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Now That Was Unexpected - 75%

Thumbman, December 5th, 2019

Well this was an unexpected development. Instead of going for their usual barrage of grinding riffs, Cloud Rat say to hell with metal entirely. In Do Not Let Me Off the Cliff, Cloud Rat wade into electronic waters and at times even fuck with a singer/songwriter vibe. This is so far removed from my wheelhouse that I'm nigh-bereft of reference points, so I guess you'll just have to bear with me as I stumble through describing a style I know nothing about.

This is described as ethereal/darkwave. I am vaguely familiar with dark wave, but this doesn't at all have the overt goth rock connection even if it shares some of the darker moods. I have no fucking idea what ethereal wave is, so I can't really comment on that. This makes me think of the elegant atmosphere of Cocteau Twins mixed with the dark electronic songwriter material of Zola Jesus. Maybe a smattering of Chelsea Wolfe's more eerie acoustic material. I'm sure there's much more apt stylistic comparisons to be made, but I'm woefully ignorant on this kind of music. Do Not Let Me Off the Cliff is an immersive and moody affair. It seems less about the memorability of the songwriting than just letting the mood wash over you. For the most part I found it very enjoyable. However, the ambient that compromises most of "The Portal of God is Nonexistence" was fairly boring. Letting metal back in for "Dropping from the Trees" is the EP's biggest misstep. The sludgy guitars just feel really unnecessary and I feel the song would fare better with the more atmospheric electronics. You're not obligated to remind us you're usually a metal band!

Overall, Do Not Let Me Off the Cliff is a very successful left-field endeavor, and Cloud Rat break out of the heavy music box admirably. This really is the last thing I'd ever expect from a grindcore group. It's not without a few hiccups, but the moody electronics, eerie acoustics and subtle singer-songwriter vibes makes for a really cool listen. I hope they return to this sound sometime in the future, it seems like something they could really develop a sound in.