Published Nov 20, 2018Another day, another war-ravaged dystopian future. Scottish duo Clouds have proven to be able chroniclers of this sort of urban fantasy for a while now, and the concept for Heavy the Eclipse is no exception, exploring the ruins anew (this time a war-torn Glasgow after a German takeover) while evoking the usual dread, chaos and destruction — and the raves held therein.
Their sound remains as uncompromising as ever, splicing together the ragged fringes of techno's DNA into the kind of stomping behemoth you might indeed expect to see prowling the streets of a dystopian cityscape: a potent mix of hardcore, industrial and roiling noise — with the odd drum & bass loop here, or IDM excursion there.
It's a rewarding but definitely challenging mix, full of rhythmic dissonance and little in the way of melody, although brief snatches do make it through now and then — previously released single "Parkzicht" is probably the best example of this, featuring a haunting synth line notable mostly for the fact that it's allowed to persist for so long before being swallowed up again.
Indeed, it's in its rhythms and atmosphere that Heavy the Eclipse is truly appreciated. The rumbling beat that emerges from the chaos at the beginning of "Nachtstorm Hardcore" is a truly frightening force, for instance, galloping at you like the horses of the apocalypse, and whenever the duo lock into a solid groove, it's always powered by something more interesting than the usual kick-to-high-hat drum programming that constitutes so much of our techno lives these days.
Raw and jarring at times, its swaths of dissonant noise will likely keep casual listeners away, but weathered techno fans with a taste for boundary-pushing fare (and who maybe have a couple of Atari Teenage Riot albums in their libraries) will surely enjoy this stormy full-length from Clouds. The edge ain't always pretty. (Electric Deluxe)