BAND: Cloudburst (Indonesia)
RELEASE: Cloudburst (2019)
LABEL: Samstrong Records
REVIEWER: Arthur Urquiola
FIND MORE INFO HERE: https://www.facebook.com/burstingcloud/
PICK UP THE RECORD HERE: https://burstingcloud.bandcamp.com/album/cloudburst
Cloudburst’s latest self-titled record isn’t their first release. Aside from 2016’s ‘Crying of Broken Beauty’, the chaotic Indonesian Hardcore band had previously released a string of demos and singles. But seeing to what extent they have stepped up their game, this newest one is more than fitting of being the definitive work that carries the band’s name as its title. Indonesia’s prolific Punk and Hardcore scene has spawned an incredible variety within the genre. But Cloudburst isn’t just a band for those curious about what’s happening specifically in Indonesian Hardcore – they’re worth checking out for anyone, anywhere that likes their Hardcore, hard, heavy, darkened, lyrically violent and confrontational and interesting as all hell rhythmically.
Pausing barely one second in, ‘Strange Acrobat’ begins the record in a dizzying, Botch-ish fashion and an inhuman scream. Despite speeding through, the tune is rife with with detours into spastic rhythm changes and blasts which appear out of nowhere. But setting the stage for some variety and colour throughout the record, the attack falls back two minutes in, giving way to a pensive and melodic build before reaching a triumphant crescendo.
‘Crimson Mask’ has more discombobulating rhythms and gnarled shrieks, but it’s all tied together by a trilled riff which wouldn’t be out of place if it was wielded by a contemporary Indie/Math act. With the song reaching a chaotic peak, it takes another left turn into stilted upstrokes before peeling into a Slayeresque solo, punctuated by a divebomb. Given the tasty licks throughout, that such a solo would be deployed really shouldn’t have been a surprise.
Things get a little more explicitly jarring and “Metal” with ‘Tornado’, the clearest showcase of how good Cloudburst’s rhythm section is thus far. Opening with the line “Foul deed seed, unpunished, knee deep in dibromide…” is a fitting nod to old school Death Metal which would get technical (and even instructive) with the gory details. There’s even some vocal distortion darting in and out that’s reminiscent of Today Is The Day.
At various points throughout, Cloudburst makes use of spoken monologues and samples. Aside from tying it to Cursed’s pioneering first record, this serves to build a narrative before reaching for the lyrics sheet. In ‘Eternal Gunfight’ the samples help build to a heightened sense of misanthrope and nihilism pervasive throughout the record and even serve the climactic middle section.
‘Oral Staircase’ is a sweet acoustic interlude washed in ambiance that fades out as suddenly as it appears, but the riff repeated throughout is tied to the following tune ‘Personal Golgotha’, which turns it into a climbing progression with more Coalesce-like dissonance making its presence felt throughout. ‘Human Origami’ introduces a whole new vibe which is darker in a completely different way. With lower-key, bass-driven verses and a slurred and fried vocal delivery it’s more Bloodlet than Norma Jean.
‘First Cry’ and ‘Final Cry’ end the record as two parts of a much larger whole. Despite bleeding into one another, there is distinct a contrast between the two. The former is propulsive right from the get-go and has more of a Punk Rock swing and swagger. The latter builds into a slower, ’90s bounce of a rhythm before shifting abruptly into blastbeats and ending in a chaotic barrage of layered percussion.
At this point Hardcore and Punk Rock have had a long history, mainly in the west where the template has largely been set for the rest of the world’s underground to take its cues from. While it’s awesome to see bands like Cloudburst showing what Southeast Asian Countries have to offer, it’s important to note that they’ve chosen to pursue a brand of hardcore that’s dark, dissonant and raw as opposed to the clipped and hyper-produced sound of more contemporary heavy bands. This ensures that Cloudburst’s work rewards repeated listens and that you can reach for this latest collection years from now. The claustrophobic and guitar-heavy attack, lo-fi samples and overall grittiness serve the songs, as opposed to dating them. If it’s any indication, there’s plenty in the Indonesian underground that’s worth keeping an eye on and more to come worth knowing about.