With one album under their belts, War Cloud made a psychedelic/fuzz impression with their self-titled album a few years back. Now, they’ve returned with a follow up that not only spawns a significantly heavier metal-edge but stronger songs themselves. State Of Shock heavily reflects the primal and bestial days of the genre, invoking somewhat of a cross between Saxon and Venom, containing a Cream-filled core. Thus, a staple sound of their own is established.
The single and album opener “Striker” wastes no time in showing any of this off. The vocals are grainy, and the riffs are rough and raw despite carrying a lot of melody. The following track “White Lightning” speeds it up even more, all while sharpening the hooks. On the other end of the disc, we have the self-titled closer that blasts-off with the same amount of momentum. The magic behind that one springs from the bass-lines and booming drum-kicks. The riffs themselves are dropped low and establish suspense.
Not all of State Of Shock is this abrasive. The band’s past roots show through in songs like “Dangerous Game.” Here, the vocals are cleaned up, and the rasp is ditched, which matches the calmer execution that still boasts plenty of power. There’s also an interlude in this track that’s soft and sorrowful, allowing for a beautiful number. If that’s not enough, “Do Anything” lets on a power-pop vibe, reminding me of early KISS (even setting aside the fact that the intro sounds like “Detroit Rock City”).
What brings this to total perfection is how natural everything sounds, and the different approaches still don’t seem out of place one bit. There’s a solid and beefy instrumental stuck into the middle called “Tomahawk,” which helps bridge the two sides of the album. Stomping melodies and speed metal bridges make up the bulk of it, while cymbals under ascending fret melodies finish it off.
War Cloud have definitely made something that will crack my top five of the year. All of this is crammed into a relatively short, eight-song record that doesn’t have a moment of disappointment. Seeing that the heavier songs are on the bookends, the album plays like a nice swoop of riffs to licks. Any fan of anything hard rock or heavy metal, in general, need to give this a spin because it’s what I view as a perfect record.
State Of Shock will be released on September 27th, 2019 through Ripple Music. You can pre-order a copy on CD, vinyl, or digitally right over at the label’s Bandcamp page. I certainly already have!