Cloudkicker – Live with Intronaut (Century Media)

Thursday, 4th December 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

Cloudkicker is the one-man project of Ben Sharp, who has done all of the writing, recording, mixing, and mastering for the band since its inception in 2007. Of course, in the live setting it would be rather impossible for Sharp to maintain complete control over the entire band, so with their earlier tour this year with Intronaut and Tesseract, Sharp was able to grab members of Intronaut to give him a hand for Cloudkicker’s live set. Live with Intronaut was recorded at a Texas stop on said tour.

For those unaware (and unable to pull the connection with the other two cited bands), Cloudkicker is an instrumental progressive metal act along the lines of bands such as Animals as Leaders or even Intervals. You know, the somewhat djenty approach with plenty of melodic flair. Cloudkicker’s live set features a nice mix of some of the more melodic tracks and a few punchier ones, a necessity with these instrumental acts to keep you on your toes through the listen. “Subsume Parts 1 and 2” open things up in a melodic way, with some great atmosphere but leaves it open for “We Are Going to Invert” to explode a bit, driving up some of the energy with some killer riffs. Other highlights include the more introspective “You and Yours” and more deliberately paced “Subsume Part 8.”

Live albums are always a hit or miss operation, but for fans of Cloudkicker this one is more or less a no brainer. Particularly to hear the band collaborating with members of Intronaut. For those on the fence, the studio versions (available for a “name your price” download at Bandcamp) are worthy of a listen to see how you feel before investing here.

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