Cloudkicker
The Discovery


4.0
excellent

Review

by Apoc USER (2 Reviews)
September 23rd, 2009 | 33 replies | 19,734 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Interesting and fresh instrumental post-metal, although formulaic in structure.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Discovery is the 2008 LP offering of a man named B.M. Sharp, whose progressive, post-metal project Cloudkicker has attracted no small amount of attention; the LP itself is a 10-track foray into the edges of math, prog, noise, and post-metal.

Sirens blare to announce the beginning of the album on Genesis Device, giving way to a Meshuggah-esque mathy groove on the lowest strings at the artist's disposal. A mere introduction, this first track does nothing more than welcome you to the album, which begins with track two in a blaze of glory.

Dysphoria, the first real track on the album, is also one of the best. The main melody is strong, heavy on octaves and interesting enough to keep you hooked; at 2:15 it falls into a groove which while eschewing traditional conceptions of rhythmic acceptability some also manages to reassure and comfort. The main line returns at 3:45 to close out the song a minute later, and it ends on a feedback loop which cuts straight into the next track.

A strange, dark trip is ahead. On Avalanche Mr. Sharp shows here that all the power-consonance of the previous track isn't going to define the whole album; he doesn't shy away from off-color notes or dissonant harmonies as he builds to the epic triplet breakdown at 3:30. As with the previous track, the ambient sound is a huge part of the song proper; the consistently interesting guitar riffs are almost always accompanied by a high synthesized line which adds dimensions to the sound. By 4:18 we've returned to the beginning melody and the final suspended chord fades as strings hold on just a bit longer.

The next track, Everything's Mirrors, is a clean-toned, delay-driven, chord-built melody line with unsettling ambient sounds built around it; it's almost an impressionistic piece, a single image captured by two minutes of sound. Where it could have been an annoying addition to the album, it's elegantly executed and makes for a nice break to allow for some breathing before the high-energy post-metal fury of the album returns.

Viceroy is a strange, stately piece which features a melody that stretches across octaves and which weaves in and out of time signatures. As it gets heavier towards the middle, it builds in intensity until what I can only describe as a spree erupts at 2:34, which for fifteen seconds is almost too much but which finally gives way at 2:49 to a dark groove. For the middle breakaway alone this one's worth the listen.

The next track, segue:, is two and a quarter minutes of quiet development of a melody line which sounds like something the Cure might have written. Like Everything's Mirrors, which is similar in structure, this track is careful not to overstay its welcome and is done in about two minutes.

The title track is significantly longer than the rest of the tracks on the album, clocking in at over 8 minutes. It doesn't waste any time getting into it either, and huge, heavy chords in odd times blast out with the now-familiar synth harmonies ringing above. By 1:25 The Discovery has taken a quieter turn, and the synth drives the piece forward as the guitars add emphasis on the beat where it's necessary. It maintains a lot of energy through this softer section, and by the time it returns to full steam at 3:10, it's become a monstrous wall of sound. The mathy precision of the guitar and bass groove while maintaining the 4/4 , with the synthesizer providing the melody to the chaos underneath, is a now-familiar gambit which until 5:35 is almost trancelike and meditative. The post-rock elements carry throughout the remainder of the song, which at its conclusion fades out, leaving the embryonic beginnings of the next song underneath.

That song is Covington, a clean song replete with tapping, delay, repetition, and carefully-written drum parts; an interesting element is the manner in which the drums are also fed through the delay, resulting in a hypnotic cadence-like quality.

Triumvirate! doesn't have time to mess around, and in it's short minute of track time it presents a raw, intense slab of instrumental hard rock that's hard to find fault with. As a track by itself maybe it doesn't have much power, since its short play time limits its effectiveness, but as a transitional track between the reservation of Covington and the strong album conclusion in States, it's perfect.

If you've read this far you've probably noted the formulaic nature of the tracks. It's true that the tracks tend to fall into one of two categories: 'hard' and 'soft.' There's only three 'soft' songs, namely Everything's Mirrors, segue:, and Covington, and they're pleasant interludes to the other seven tracks that really comprise the meat of the album. The rest, the 'hard' tracks, are balls-out post-metal, with extended song structures and big fat melody lines, no shortage of playing around with time signature and, while not afraid of dissonance, are mostly melodic and consonant. These tracks feature interesting drumming (the drums on this album are not performed but programmed; as programmed drums they sound excellent and the patterns themselves are perfectly suited to the album's style), and synthesized countermelodies and harmonies that feel like they float on top of the tightly produced sound. Most have an interlude and a subsequent return to the original melody, or a slightly altered melody that fades or comes to a crashing halt. It's formula. It works.

Would you have even read the review of the last song? It's one of the hard songs. You can fill in every blank.

So what are we left with? It's predictable but enjoyable; it's fun but dense enough to warrant some real digging into. But the real draw of the album for me has less to do with the music, which IS good, than it does the nature of its creation. Mr. Sharp sits in his basement with his guitars and basses. He writes all the music; he programs all the drum parts; he records it all into his computer and mixes it all himself. And when his work's paid off, and he's got himself enough material for a full-length LP release, he uploads it to his website and lets people download it for free.

This is music. This is music devoid of the trappings of record label expectations, devoid of the cynical nature of profit-seeking. This is the work of an artist who's making the music for himself, and we're privileged to be able to hear this work for ourselves. This sort of art for the sake of art, a foray into the mind of a man named B.M. Sharp in all its creative power, should be ultimately encouraged and supported for the altruistic and inspiring nature of the offering.

And it just happens to kick tons of ass.

Recommended tracks:
Dysphoria
Viceroy
The Discovery


user ratings (378)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
Despite a bit of obvious repetition, Ben Sharp's debut is seamless, intense, epic and the most impor...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Prophet178
September 23rd 2009



6397 Comments


Sounds pretty sweet, its free too huh? You might want to shy away from track-by-track and technical analysis for your next review, but great job.

bloc
September 23rd 2009



34761 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i enjoy instrumental metal, but this was sooooooo boring.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Apoc
September 23rd 2009



13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks! This was my first review, wasn't quite sure what direction to go with it; I hope it's helpful. I'll definitely work on style as I move forward with reviewing.

halloway
September 23rd 2009



684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i liked this album as well. portmanteau and the map is not the territory are also pretty good (although much shorter) albums. check those out if you haven't already.

Apoc
September 23rd 2009



13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice. Yeah - The Map is Not the Territory is actually a little better I think; Hold On is the kind of standout track that The Discovery Lacked.

good stuff

KYZAR
September 23rd 2009



513 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

where would one get this? Also, this sounds quite good, and free.

Prophet178
September 23rd 2009



6397 Comments


Theres a link on their myspace page, for the lazy: http://cloudkicker.uk.googlepages.com/

KYZAR
September 23rd 2009



513 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^thanks
also heres the artwork if you want to add it
[IMG]http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/4476/discoverya.jpg[/IMG]

Apoc
September 23rd 2009



13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Actually I tried several times and it didn't work. Not sure what to do bout it. maybe a moderator or staff member can take care of it?

KYZAR
September 24th 2009



513 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

huh... dunno maybe the pictures too big

bloc
September 24th 2009



34761 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

pic needs to be 200x200.

KYZAR
September 25th 2009



513 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it is


TRMshadow
February 12th 2010



4982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Holy Crap!! Why was I not informed of this guy before?

GibTG
February 25th 2010



279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excellent first review, and splendid choice of music!

renzuokun
March 30th 2010



35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this guy is great! very fun to listen to, great riffs. though i thought this album got a little repetetive

pizzamachine
May 6th 2010



12571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hot crap, instrumental metal!

jake20589
September 9th 2010



82 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this album is the shit.

finally checking out his other albums,

botb
October 7th 2010



9647 Comments


just randomly found this and holy shit this rules

botb
November 16th 2010



9647 Comments


everything's mirrors is simply astounding.

Ssssssss
May 21st 2011



683 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

first riff in dysphoria 0.0

dude is awesome



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