Free – as in free beer, that is – is a word that college students love to hear. Unfortunately, it’s not a word that’s usually associated with music. However, Cloudkicker’s newest album, “Beacons”, is in fact free. Not only that, but it’s also a stunning piece of Meshuggah-inspired instrumental metal that makes for one heck of a great study album.
I first came across Cloudkicker while I was reading a review for our last study album of the week – Scale the Summit’s “The Collective”. While comparisons between the two albums can definitely be drawn, “Beacons” is definitely a harder-hitting album. However, that’s not to say it’s all raw energy; the album is chock-full of innovative riffs and complex rhythms that up its replay value to levels far higher than most modern music.
Starting the album off, I thought I had merely turned on noise; indeed, the album’s first song, “We are going to invert…”, is actually pretty worthless. It’s just a 5-second guitar loop that plays over and over for about 40 seconds. However, all reservations about the album end there. The next track, “Hey, Wait a Minute! Damn it!”, hits like a freight train and lays down the complex time signatures and driving instrumental backbone that define the rest of the album. I’ve included that track for preview above – check it out. From here to the end, “Beacons” is a blissful journey through varied instrumental soundscapes that put you in a focused state of mind.
Like I said before, “Beacons” streams for approximately $0. You can listen to the whole album here. You can also buy the album for whatever price you want – including $0. Ben Sharp, the sole creator of the album, creates music for fun and enjoys sharing it with the world (and for that, we salute him). However, if you like it enough, spare him some change. Music like this doesn’t come along every day.