Perhaps Cleric didn’t get the memo about brotherly love in their hometown of Philadelphia because their debut full length release, Regressions, is anything but friendly sounding. The best way I can think to describe it is as the soundtrack playing within an insane man’s head. It has a huge amount of twists and turns, with fits of incredible rage followed by such an intense serenity you can almost forget that seconds ago you felt like you were losing your mind.
The roller coaster of sound doesn’t come in small doses either as the opening track, “Allotriophagy,” comes in at just under twenty minutes. Aside from some short buffer tracks in between each main piece, the remaining tracks average about ten minutes. This gives Cleric more than enough time to beat you over the head, embrace you and then beat you over the head again. The amazing part is that Cleric does not see any reason to repeat themselves throughout each epic offering. It truly is a musical journey, very much like the style of Between The Buried And Me.
There is some very technical work going on which is to be admired. The only negative, I’d have to say, are the vocals. For the most part it’s just screaming, which is fine sometimes, but for such a wide ranging album, they should compliment the music more. Not much of that happening here. Either some more variety vocal-wise or a full-on instrumental approach would probably benefit Cleric’s sound greatly.
All in all, they’ve got a load of talent and are a band to keep an eye on as they further establish themselves. If you have any idea how hard it is to play some of this stuff you will definitely appreciate it.