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Are All Cloud Rat Splits This Uneven? - 70%

Thumbman, December 5th, 2019

Well this was a cool split. Cloud Rat strike a nice balance between their usual grinding fury and their experimental side. They do a great job at both, and I'd love a full album along these lines. While the songs are short, the variety in the riffs and their experimental edge keep them memorable. Test play a chunky and raw grindcore inflected with both death metal and crust. Their side is not bad, but not really on Cloud Rat's level.

"Handprints" is a blink and you'll miss it affair, but it does a great job at showing the drummers dexterity on the kit. "Unconscious Codes" has some nice subtle keyboard tones and shows them bludgeoning with twisty sludge. I love that "Hollow Bones" brings back some of the classic screamo influence of the debut and the trippy thousand voices effect that fades into "The Fools" is a really cool touch. Their final effort may start like a cool but expected interplay between frenetic grind and lumbering sludge, but near the end we get some really weird electronics. I really wish Cloud Rat would incorporate more of that into their sound - I can't stress how cool it would be for a full album of this. My only real complaint about Cloud Rat's side of the split is it's too goddamn short and I'm left wanting more. Test play crunchy grind with touches of death and crust. It's fine, but comes off as very underwhelming in comparison. Besides their violent outbursts, they have some rock and older metal influence (read: Black Sabbath). They try to break into a bluesy jam in "Vazio" and it just doesn't work at all. There's some big bouncy Sabbath meets NWOBHM grooves at the end of "Assaulto Nuclear" (lol these bands can be so hilariously on-the-nose) that fairs a lot better.

I think I'm starting to notice a trend here with the Cloud Rat splits: Cloud Rat ends up massively overshadowing the other band. I suppose it's no ones fault; if all grindcore bands could be as good as Cloud Rat I'd be much more invested in the style. Cloud Rat's experimentation here is great, and Test really aren't bad at all asides from one failed blues jam.