Djent is the newest craze among the masses. Metal's newest force to be reckoned with, Djent tends towards one of two subcategories among its practicioners: 1) Shitty, or 2) Meshuggah. Cloudkicker is the newest Interwebulous sensation that falls (allegedly) within the confines of the Djent microgenre but defies the subcategories of said subgenre in that Cloudkicker is neither 1) Shitty, or 2) Meshuggah. In fact, I would argue Cloudkicker's inclusion in the Djent microgenre considering they don't attack the sound the way that Periphery, Veil of Maya, or even RXYZYXR tend to. I would actually, at the most extreme, qualify Cloudkicker in the heretofore-unheard-of sub-micro-quasi-genre of Ambidjent Metal, as coined by my close compadre and associate Ed. Even after dumping Cloudkicker into this totally fake, fabricated-as-a-joke-before-ever-listening-to-Cloudkicker genre, I don't feel like their metal meets the minimum qualifications necessary to qualify a piece of music as having Djent-like qualities. In fact, I would consider them more in league with the prog-minded Animals as Leaders, or the less-shreddy Scale the Summit.
Cloudkicker exudes many of the normal prog qualities in spades, including time drops, thick instrumental textures completely saturated with effects, and being Instrumental, which is qualification enough to call a piece of music "prog," "proggy," or "completely lame." Where Cloudkicker differentiates himself (as this is a one-man bedroom band in the purest form) is in riff quality. Whereas most bands feel the need to attack the listener with a thousand riffs per song (hello, Protest the Hero), Cloudkicker takes an almost doomy approach to the riff. Where a lesser band might think that a high-quality, ridiculously heavy riff might run the risk of becoming played out, Cloudkicker takes the doom approach of attacking the riff ad-nauseum, forcing the swirling mass to drone on in a seemingly endless tide of texture and color. This kind of repetition, coupled with the absence if vocals, allows the music to take a drone-like quality that somehow enhances the riff itself. Indeed, adding a vocalist (or Vokillist) to the mix would ruin the vibe, like when your grandma shows up to your birthday party after you've already killed a few righteous brewskies.
The clean parts interspersed within the body of Beacons allows for a welcome bit of breathing room among a thickly-textured and bone-crushingly heavy album. That the dude who comprises Cloudkicker seems to be riding the lonesome trail by himself seems a shame; Cloudkicker could be great shakes among the Djent-frenzied and the totally-stoney crowds alike. Cloudkicker's swirling maelstrom of heaviness hints at a greater promise for the future: that Cloudkicker will exist until he runs out of viable ideas, and then will fade away into the Interwebmosphere, where assholes like me can relish the days and nights we spent together wondering why the legion of "Djent" bands couldn't have done it so correctly, seems a crying shame. Go to Cloudkicker's Bandcamp website and give him some money to show him that you're better than the masses who value what they can steal more than what they can elect to pay for.
Buy it, asshole.