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Cloud Rat - "Pollinator" | Album Review

cloud rat cover.jpg

by Hugo Reyes (@hvreyes5)

Cloud Rat, after 10 years, still finds ways to make music that is instant and familiar. If you were to listen to their S/T record in 2010 and then to Polinator, it wouldn’t feel too dissimilar. You can still, to this day find remnants of those people, now 10 years older. There is still that chugging low end guitar sludge, barreling up against frantic drums that anyone would call grindcore. 

But, what Cloud Rat has always done is iterate. They add and subtract the necessary elements, in an attempt to create a complete statement of an LP.  On the last full length, Qlipoth, Cloud Rat added a fourth member, Brandon, to handle the electronics, adding another dimension to the band. Now, on Polinator, they pair back down to the three piece, trying to meet somewhere in the middle, retaining some of the experimental elements but getting back to their aggressive roots.

The “weirder shit” is still somewhat here, but can be found in all its splendor on Do Not Let Me Fall Off a Cliff, their companion EP to Polinator. It does leave me wanting. What would a record sound like that combined these two releases? I can only imagine some phantom sounds that come to pass. 

It’s this tension that underlies the entire record and Cloud Rat as a whole. The record pulls and twists you in different directions, attempting to entangle you. “Night Song” slowly draws you out, veering closer to a doom metal track, before a quick turn, in which the drums and guitars wall you off with no real escape. Other times, we move straight ahead, following the typical 45 second grindcore trajectory in the song “Zula”.

What ties Cloud Rat together is the singer/screamer/howler, Madison Marshall. To use all of this energy without intention would be meaningless. It is just aesthetic for aesthetics sake and nothing more. Instead, Madison takes the realities of everyday existence and amplifies them through her scream, trying to break through the wall of guitar and drums. We veer from our obsessions about social media and our phones, to our feeling of impending doom because of global warming, and anxieties about being a band for 10 years.