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CLOUDKICKER - The Discovery cover
3.77 | 17 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2008


1. Genesis Device (2:09)
2. Dysphoria (4:44)
3. Avalanche (5:15)
4. Everything's Mirrors (2:02)
5. Viceroy (4:43)
6. segue: (2:59)
7. The Discovery (8:16)
8. Covington (2:30)
9. Triumvirate! (1:03)
10. States (6:07)

Total Time 39:48


- Ben Sharp / All guitars, bass, drum sequencing, tracking, mixing, mastering, and cover art

About this release

Release Date: July 15, 2008

Thanks to kshskang for the addition and The Angry Scotsman, Stooge for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Post Rock Djent Hybrid is Pure Pleasure

Of all the bands to spawn an entire new genre, Meshuggah is that last one I would have picked. I was not a big fan of the first examples I heard of the Djent sound ("Bleed" from obZen) though I certainly recognized there was something new and intense in the music. The hyper precise down-tuned math metal has spread and while I still dislike the version with harsh/screamed lyrics, some of the instrumental versions of Djent are the freshest things happening in music right now.

Cloudkicker is the name for the instrumental djent project of home recording artist BM Sharp. (There are actually several one man projects in the genre). Sharp leans heavily on post-rock ideas and the atmospheric quality melded with brutal riffing makes both sounds better. Cloudkicker's debut, THE DISCOVERY, is in my opinion his best work because of it is the most hybrid. While there are great riffs and furious technique on this album, it is most of all a sonic adventure. It is a scene, it is images, it is MUSIC!!! While a lot of post-rock (and virtually all post-metal) bores me to tears, the riffs add energy to the builds and drops. Conversely, unlike every other piece of metal I've ever listened to, this album virtually never makes me think as a guitar player. And the guitar playing is phenomenal. When I finish this album, I feel like I've been taken on a great journey.

This is a 4+ album that I'm just not quite ready to push into masterpiece rating. But only the Animals as Leaders album is better in the whole genre, and that includes the entire Meshuggah catalog. Nothing even from Sharp himself has matched his debut. Sometimes the freshness of the ideas gives a piece of music a special kind of life and I believe that is the case on THE DISCOVERY.

Depth is the essence

Haunting ambiance is the key. Thou shalt praise Ben Sharp's debut for its beauty, despite numerous imperfections. The soul of the album is, in my humble opinion, the most important part of musical creation - Ben Sharp knows that. I know that too, and I'm a slave of this rule.

THE DISCOVERY is an instrumental post metal, intriguing blend of disturbing/doom atmosphere and djent. Cloudkicker draws extensively on Meshuggah's twisted ideas to create its own, original interpretation of the style. Sharp uses the poly-rhythmical side of the style but its discordant facet is mostly tamed - an ephemeral atmosphere has precedence over an atonal chaos (which is actually very atmospheric in its own way). The album, with its heavy, bass drum-based riffs in the foreground and disturbing, ephemeral high pitched guitar in the background, make up very consistent creation and provide enjoyable listen.

However, with all its shining merits, THE DISCOVERY is not free of flaws. Having worked out his own style, Sharp don't even try to diversify it. Songs are atmospheric but stiffly composed; interesting but hermetic and repetitive at times. There are some great soft interludes of course, but it's not enough to change the impression of uniformity. Therefore THE DISCOVERY is interesting yet at times tiresome experience - divided in parts tastes much better. Another thing is the production. Sharp saw to it that everything sounds relatively clear but some higher frequencies sound... well, sharp. Especially drums, which are fake by the way, are to be blamed for that.

And finally, why have I prefaced my review with this pompous intro about soul? Well, it's just to prove that rating and actual feelings about the album are sometimes two different things. This is actually haunting and inventive record - there is talent, originality, beauty, heart. Even if the rating indicates that in my opinion the album is not excellent - because technically it isn't - I highly recommend to give it a listen, at least once.

PS.: The album is available for free by the way. "Dysphoria" recommended as quick check on YT. Enjoy.
The modern "djent" scene is filled with bands that take Meshuggah-riffs and water them down into weak -core influenced fake metal. While the polymetric riffs inherently take skill to play, these bands use these when these style riffs have become a popular trend. They turn the riffs into catchy riffs, rather than expanding upon them and progressing into new ideas.

Cloudkicker takes these Meshuggah riffs into the next logical progression. While albums like Nothing and I contained spacy, evil riffs, The Discovery is filled with cool washes of atmosphere. This instrumental work is something different in the djent scene, truly a breath of fresh air.

The Discovery is an instrumental album, featuring sufficiently heavy guitars with a melodic tone, while guitar chords drone in the background. True to the djent style the drums play basic cymbal and snare while the bass drums back up the guitar rhythms. Occasionally there will be a clean interlude.

On this album, even though most of the tracks are excellent, they mostly seem to flow into each other, not in the sense of Dark Side of the Moon. Rather, each song develops the atmosphere of the album in a different way. The opening alarm of "Genesis Device" starts the drums and bass pouring down with beautiful atmospheric guitar chords. This goes directly into "Dysphoria", where the chords ring triumphantly in an off time rhythm. This leads into "Avalanche", where the triplet rhythm gives these riffs an extra drive. It then cools down with "Everything's Mirrors", which is a quiet drum track laden interlude.

While none of the tracks are particularly masterful in and of themselves, they all seem to work more or less. While "Avalanche" seems to be terribly similar to the previous track and the title track does seem to go on too long, most of them work for what they need to do. The riffs do tend to repeat a bit excessively, but that is for the sake of building atmosphere.

All in all, The Discovery is an excellent modern work. There is no excuse for a metalhead to not listen to it as it is available on the Cloudkicker site for free. Kudos to Ben Sharp, guitarist, programmer, and producer of all the music on the album. An excellent listen.
The Angry Scotsman

It is a very new sub genre of metal, (we're talking early 2000's here) and one of the more intriguing. However, it appears to already be stagnating. The very nature of post metal lends itself to this. If done incorrectly it can be terribly boring and awful, and even done well few out there sound different now. Well fear not! The "big names" in post metal will always be appreciated but Isis, Pelican and Cult of Luna can hand the torch off to the underground!

Cloudkicker is the one man project of Ben Sharp. This, his debut album, is an intriguing one. It is a blend of post and thrash metal. It keeps the post metal feel, (instrumentals, heavy guitar, dense intricate walls of noise, atmospheric breaks, and aggressive soundscapes) but the overall intensity is kicked up a few notches. Besides some faster pace on this album, the riffing is also a bit more intense than your run of the mill post metal. Faster, technical, and filled with djent, (but not overdone like so many other bands). The riffing, and drumming, tends a bit more machine gun like than droning.

Of course there is a good amount of ambiance, both in the albums breaks and segues but also mixed in with the sonic walls of noise.

While Mr. Sharp must be commended on making an album that pushes the boundaries of post metal a bit more, as well as creating some wonderful music, this album is a bit samey. There is no real standout song, and they all sound the same frankly. While this is not a bad thing, it can make this album drag a bit. More so, outside of the occasional break, the density of this album can be also be a bit much by the end. A bit of a mix up would be nice.

An impressive debut album without doubt. Glad to see at least one out there is ready to mix up the post metal formula. A very good listen.

Three and a Half Stars
Conor Fynes
'The Discovery' - Cloudkicker (8/10)

Beginning with an ill sense of calm, the wail of an air raid leads into the first wave of trademark djenty chaos that defines Cloudkicker. A few minutes it, you get a sense of what this album is about; taking the atonal, highly mathematical crushing rhythms that bands like Meshuggah have done before, and replacing abrasive vocals with underlying atmosphere and melody. Being that Meshuggah has always been a band I was never able to enjoy too much for it's abrasive vocals and lack of apparent melody, Cloudkicker seems like a gift from the clouds above, allowing me to enjoy math metal without any of the initial flaws to the formula that turned me off.

While you're going to need a tough ear to listen to the whole palette of madness in one listen, I find that melodies and 'mellow break' interludes are placed in just the right places; sort of like 'checkpoints' in an otherwise delightfully messy journey.

While it's going to sound like 'noise' to those not yet accustomed to the nuances and technique of this little genre, the stuff really is brilliant, if but a little samey throughout. It really takes a genius at the helm to make each instrument play in a different time, and yet still have it come together into something cohesive.

The highlight tracks are certainly 'Dysphoria' and the title track 'Discovery.' The other heavy tracks- while keeping up the same level of mathematical proficiency- end up not acheiving the marriage of melody and rhythm that those two do. The latter of the tracks mentioned works out to be around seven or eight minutes long, and has an entire portion devoted to a hypnotizing exercise in atmosphere; a crescendo that leads back into the typical heaviness, only making the heaviness sound even heavier in contrast.

The EPs this one-man project has delved out have very little, if not nothing on this. Ben Sharp has fashioned a remarkably solid debut creation here, and while a little bit of exploration outside his supposed 'comfort zone' would do wonders for the sophomore, this is a piece of music that has been most enjoyable to listen to.

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