Release DetailsRELEASED ON 4/27/2010
posted on 8/2010 By:
It’s rare that I’m ever thrown for a loop or that I have a hard time finding words when it comes to reviews, but Philadelphia’s Cleric appears to have done just that. And not because Regressions is a damn fine effort, but within its 76 minute framework, this four-piece manages to cram in so many styles and influences, it’s almost suffocating.
You could start with the backbone of Dillinger’s early, insane tech metal; the dark, caustic hardcore of Converge; the spastic discordant grind of Pig Destroyer; and then a dash of Starkweather’s unsettling psychosis and some of Neurosis’ ambient heft. Then I hear elements of crust, drone, industrial, doom and noise. Look no further than the ear-melting, 20-minute opening track “Allotriophagy” which opens a portal to Cleric’s unclassifiable chaos. If you think a band like Between the Buried and Me have too much going on and doesn’t write actual songs, forget about listening to Regressions -- it will make your head explode. And you know there's a lot going on when you think the robotic, promotional voice-over blends in with the rest of the music.
But beneath this vitriol and dissonance is a tangible talented and experimental, boundary-pushing act. Challenging as it is, the chaos seems deliberate despite the jarring extremity as the band shifts from angular lurching riffs to pounding industrial programming, moments of expansive experimentation and delicate hues -- often in one song. The question just becomes, as a listener -- how much can you take?
The 10 ‘tracks’ are broken down between 6 actual tracks and 4 FX-filled interludes, but to be honest, with the real tracks being fraught with noise, drone and their own FX, the shifts are relatively seamless. The ten-minute “A Rush of Blood” is virtually impossible to describe as it twists and turns from jazzy prog tangents to skronking, dissonant expulsions, huge lurching doomage, delicate ambience and dreamy electronica. It strays awfully close to unlistenable noise, but the band apparently knows exactly where that line is, and they straddle it with a confident sneer and the skill to back it up. Going into further detail about the rest of the tracks seems a bit of a waste, as my description of the first two tracks has likely put off most listeners and piqued the curiosity of the rest. But rest assured, the likes of “The Boon”, “Cumberbund”, the deceptively relaxing “Poisonberry Pie” and the grinding electronic mayhem of closer "The Fiberglass Cheesecake" (though it does have a gorgeous piano fade out) are all equally adept at sheer but intelligent, sonic ear fuckery.
I haven’t been this flummoxed by music since Lye By Mistake’s Arrangements For Fulfilling Fulminating Vective, Brazen Bull's EP, Psychofagist’s Ill Secondo Tragico or Scrambled Defuncts' recent album. But if you have thrown me for a reviewing loop, I guess that’s a sign of a job well done.
Mission accomplished and bravo.
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