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Cloud Rat - Cloud Rat - 96%

Twin_guitar_attack, March 8th, 2014

Cloud Rat’s 2010 self titled debut album is my favourite grindcore album of the 21st century so far, and one of the best grindcore releases I’ve ever heard. It’s completely unique, and this album actually helped to restore my faith in grindcore at a time when it was starting to become stale to me. The three piece, hailing from Michigan, USA not only play some of the most aggressive and violent grindcore out there, but they do so with a dark and harrowing sense of emotion, a real sincerity which is often missing from grindcore. It’s depressing and devastating in equal measure, and really needs to be heard to be believed.

Singer Madison’s voice is simply insane. Her screams are absolutely harrowing, they’re some of the most emotionally powerful I’ve heard in extreme music. Aggressive to the maximum, and really sincere. With extremely moving lyrics concerning abuse, depression, drug abuse and neglect, it’s obvious from the sheer vividness of the lyrics and their emotional delivery that the band have really been through some bad experiences – nothing this dark would have arisen, without coming from real, horrible experiences, this is especially shown on the powerful “Mouse Trap”, and “Sinkhole” which might just be the best grindcore track since Napalm Death’s Scum.

The music itself is grindcore with a lot of hardcore influence. Without a bassist, the guitarist Rorik Brooks plays through multiple amps, and as such they still have a really full and powerful sound, and he delivers an incredible performance. Playing an excellent mix of fast, catchy and technical riffs with a hardcore edge, as well as sections of slow crushing intensity, all with a powerful, brutal guitar tone, the music is just as aggressive as the vocals, with the excellent drumming also adding another dimension to Cloud Rat’s sound.

With parts of the album sounding almost post-punk/shoegaze influenced with some effects laden softer guitar moments being present, this is definitely not a straight forward grindcore album, and the band have a real originality, which especially comes across on “Yama”, a track with spoken word vocals and an aggressive echoey guitar riff building up in the background, and also on the intro to the brilliant “Faint Hearted”, the song with some of the best guitar work present in grindcore, in it’s varied and fantastic approach.

Overall this is one of the most unique and brilliant grindcore albums out there, and one that absolutely every fan of the genre NEEDS to hear. Never has there been grindcore delivered with such a dark and harrowing sense of emotion, and it’s truly one of the best grindcore albums, if not THE best out there.

Originally written for swirlsofnoise.com