Album Review: Cloud Rat — “Threshold”

Cloud Rat - Threshold

Grind is having a massive couple of weeks right now. Last Friday brought us a new Escuela Grind album (review courtesy of my esteemed colleague and brother), and now I have the sublime pleasure to convince you that you should drop whatever you are doing this Friday and check out Threshold, the latest from Michigan grind stalwarts Cloud Rat. And trust me, I do mean whatever you are doing.

I have a standing rule that if I see a new Cloud Rat album on the horizon, I grab that promo. I had been a fan of the band for some time prior, but it was really 2019’s Pollinator that cemented them as a band to truly watch out for; it still is on the short list of my favorite grindcore releases in the totality of the genre for its emotional heft and playful manipulation of grind’s often rigid form. Threshold continues this sound in much the same way. The first few songs on the album establish the musical foundation the rest of the album is laid upon, with breakneck riffing, furious d-beat crust meets blast-beat grindcore rhythms and vocalist Madison Marshall’s genuinely terrifying soul-cleansing vocal delivery. It’s punchy, heavy as hell, and full of really good melody, but it isn’t until “12-22-09” kicks in that you really start to get the sense that you’re in for something special, and once that happens, the really good stuff starts coming at you all at once. “Shepherd” has some of the most spectacular riffing on Threshold, “Imagining Order” brings anthemic emo crust to the party, “Porcelain Boat” and “Corset” touch into post-black metal vibes, and ‘Kaleidoscope’ kicks things up with haunting keyboard washes. I usually find myself drawn more to the opening tracks on albums for one reason or another, but invariably my favorite Cloud Rat songs tend to be those on the later end of albums, which I attribute to excellent choices in sequencing; keeping the more interesting ideas for last to really reward the listener and keep my attention invested in the album the whole time where other grind albums might have me drift off if things get too musically monocromatic.

cloud rat band photo

The strength of Cloud Rat’s releases has always been the journey they take you on; for as short as the albums may be and for just how rapid-fire the assault of them is at times, the songs are structured in such a way that draws you down deeper as the album goes on. There is something special about finishing an album and feeling like you just worked out at a gym, and Threshold is an album that leaves me winded upon completion in the best way possible. There is no question in my mind that this is going to end up on the short list of my favorite grind albums right alongside its predecessor, and I am confident that it will for you too.

Threshold will be available October 7 on Artoffact Records. For more information on Cloud Rat, visit the band’s Facebook page.

2 thoughts on “Album Review: Cloud Rat — “Threshold”

  1. Wayne October 7, 2022 / 8:28 pm

    Nice review, agree totally that this band puts some great tracks later on their releases which is great esp for a grindcore band. Haven’t spent much time with it yet but so hoping to catch them live someday soon

    • Josh October 7, 2022 / 9:07 pm

      They throw some serious weight. I’m sure they would destroy a live venue

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