Review Summary: A shallow return.
For an instrumental album, there’s a certain level of skill involved that extends beyond the typical difficulty parameters of your conventional record with vocals. Whether you’ve sat and thought about it before today or not, vocals lift a substantial amount of the work load for an album – case in point: when you’re making an instrumental album, you better damn well make sure your compositions are above and beyond solid standards. And the thing is, Cloudkicker has always delivered in that regard many times before. With that said, unfortunately, recent years have seen a pretty drastic decline in quality for Cloudkicker’s music; the biggest problem being that the ideas conveyed in both 2015’s Woum
and this LP feel fundamentally underwhelming. In fact, Unending
actually takes the underwhelming aspect to a whole new level here – basically consisting of 4 half-baked metal tracks and 3 fatuous ambient pieces written as though they never had a particular purpose, but were used because they were sitting in the demo vault and would pad out the record’s run time nicely. I mean seriously, “Night” is essentially a 2-and-a-half-minute intro track that goes absolutely nowhere and does very little to set up “Xaoc” in any way.
Even the main attraction tracks fail to spark even a morsel of the engagement given from a song like “We’re Goin’ In. We’re Goin’ Down.”. The likes of “Blackwing” just sounds like a B-side which came from the Fade
era of Cloudkicker, before anticlimactically grinding to a halt because it didn’t know how to finish up. It’s an incessant theme that runs throughout Unending
, and for every dull interlude like “AR-Lp 36” lies an underdeveloped “YHWH” with a deflated conclusion. It’s honestly a far cry to the high standards his first 5 LPs hit – LPs that were all sonically distinct and unique from one another, but maintained your attention because of it – but it’s made that much worse when this makes Woum
look good. The bottom line here is that Cloudkicker’s 7th album feels half cooked at best and is lacking in all the unique characteristics that made his widely regarded albums so fun to listen to in the first place.
SPECIAL EDITION BONUSES: N/A
ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://cloudkicker.bandcamp.com/album/unending