Cloudkicker – Beacons
Cloudkicker, another one of your Meshuggah copycat djent bands? Not really. There has been a lot of talk about no two djent bands sounding different. But right from the start, Cloudkicker has had a different sound, creating a sub-genre within a sub-genre – ambidjent, incorporating (as the name suggests) ambient passages in addition to down tuned riffs. So when I put Beacons on my playlist, I wasn’t expecting much of a change in their sound. Boy oh boy, was I wrong.
Right from song 2(one being the intro), the one man juggernaut dishes out some of the catchiest riffs I’ve heard in recent times, not to mention technically challenging. An impeccable blend of virtuosity and feel, songs such as “Here, wait a minute” and “we’re going in, we’re going down” give the neck a hard time while keeping you thinking as to what might come next, mostly succeeding in defeating your intuition. Then there are the catchy-as-hell melodies and licks such as on “Oh God”. Drums are programmed (and well programmed at that, all hail DFH Superior), though the bass seems conspicuously absent in the mix, which is one of the major shortcomings when it comes to most bands in this genre. But though this is a valid ground for complaint, the 8 string fills in the void in a satisfactory manner. The compositions make it obvious that vocals aren’t a necessity, and they definitely make for a better listen compared to Periphery’s latest where one is subjected to the agony of thinnish screams that sound weak in comparision to the other instruments.
The ambient passages aren’t as memorable as the riffs, but they do make their presence felt on certain songs like “Amy, I love you” and “I admit now, I was scared”, . All in all, this is an album that isn’t likely to be a classic, but is sure to replace all the generic metalcore/melodic metalcore in my playlist for a long time to come.