found in post-rock, and also some spaced out elements inspired by such as Pink Floyd.

Pasiflora opens with Sunrise. A concept which represents the start of something new. The sound is rather light and gives an impression of dusk with a rising sun. In contrast we can find the song Sunset. This song actually appears a little over halfways in the album and not at the end, which I found a bit weird. It is a one minute ambient track with vague drumming in the background. This song works as an interlude rather than an ending.

Following up after Sunrise comes two songs that are a little under four minutes in length each, Hourglass and Passenger. Hourglass isn’t really that interesting allthough it has some nice guitar lines in the latter half of the song. Passenger opens up with dreamy synths and you can really notice that there’s a lot of layers here. Mourning is the fourth song and probably my favourite from the album. The vocals here are an utmost soothing collaboration with atmospheric and spaced out melodies. It has a length of five minutes which gives some room for progression and build-ups towards the tranquil climax.

The album continues with Beautiful and Pressure. Up to this point the flaws begin to emerge. Allthough peaceful vocal lines and a distinct sound personalizes this album, I do find it to be lacking variation. The songs sound to similiar to each other with little variation in drumming patterns and vocal techniques. Which results in the album being too much of a good thing. After the interlude, Sunset, the album continues with its three last songs: Austere, 1985 and Crosses. Austere is a very mellow track, both instrumentally and vocally. It do expand and has a little over two-minute build-up, but the climax are far from bombastic and explosive.

While 1985 is forgetable, the last song – Crosses – seems to take a different approach. It doesn’t feel as dreamy as the rest of the album, which is a good thing as you’ve probably been fed up with to much sugar-sweet melodies at this point. It do contain the same kind of vocals, but it utilizes some different techniques and sound which has been absent from the rest of the album.

Even though Pasiflora has some flaws and can sometimes sound a bit too sweet for its own good, it’s no doubt a record that has its distinct style and good moments. Most definately worth checking out if you are a fan of shoegaze. Even if you are not, you should still give this album a chance as it is quite digestible.

Recommended tracks: Mourning, Austere, Crosses.

6.5/10

Martin Sollien