The Monday Grind: CLOUD RAT Pollinator And Do Not Let Me Off The Cliff
It’s Monday and Mondays suck, so let’s grind it out with Cloud Rat’s Pollinator and the EP Do Not Let Me Off the Cliff.
Cloud Rat should be all you need to chew into this release. If you listen to grindcore in any denomination, the band has undoubtedly come up on your radar in one explosive way or another. Those that remember the days of Jay Randall’s Grindcore Karakoke label on Bandcamp probably caught onto this band a little earlier than others. Maybe I’m wrong on that front to an extent, but regardless, the Mt Pleasant, MI trio’s discography is as expansive as it is impressive.
Not being limited to simply grindcore, Cloud Rat has dipped into the sludge/doom realms are no strangers to melding both noisy and melodic elements. The band has done splits with Disrotted, Drugs of Faith, TEST, Moloch and many others. The fourth grind-capade, Pollinator, is no doubt their most intense release so far, though. In a discography as furious as Cloud Rat’s, it’s as though their well of fury never dries.
The album opens with “Losing Weight”, a pure hardcore/punk driven grinder that is never shy with the blasts and speed. Hell, it moves so fast that the following track “Delayed Grief (Farmhouse Red)” sneaks up on you like a masked killer and pushes forward on the assault. There’s something a little different about this Cloud Rat record though. Rorik Brooks’ guitar work as at its most frantic. His melodies move from toothgrinding ferocity to Orb Weaver-like webs to downtrodden and melancholic. Meanwhile, Madison Marshall sounds as urgent as ever, her voice spitting darkness, bile, pain, and criticism. I’d be remiss to not mention Brandon Hill’s drumming here too, which is off the charts track after track, adding a fiery underbelly to the beast of Cloud Rat. Really, for a three-piece, this band sounds like each of its members is working double time.
Which is probably why when the band slows down, it’s extremely noticeable. The frenzy dies down, but the diress of the band does not. Most notably “Luminescent Cellar” hits this note, being both the longest song and the slowest. “The Mad” is also a great example though, with a pushing melodic dredge that eventually becomes a punk grinder that becomes more and more intense.
Other tracks like the mighty “Webspinner” are extremely melodic and driving only to jump into blasting, peeling grind and back again. Meanwhile, “Al Di La” builds with punk momentum, leading into maybe the catchiest blast on the record that will blow the lid off any mosh pit and convert any non-believers.
Pollinator isn’t the only piece of Cloud Rat material we’re dealing with today, however. Not long before Polinator’s official release, Cloud Rat suddenly announced a bonus EP entitled Do Not Let Me Off the Cliff. This is, however, supposed to be considered a stand-alone piece. So why am I covering it? Well, I’m mostly touching on it in case there’s any confusion.
It’s an experimental, ambient, acoustic, post-punk, folksy. It’s the yin to Pollinator’s yang. It’s Cloud Rat making some downright gorgeous music. Electronic drums, acoustic guitars, melodic electric guitars, synths—sometimes it feels like they’re channelling something…kinda akin to The Body, sometimes it’s like Cold Cave or Lust For Youth. It’s a really, really interesting offering from Cloud Rat, and a road they should definitely explore more of. Hell, at times this thing feels like it had the potential to channel The Caretaker. And the amount of soothing horror that could inspire…goddamn, that would be an intense Cloud Rat record.
If you’ve been on the fence about Cloud Rat, it’s time to get off that fence. If you haven’t liked their previous works, both of these offerings are worthy of a second shot. Pollinator is one of the best grindcore releases this year, and that’s saying a lot considering the excellent year the grind genre is having. Get grinding on this!
The Monthy Grind on Spotify is here.