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Finally a Cloud Rat Split Where the Other Band is Better - 85%

Thumbman, December 6th, 2019

My fuck, are Cloud Rat a versatile band. They often play grindcore, and occasionally play whatever on earth "ethereal wave" is. On this early pre-album split they come off more classic screamo with a slightly blackened edge. The development of this band is just fascinating to me. Although grind is the simplest way of describing them, they really are genre-agnostic at heart. Their side of this split is incredibly cool, and I wish they would have done more with this sound. This split bears the rare distinction of the other band out performing Cloud Rat. Autarkeia do an incredibly job with their raw concoction of skramz/post-hardcore.

Cloud Rat here absolutely have some of the grind they are known for, and also unsurprisingly blend a mixture of heavy genres into their sound. Despite the occasional grindy salvo, this leans hardest on classic screamo. I think the term "screamo" can turn a lot of metalheads off because it immediate reminds of the Hot Topic metalcore meets Hot Topic emo of bands like Bullet for my Valentine. Those bands were indeed awful and I'm happy their era is over. However, this is more along the lines of the post-hardcore adjacent "classic screamo" (for a lack of a better term - I hesitate to say "skramz" unironically) scene that has brought us such classics bands as Orchid and Off Minor. Anyway, Cloud Rat do a great job at this style and the blackened edge gives it an interesting aesthetic.

Given Cloud Rat's style here, it makes a lot of sense that they teemed up with Autarkeia. They play a style that blends the lines between screamo and post-hardcore. This almost makes me think Saetia covering Envy. They really do a great job at the balancing act, with more frenetic punky bursts being interspersed with straight-up post-rock sections. Their songwriting is what holds this raw display of dynamics together. Oh yeah, and the vocalist's pained screams are awesome.

Cloud Rat and Autarkeia put forth an incredible split here. I love that you can look back in into Cloud Rat's past and find something so cool in another style. This is head and shoulders above more recent Cloud Rat splits where the other band seems chosen at random and doesn't particularly compliment their style . Another rare thing about this split is that Cloud Rat don't overshadow the other band - and they put in a damn good performance. I knew if I dug deep enough in their past I'd finally find a split where the other band is better - you can't win 'em all.