Originating from sonic dissonance, Do Not Let Me Off The Cliff opens to a jungle séance with authentic percussion that pulls back as if a camera would pull back on an initial scene. The clean vocals; while a change for Cloud Rat as they are often dwelling in the dungeon of grinding punk, are actually a slice closer to beauty rather than the death that surrounds them. “Thrust” is the eye through a peephole, the moment before a jump scare, the cold breath on the neck; the track quickly turns even the most simple of tasks like a nighttime drive into a tense, and overly dangerous journey.
This thesis of continual intensity segues into “Keep Flies” where the electronic drums are somehow more primal and invigorating than the last. The record stands every hair on the listener toward cumulative dread. The rambunctious pounding of 808 drums as Madison Marshall is able to deliver both intimidating and inviting vocals is a testament to the attraction to danger. With lyrics that dwell around “Sacrifice” and “Cemetery,” salvation seems to be missing from the motives of Cloud Rat.
Both Rorik Brooks and Brandon Hill who are often matched in a raging slam fest with their instruments, instead tone back, becoming these ramifications of an untouched holy ground. Almost sanctified as time progresses, Cloud Rat is menacing on Do Not Let Me Off The Cliff but still human enough to find attachable hooks for an audience.
“Keep Flies” is a nightcrawler, incredibly low to the earth, and able to find cavities where the wild production becomes addicting to the ear. But there are compromises here and while Do Not Let Me Off The Cliff was a bonus EP from their POLLINATOR full-length, Cloud Rat can showcase restraint with tracks like “623” or “Pity Sex.”
While still harrowing in their own ways, much of the intensity of the first two pieces wash over the audience in a shellshocked fashion. Where the acoustic guitars on “Pity Sex” can orchestrate a recovery and healing factor instead of a war face. The imagery of red and cave paintings takes hold of the first half, while the second is built to deconstruct the pillars of sound that were built in the first place.
The final moments are bred to become this combination of a one-two punch that links with POLLINATOR and can take the listener by hand to their entombment. When Do Not Let Me Off The Cliff graces the face of an audience, the figure becomes clear and is less about destruction as it is to become truly terrifying and apparitional.