Tuesday 2 June 2015

Cloud Rat - ‘Qliphoth’ (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 29/05/2015
Label: Halo of Flies

‘Qliphoth’ LP//DD track listing:

1. Seken
2. Botched
3. The Upper World
4. Raccoon
5. Daisies
6. Bloated Goat
7. Rusting Belt
8. Udder Dust
9. The Killing Horizon
10. The Boar’s Snout
11. Hermit Interstice
12.  Live Wake
13. Thin Vein
14. Bolt Gun
15. Rouge Park
16. Friend Of The Court
17. Chrysalis

Cloud Rat is:

Adrian | Drums
Brandon | Electronics
Madison | Vocals
Rorik | Guitar

‘Qliphoth' is a very different album. Not just in that it blends genre elements you don’t often hear together in one place, but it’s also moving in a way that a lot of albums aren’t capable of. Even stranger still, its ability to affect a listener doesn’t require knowing what Madison’s words are. All you have to hear is the pain and the urgency in the utterly harrowing screams on display over the course of the album. When paired with the gut-wrenching, miserable musical performances offered throughout ‘Qliphoth’ as well, your day is bound to be irrevocably altered. That’s not to say that getting some context and insight into the album wouldn’t enhance the experience. It absolutely does (to that end I recommend Kim Kelly’s excellent interview with Madison here). But the aural devastation on its own, stripped completely of any and all context, is more powerful than just about anything you’re likely to hear this year.

‘Seken’ sets the album in motion with a bit of misdirection, sounding dreamy and full of hope. The droning guitar part feels cozy, Madison’s voice is pleasant, and the overall vibe is similar to the feeling you get from some warm, nostalgic summer memory. The moment is fleeting, though. You’re viciously ripped away from it and thrown straight into the maelstrom and given precious few moments of respite from then on. The album shifts from unmerciful and chaotic grindcore and powerviolence to lunging hardcore to unhurried, layered, and saturated noise rock. It all flows nicely for as seemingly disparate as these styles might sound on paper. It’s that same unpredictability that makes ‘Qliphoth’such a captivating listen for the entirety of the album’s forty minutes; a demanding run-time for a grindcore album, especially one this emotionally intense. The peaks and valleys of the album, both in terms of speed and intensity, never feel forced, for the sake of an album with variety. Each musical pivot feels necessary, for the sake of listener and performer alike.

kept me at arm’s length on the first couple of listens. Even for a grizzled metal veteran such as myself, who listens to Napalm Death, Nasum, Pig Destroyer and Wormrot among many other grind bands regularly, this took a period of adjustment. This also takes into account how much I listened to the previous album ‘Moksha’. While ‘Moksha’ has much of the same cathartic savagery,

‘Qliphoth’ is caustic in a way its predecessor is not. Certainly, there are parts that are catchy and instantly memorable, but in no way is this album an easy listen. If you’re like me, you’ll find the extra effort immensely rewarding.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

You can pick up a digital copy here and a CD/LP copy here.

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