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Cloudkicker ]]][[[ [Aka: A New Heavenly Body] album cover
3.28 | 25 ratings | 5 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. # (6:02)
2. % (4:14)
3. $ (5:33)

Total Time 15:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Ben Sharp / guitars, bass, drum sequencing

Releases information

Self released as MP3's and FLAC's.

The album was completely remixed, remastered and re-released in November 11, 2010 as " A New Heavenly Body"

The songs now are listed as follow:

1 - What It Is Impossible Not to Know and What It Is No Longer Permissible To Believe in the United States (6:06)
2 - A Hymn to the Projectile (4:14)
3 - One Enemy Among Twenty-Five Million Friends (5:32)

Thanks to progkidjoel for the addition
and to snobb for the last updates
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CLOUDKICKER ]]][[[ [Aka: A New Heavenly Body] ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CLOUDKICKER ]]][[[ [Aka: A New Heavenly Body] reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by progkidjoel
4 stars An incredibly solid 2010 outing from Ben Sharp!

Cloudkicker is an incredibly quality project by Ben Sharp, multi-instrumentalist from Columbus, Ohio, combining the heaviness and atonal metal grooves of bands like Meshuggah with beautiful post-metal and rock passages not unlike those from bands like Sigur Ros and The American Dollar. What makes this EP the standout from his discography is the quality of music, both technical and emotional, that Mr. Sharp can fit into slightly over 15 minutes. All these tracks are fantastic, although my favourite is '%', which has a beautiful crescendo, similar to a conventional post-rock song, although with a heavier and more fulfilled sound. My only real complaint with this EP is the length; obviously, I'm not going to come into an EP and expect a 60 minute album, but more would have been very nice.

The album opens with '#', which opens with a soft-ish drum rhythm leading into a guitar riff. The thumping bass soon comes in, with two more guitar riffs layered over the top. This continues, picking up more guitar and bass as it continues, all masterfully played. After this build-up, a perfectly executed guitar solo hops right in on top of brilliant drumming. Ben Sharp not only masters the guitar here, but bass and drums as well.

As I said, the second track, '%' is my favourite, and also the most well rounded. A thumping guitar rhythm opens up, and is then repeated with a different melody at a much softer pace. Then comes the repetition of the epic melody comes in, which crescendos throughout the tracks length, gaining more and more momentum to make a wonderful metal track. The playing is truly fantastic on this track, and is definitely the highlight of the EP, and I'd also dare to say the highlight in Cloudkicker's discography.

The EP closes with '$', another great metal track. The playing here is at its technical best for the album, a choir of slamming guitar, drums and bass perfectly interwoven to create a dense sound. This closes the EP well, although it doesn't have the same cutting sound as '%'. This is really just good ol' Cloudkicker doing his thing, a quality track.

This EP isn't a 5 star masterpiece, but its incredibly quality, and because its free, I'm giving it 4 stars.


Review by The Sleepwalker
3 stars This somewhat strangely titled 2010 release by Ben Sharp is quite a big leap forward from the previous releases. Personally, I wasn't all too happy about Cloudkicker's previous EP, portmanteau, which suffered from sounding too overwhelming, stiff and unbalanced. ]]][[[ still features some of these elements, but less overwhelming and dominating as they were on Portmanteau.

The first piece on the EP already shows a difference from the music on Portmanteau. A groovy drum pattern gets accompanied by distorted guitar and heavy bass, but the song doesn't tend to sound unbalanced or overly thick. Halfway through, the technical playing that is destinctive for Cloudkicker makes its appearance. While I find it a bit stiff and mechanical sounding at times, I can appreciate it much more in the context of this album than on Portmanteau, because of this release sounding more balanced and diverse. The second piece on the album, "%", is another great piece. The track is driving my thick distorted chugging guitars playing a climatic sounding chord pattern. I prefer the album opener over it, but this song is very likeable nevertheless. The third and final track of this short release opens in a more technical way than the previous songs and sounds more like most of the material on previously released material. The song turns out to feature some diversity as well though, in the form of slower sections and pleasant use of the drum machine.

Though I think ]]][[[ still suffers from elements that were also present on previous Cloudkicker releases, I feel that this is a significantly better release than Portmanteau. The EP is only 15 minutes in length, which is pretty short but I'll take it for what it is. The release can be legally downloaded (among other Cloudkicker releases) for free. So, you can't really go wrong by getting it.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars ']]][[[' - Cloudkicker (5/10)

Being known for releasing very rhythmically challenging and technical metal, Ben Sharp continues to develop his sound and pursue a different musical goal. The quirky, unpronouncable titles aside, ']]][[[' shows Cloudkicker wandering into a much denser soundscape, focusing more of the atmospheric side of things than the traditional metal madness he introduced to the world with the debut release. While only being fifteen minutes long, this 'Brackets' album is a pretty challenging serving to swallow after a single listen. Despite being the least melodically enhanced or enjoyable so far of Cloudkicker's works, there is still much that will impress here.

With the first track '#,' the problem with ']]][[[' first arises. While post-rock certainly isn't meant to be the most eventful music in the world, this seems to get a bit too repetitive for it's own good. While it can be pretty calming (especially for a track of relative metal-heaviness) there seems to be too many different guitars and tracks playing at the same time. While it's clear that there are melodies playing, it's difficult most of the time to distinguish any single guitar track and appreciate it's melody without it being drowned out by all of the noise. Still, it's solid for what it is and enjoyable worth a few times.

'%' is the undeniable highlight of the EP. Despite sharing the same problems the other two tracks have, it is able to condense itself into an optimistic wall of sound that always cares enough to take a break from the noise once in a while.

'$' is the thrashiest and most heavy portion of ']]][[[,' but it picks up some melodic atmosphere along the way which helps it be a good track, although there are none of the 'beauty moments' that made 'Portmanteau' or 'The Discovery' such great works. Some bass droning helps top off the EP, ending what I consider to be an above-mediocre, but not incredible release. While the wall-of-sound has worked for artists in the past (like Devin Townsend,) I am not warming up to this density of Cloudkicker's newer music. In any case however, I eagerly await the man's next musical serving.

Review by Negoba
3 stars EP Holds Less Attention then Previous Entire Album

BM Sharp (Cloudkicker) is a one-man djent machine, putting out two albums and 3 EPs in the last 3 years. ]]][[[ is perhaps the most strangely named album of all time, and contains three songs also with key-symbol names. After being thoroughly impressed with Sharp's debut album, I picked up this album with high expectations. Alas, though there were a few new variations on the Cloudkicker theme, for the most part this was a less fully realized project. The sound was there, but it didn't grab hold and transport me.

The Cloudkicker sound is a mix of post-rock slow build dynamic and atmospheric mood music combined with detuned riffing inspired by Meshuggah. As the djent genre has evolved, the artists have developed their own sounds and their brutal godfather is less evident. Sharp's sound has become a bit more technical and guitar oriented, and unfortunately a bit less moody. On the first track (#), the typical repetitiveness of post-rock sets a bad tone right away. Rather than setting a mood, the music leaves my ear wandering. At about 2:30 a distorted bass comes in growling like a lurking leopard, and a minute later we finally get some riffing. While also repetitive, the complexity and intensity keep the interest and finally Sharp has me back.

Track 2 (%) has a phenomenal central harmonic theme that takes a bit too long to build. When it finally reaches its full glory at 3:30, the sound is truly ecstatic, and again I get a glimpse of the musical beauty that I saw in the debut album. A short outro is similarly brilliant, which leaves me wondering what he was thinking when he composed the piece. Almost four minutes of repetition, building layer by layer a climax, with a great but tacked on outro. Hmm. Track 3 ($) begins as a metal riff fest, and satisfies that guitarist in me perhaps more than anything else I've heard from Sharp. The song takes a break into a lower trippy section before ending on a frenetic metal race into a dirgish dragging march riff. Certainly the EP ends much better than it began.

All in all, a solid outing. Not as good as THE DISCOVERY, certainly much more uneven. Easily deserving of 3/5 stars.

Review by Epignosis
3 stars This unpronounceable EP from Cloudkicker, ]]][[[ (shall we call it "Inverted Brackets?"), begins with easygoing drums, slightly toasted guitar, and a steady bass underneath on "#" ("Pound sign" or, in this day and age, "Hashtag"). It has an uplifting feeling that gives way to a sleepy, sadder passage. But wake up- a frenzied onslaught is around the corner. After the first track dries up, the odd rhythms of "%" ("Percent") pounce upon the hearer, producing a rising, post-rock wash. The third and final track, "$" ("Dollar") is the most intense, with a pummeling salvo of guitars and drums. It eventually settles into a more relaxing post-rock fashion. The final moments return to blistering turmoil. For a few morsels of Cloudkicker, ]]][[[ is a fine place to turn.

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