Press play on Cloud’s latest release, a five-song, 45-minute sludge called Indeterminate, and you’ll hear the sounds of a storm approaching. Rain picking up, thunder booming, stormy stuff. A guitar riff (the only clean one on the album, by the way) enters a little later, and we spend a few minutes with it as the rest of the band joins in slowly. Once the song comes crashing into form past the three-minute mark, Indeterminate hits its stride and doesn’t let go.
That storm sticks around for the remaining 40 minutes, ceaselessly pummeling fat, distorted, monotonous (literally, the album is in one key) guitar lines for the duration. “Desert Weed,” the album’s only track with vocals (from Mephistofeles singer Gabriel Ravera), highlights the band’s more prog-rockish sensibilities and offers one of the few moments when the group sounds more Black Sabbath than Sleep. It’s a blast. “Yggdrasil,” the closing track named for a mystical tree from Norse mythology (obviously), sounds like something that might sell well in Mordor, a 12-minute onslaught of standout riffs on an album up to its ears in standout riffs.
Storms approaching and riffs that beg to be called “menacing” and “ominous” might sound like red flags for exhausting, self-serious metal, but Cloud is not that. Cloud is gratifyingly indulgent, reveling in enough genre mores to be fun and familiar, but not to the point of cliché. Indeterminate succeeds because the band seems to know its strengths, and plays to them with complete confidence without overreaching. The thing’s a beast.