Cloud Rat - Qliphoth (Cover Artwork)

Cloud Rat

Qliphoth (2015)

Dead Tank Records

Qliphoth is grindcore ground control, where Cloud Rat launches ships of genre variance into space, analyzing the wasteland of planet Earth. This latest full length is the band’s greatest undertaking yet, reaching 40 minutes in length and incorporating numerous musical shifts, along with some of the most densely crafted lyrics you’ll find in any genre.

Torment, depression and loss of control form a gut-wrenching beginning in “Seken,” only to be succeeded by hurt and execution in “Botched.” The creation of music used to reveal real life pain and suffering can be both deeply personal and revealing; Cloud Rat dives deeper instead of looking away, and the listener follows.

Tension increases on songs like “Upper World” and “Raccoon,” spreading out and slowing down vocal delivery to create an emotive straining; once talking about the hurt and now showing how it’s felt. Madison Marshall knows exactly how to convey lyrics for maximum effect, with the amount of stress and emphasis on specific words that can make a song not only come alive, but have an individual life on the album.

Few bands can accomplish matching lyrical content, intensity, and message in a way that is nothing short of poetic. Cloud Rat is similar to Verse in that sense, wording so thick that it takes several times listening to appreciate fully. A difficult artistry in any style to master, Marshall excels by leaning towards apocalyptic and anarchist imagery, matching grindcore’s extreme edge.

It’s not all grindcore, though. “Thin Veil” and “Killing Horizon” contain both ambient and droning elements, pauses of galactic refuge from the filth of humanity, living in the contemplative ether. Powerviolence makes its finest appearance during one of the best songs on Qliphoth, “Rusting Belt.” Even that songs makes a change halfway, taking on brief spoken word reciting, “Arson is a form of self-expression, In a place where you can’t express yourself,” then a snap back into grind.

There is so much chaos going on in this album, shedding layers through the shrieks of “Bloated Goat” one minute, and dowsed with “The Boars Snout” filth the next, all leading to apex under the instrumental surveillance mission and furious field reporting on “Udder Dust;” Cloud Rat thrives in chaotic hardcore, and uses Qliphoth to challenge its celestial limits. You will have to break out the telescope to observe the full extent of music, and a microscope to inspect the tightly wound words when listening to this one.