CLOUDKICKER — Beacons

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CLOUDKICKER - Beacons cover
3.82 | 23 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2010

Tracklist

1. We are going to invert... (0:41)
2. Here, wait a minute! Damn it! (1:47)
3. We're goin' in. We're going down. (5:15)
4. Oh, god. (5:40)
5. I admit it now. I was scared. (2:04)
6. We were all scared. (2:29)
7. Push it way up! (7:16)
8. ...it's just wide-open field. (2:21)
9. It's bad. We're hit, man, we are hit. (6:01)
10. Amy, I love you. (7:56)
11. untitled (2:17)

Total Time 43:47

Line-up/Musicians

- Ben Sharp / All instruments and programming

About this release

Self Released, Ben Sharp, 2010.

This album was self-recorded, self-funded, and self-released. Proceeds go directly to the artist. Available for download at any price or a CD at http://cloudkicker.bandcamp.com.

16 September 2010

Thanks to Any Colour You Like for the addition and Pekka for the updates

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CLOUDKICKER BEACONS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

bartosso
Silent film

I have really mixed feelings about that record. Cloudkicker's second album, BEACONS, is undoubtedly a very interesting effort and given the fact it's released for free, it's even more awkward to rate it with 3 stars. I promise, I'll explain myself. But now for something completely different...

Damn those tricky one-man baaands! They use computer generated drums and think they're cool. Well, they are. Cloudkicker is anyway. His drums, guitars as well as bass sound convincing. As for drums, they're not as realistic as drum set from hell in CATCH 33 by Meshuggah, but still realistic enough. Guitars feel a bit too sterile for my tastes but the fact they're heavy and perfectly executed is undeniable. For a homemade album the sound is just amazing.

Less original and more personal yet still technical. That simple phrase describes the music in BEACONS pretty well, but I'll elaborate on the subject in order to seem more intelligent. So, despite being an instrumental collection of songs, BEACONS is a concept album with a story told in... song titles! It's a story about a plain crash, or should I say a desperate report from the crew, just before the crash. I must say that's what's best in the album - dramatic tension that pervades the whole concept is thrilling. It's like a silent film created with sounds instead of images. Stylistically, Cloudkicker went completely opposite way of what I've expected though. Instead of developing his progressive side, Ben Sharp focused on drama and more traditional approach to riffs and melody. So-called djent is still there, but now it's more of a spice than a defining factor. Don't get me wrong, it's an album loaded with excellent riffs and emotion provoking build-ups ("Amy, I love you" shines here) but its repetitious nature makes it tiresome just too many times.

All in all, BEACONS is a solid album with some great features and some really bad ones too. It's still among the best records in djent as it presents a new approach to the style unlike the mass of young djent bands that have nothing interesting to offer (besides making Meshugah's style more accessible and melodic). If you're into post metal, you may love it. Well, get it to find out, it's free anyway!
Conor Fynes
'Beacons' - Cloudkicker (7/10)

The second full-length bout from the mysterious djentleman Ben Sharp, Cloudkicker's 'Beacons' is defined by it's higher highs, and lower lows, when compared to it's predecessor. Maintaining Cloudkicker's deep root in post-metal, the sound here goes even farther from the typical Meshuggah soundalike this one man instrumental project started with in 'The Discovery.' While 'Beacons' is certainly not as consistent as the evenly-flowing debut, it remarks a very distinct development in the sound of Cloudkicker, and is a satisfying follow up from this quality project.

While there's certainly a change o sound witnessed here, the essence of Cloudkicker is still here in droves. The emphasis in the music is still about atmospheric, larger than life textures, gradually building tension and sound that only gets more complex as the composition progresses. Like 'The Discovery,' 'Beacons' is comprised of a song suite; each track is generally seamlessly connected to the next, giving a very continuous and pleasantly flowing product. However, 'Beacons' doesn't sound as much like a front-to-back composition as much as a seamless string of smaller compositions, the effect of a well- flowing album definately gets across.

A very interesting thing about 'Beacons' is it's concept. While there hasn't been any discernable binding concept in any Cloudkicker work before this, the theme here revolves around black box messages found on crashed airplanes. While the music itself is instrumental and relies completely on the talented guitarwork of Ben Sharp, the music does reflect the atmosphere of panic and desperation quite well. Of course, there are always mellow sections here to give a respite from the mathematically complex metal-leaning music here, including the quiet flourishes of 'I admit it now, I was scared' and '...it's just wide open field.' These softer compositions are deeply rooted in post-rock, and generally trail back into the heaviness before they can go anywhere of much value. However, in the scope of the album, they work beautifully as interludes.

While 'Beacons' is a strong record, the two problems here concern the less consistent nature of the album, and the overbearing concept of repetition in the album's composition. Things here are performed and produced beautifully, especially considering that for all intents and purposes, this is an indie release. However, there are times when Ben Sharp's musical ideas are stretched out a little too much beyond what they're worth. Musical themes will be repeated over and over again, and while this can be very effective for some of the more atmospheric sections, the less captivating sequences can go as far as being boring. Fortunately enough however, around the time the nerves start to wear, a new musical idea comes forth to save the day. Overall, 'Beacons' doesn't leave as much of an impression as 'The Discovery.' Perhaps this is because I now have high expectations for the talented one man project, but in any case, this album is a very welcome contribution to Cloudkicker's catalogue... and despite the flaws here, this is indeed a welcome contribution to an impressive discography.
Negoba
Losing Steam, We're Going Down, Mayday!

One man djentleman Ben Sharp, aka Cloudkicker, named most of the songs on this album after lines that might be uttered in the cockpit of crashing plane. While the explosion is not imminent, BEACONS feels like a vessel that's running out of steam. I loved Sharp's first offering, THE DISCOVERY, and he's certainly continued to create some solid music on subsequent EPs and now this, his second full album. But there's something missing. The riffs are actually tighter, the production is a little sharper, but ironically, there's actually less sense of danger on this record than this first. Where the DISCOVERY really seemed to take me on an emotional journey, I often find that BEACONS has played all the way through and I didn't even notice it.

For newcomers to Cloudkicker, don't be scared off. Sharp makes some of the best djent / post- rock fusion out there, and it's free! (well if you want it to be, voluntary pricing). I prefer his work alot to related artist Chimp Spanner, and Sharp has disposed almost completely with most of the djent movement's metalcore leanings. The music is moody and atmospheric, but heavy. It's what post-metal was meant to be, and occasionally approaches. But it's better. The riffs are more interesting, the passages less monotonous (most of the time), and the musicianship obviously very careful. This last element, one of the most specific and common of all the math- metal types, is what really grabs me. There is nothing sloppy here at all, and unfortunately many metal bands delight in their slop.

I've read that BEACONS is actually Sharp's most atmospheric and varied album to date and on very careful listen it is. As is common, as I give closer attention, my inclination is to move my rating from a 2 to a 3. Sharp is still giving us good stuff. He's certainly matured a bit, but the process has robbed as much fire as it has added nuance for this particular listener. Others clearly disagree.

I've made my point. Get THE DISCOVERY first, move forward. If you enjoy that, you'll still get something out of BEACONS.

Members reviews

progkidjoel
Sharp's strongest effort yet!

Cloudkicker, the solo project of multi-instrumentalist, has developed over the years to become an incredibly strong and full fledged outlet for great metal, and this album demonstrates the subtle evolution since his debut album of 2008. What we have here is a much more mature, diverse, technical and overall interesting Cloudkicker, still capable of blasting beats and eardrums.

The music here is much more diverse and less djent than Cloudkicker's previous album, The Discovery, with a much more melodically driven tone and feeling. This album also seems to be sonically better than his previous releases. The album starts slowly with the intro then jumps into full Cloudkicker mode with the opener 'Here, Wait A Minute! Dammit!', a progression which continues throughout the whole album through several climaxes and peaks.

The album is still full of headbanging and air-drumming spectaculars, with evenly paced levels of heaviness and head pounding rhythms. The music here is much more likely to please straight metal fans, as the sound is slightly more radio friendly than his previous releases - although this is not a bad thing. On the contrary, B. M. Sharp manages to make his own mix of prog, djent and metal into a much more thoroughly thought out and well structured record. Tracks like 'Oh, god.' also have a refreshing emotional sensibility to them. This album is worthy of any progger, mettaler or djentleman's record collection.

4.5/5 stars, although incredibly close to being a 5 star album, I feel this album could have been a bit more solid throughout, and does become slightly repetitive in sections.

Regardless of my minor tiff with one aspect of the album, this 44 minute slice of delight is highly recommended to any and every music fan.

Ratings only

  • Fant0mas
  • angelbear3
  • DreamInSong
  • Lynx33
  • SKwid
  • spitf1r3
  • Zephyr
  • sauromat
  • loggerhead
  • Any Colour You Like
  • harmonium.ro
  • Paperbag
  • Urs Blank
  • The Angry Scotsman
  • Triceratopsoil
  • Metalbaswee
  • spizzetti
  • Anster
  • A Person

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