Cloister Of Radiance
posted on 10/2008 By:
While it's a bit unfair to pigeonhole every modern-minded, French metal band that waltzes by as a Gojira clone, sometimes you have to cut through the bullshit and call it like it is. Where there's smoke, there's fire, and I'm having a hard time breathing...
Cloister of Radiance was originally released via Dental Records in September of 2007, and has been picked up for stateside distribution by none other than Prosthetic - presumably, to make for a nice little holdover for Gojira fans to play around with until the real thing drops. The bands sound similar, but these guys are merely hanging by the coattails, lacking the dynamic range of their source of their - ahem - inspiration. The bulk of Hollow Corp.'s compositions focus on the way their rhythmic, nearly-dissonant guitars crawl and splay themselves over forgettable drumbeats, but they pepper and sweeten the tedium with sidestepping, cutesy, post-rock diversions that aim to suspend the band over the cusp of relevance. Largely, however, these elements are presented with all the ham-handed bluster of a Sarah Palin wink, nudge, and "betcha" - their lifted n' grafted Explosions in the Sky throwaways provide the surgical scars that only a lack of substantial ideas can leave.
If one can overlook the stunningly boring nature of the record's facelessness, Cloister of Radiance could scrape its way to moderate success via two avenues. The first, the exceptional performance of their bassist, Romain Fiorot, is the cog that keeps the Hollow Corp. wheel acceptably heavy. Without his dominating presence, this album would have minimal value. His bandmates should commend him for carrying their weight.
Secondly, the band actually manages to make contact with relevance on their 12-minute centerpiece, "Peripherals". Granted, when stacked against the banality of the remainder of the album, the epic running time of this track is bound to illicit multiple rolls-of-the-eyeball. But "Peripherals" is an effective blend of their poor-man's Gojira-stomp and their post-whatever stargaze, and manages to tell a compelling sonic story. While this success is predicated upon an infinite number of can't-quite-put-my-finger-on-it moments, it still impresses to a moderate degree.
Alas, faint praise is damning, is it not? Cloister of Radiance is grasping even for that. Nearly every trait that the band posesses has been jacked from their contemporaries ("Opium" is embarrassingly similar to Isis' "In Fiction", for example). This reeks of desperation, rather than playful/amusing homage; and while the final result isn't offensive, it certainly isn't worth your time.
Only recommended to Gojira fans that want to reinforce that band's superiority, or to those that think the road to progression and modernization is paved with mimicry and plagarism.
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